Published On: 4/19/24

What's Best? Custom or Template Website Designs

See the Pros and Cons
In the digital age, your website is often the first interaction potential customers have with your brand. It's your virtual storefront, your online ambassador, and the cornerstone of your digital presence. With stakes this high, it's crucial to make the right choice when it comes to your website's design. 

While templated designs may seem like a convenient and affordable option, custom website design offers a myriad of benefits that can elevate your businesses online presence to stronger results. Let's delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both custom and templated designs, and why Critchfield Consulting advocates for the tailored approach.

Better User Experience and Engagement 
  • Custom website design provides a better overall experience and helps your visitor engage with your business more easily through intuitive navigation and design features.

Increased Visual Appeal
  • Custom designs are crafted with your specific audience in mind, ensuring seamless navigation and captivating visuals that can keep visitors engaged to learn more about your business. 

Improves Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Rankings
  • Tailored optimization strategies and the ability to add various content types into custom designs help boost your SEO efforts, improving your visibility and ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Improves Lead Generation and Conversion
  • A tailored design can include internal page elements like graphic calls to action, mini-contact forms and strategic navigation elements where placement of these actions can enhance conversion rates, turning visitors into leads and potential new customers.

Custom Responsive Designs Rank Better
  • Simply put a custom design ranks betters on search engines because it is unique and inherently responsive.  In an era where mobile browsing is rampant, having a tailored website that’s specifically prepared to adapt to multiple viewing devices helps set your business apart.   

Improved Performance and Online Credibility
  • A custom website enhances your online credibility with Google, Yahoo, and Bing by allowing for a more customized programming strategy so that your online business communicates better, loads faster, and provides a smoother experience for both user and search engines.    

Easy to Customize Around Your Brand
  • It’s important to be able to customize your brand and unique message exactly the way you need to.  Custom design allows for full alignment with your branding, ensuring consistency across all touchpoints.

Allows Your Business to Standout:   
  • Be unique from the crowd with a website that is as unique as your business. A beautiful custom website design helps set you apart from your competitors, leaving a lasting impression on visitors.

Scales With Business
  • Your website should be able to grow alongside your business. Custom designs offer scalability, allowing for seamless integration of unique features and functionalities you can add more effectively as business expands.

  • Custom website design typically requires a higher initial investment compared to templated designs.  It depends on the company that is doing the work and what all the website needs but you can expect to see custom designs range in cost from $4,000 to $12,000+.  

Longer Timeframe and Schedule

  • It takes time to create uniqueness.  Custom website design, development, and programming will almost always take longer compared to templated designs.

As you can see, there are many benefits to creating a custom look and feel to a business website but custom designs aren’t necessarily for every type of business either.  It may be that you don’t need your website to perform at great lengths when it comes to generating new leads or showing up organically.  It could be that you just need your business website for credibility purposes and to simply show new or existing customers what you do or specialize in.  Take a peek below at some of the advantages and disadvantages of templated website designs. 

Cost Effectiveness
  • Templated designs are often more budget-friendly, making them an attractive option for businesses with limited resources or those needing a quick, affordable option.

Shorter Design and Programming Schedule
  • With pre-designed templates usually available you minimize the time needed for design.  The design and development process with a template design is more streamlined, resulting in shorter turnaround times.

Can Still Serve Other Intended Purposes
  • As mentioned above, a big benefit to a template design is that they can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be.  Whether its to serve credibility purposes only or you want your website to generate favorable leads or higher placed organic rankings, you still have the ability to do things within a template design to maximize optimization if you’re working with the right team.   

Template Designs Often Don’t Stand Out: 
  • Templated designs lack the uniqueness and personalization that custom designs offer, offering a cookie cutter type approach that can potentially cause your website to blend in with competitors in a negative way.

Templates Have Limited Appeal
  • The one-size-fits-all approach of templated designs may fail to resonate with your target audience and web visitors, leading to diminished engagement and lower lead conversion rates.

Minimized Customization Options
  • While templates offer some degree of customization, they are inherently restrictive compared to custom designs, limiting your ability to tailor the website and its programming to what search engines want to see. 

Limited Design Elements
  • Templated designs often come with predefined layouts and design elements, restricting flexibility and creativity in design, navigation, page buildout, calls to action and graphics. 

Search Engine Results Often Suffer
  • Templated designs and their programming may lack the necessary communication and optimization needed for search engines to rank your website more favorably, resulting in lower organic rankings and reduced visibility online.

At Critchfield Consulting, we believe that your website should be as unique as your business. Templated designs offer convenience and affordability, but often fall short in delivering a truly memorable and effective online presence. Custom website designs, however, empowers businesses to stand out in a crowded digital landscape, driving engagement, credibility, and ultimately, success. 

If your business resides near Kansas City, learn about Critchfield Consulting and see the specific marketing services we deploy to help businesses standout and succeed online.  If you’d like to evaluate your business website or want to learn more about website design in general, give us a call at 816-718-6617. 
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