Custom Web Design vs. Templates: How to Choose the Best Option for Your Business

June 27, 2023 Web development

Your website is the face of your business online. It’s your first impression on potential customers, and it can attract or repel them. 

But how do you make your website stand out from the competitors and showcase your unique value proposition? You’ve two options.

You can hire a professional web designer to craft a custom website for you. You can also do it by using a ready-made template and tweaking things. 

This is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your online success.

What is Custom Web Design?

Custom web design means building a website from the ground up, according to your specific requirements. 

You can do it yourself if you know your way around UX/UI design and can code with HTML or CSS. If you don’t have the skills or experience, you’ve to hire a professional web designer to do it for you.  

With custom web design, you have full control over your website’s appearance, functionality, and performance. You can make it unique, original, and consistent with your brand identity. 

You can also add any features or integrations needed to achieve your business goals.

Some examples of custom web design are:

  • Netflix, the most popular streaming service that offers personalized recommendations, multiple profiles, and interactive content
  • Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects travelers with hosts who offer accommodation, experiences, and adventures

What are Templates?

Templates are pre-designed layouts that you can apply to your website. They are usually available on platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix. 

You can choose from thousands of templates that suit different industries, niches, and styles. And then, you can also tweak the template elements (colors, fonts, images, and content). 

However, you will have less flexibility and creativity than with custom web design.

Pros and Cons of Custom Web Design

Custom web design has many advantages over templates but also comes with some challenges. 


  • Unique: You can create a website that stands out from the crowd and reflects your brand personality.
  • Professional: You can impress your visitors with a high-quality design that showcases your expertise and credibility.
  • Functional: You can add any features or integrations needed to enhance your website’s functionality and user experience.
  • Scalable: You can easily update or modify your website as your business grows or changes.


  • Expensive: You must pay more for a custom web design than a template, especially if you hire a professional designer.
  • Time-consuming: Creating a custom web design will take more time. You must plan, design, develop, test, and launch your website from scratch.
  • Complex: You will need more technical skills or support to create and maintain a custom web design than to use a template.

Pros and Cons of Templates

Templates have many benefits over custom web design but also have some limitations.


  • Cheap: You can save money by using a template for your website, which is usually free or low-cost.
  • Fast: You can set up your website quickly, as they are already designed and developed for you.
  • Easy: You can create your website without much technical knowledge or assistance, as they are user-friendly and intuitive.


  • Generic: You might end up with a website that looks similar to many others and does not reflect your brand identity.
  • Amateur: You might lose your visitors’ trust or interest with a low-quality design that does not showcase your professionalism or credibility.
  • Limited: You might be unable to add or customize some features or integrations needed to improve your website’s functionality and user experience.
  • Inflexible: You might have difficulty updating or modifying your website as your business grows or changes.

How to Choose Between Custom Web Design and Templates

There are many factors to consider when choosing between custom web design and templates. 

Here are some of the most important ones:


One of the main factors to consider when choosing between custom web design and templates is the cost. Custom web design is generally more expensive than templates, as it requires more time, skill, and resources.

Hiring a web design company may set you back anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, sometimes even more.

You may save some bucks by working with a freelancer, but that would also cost you at least $2000 to $5000 for a small business website. It depends on the extensivity or complexity of the project.

Templates are much more affordable, as they are already created and available to use. You can buy a premium template for around $50 to $200, or you can use a free template if you don’t mind having some limitations and ads.


Custom web design is more flexible than templates, as you can modify anything you want on your website without any limits. 

You can customize your website’s features, layout, and performance to your liking.

Templates are less flexible, as they have some constraints that you have to follow. You may not be able to change some parts of your website without messing up the code or the functionality. 

You may also need third-party plugins or extensions to add or improve features or performance of your website.


Functionality includes aspects such as speed, usability, accessibility, security, compatibility, and reliability.

Templates may not offer the same level of functionality as custom web design, as they may have some issues or bugs that affect their performance. 

Some templates may be outdated or poorly coded, which can cause slow loading times, compatibility problems, security vulnerabilities, or usability issues. 


Custom web design allows you to create a unique and original website that showcases your personality and values. You can design your website according to your vision and style. 

You can also add some creative touches and elements that make your website more appealing and engaging.

Templates may not offer the same level of uniqueness as custom web design, as they are used by many other websites. Your website may look generic, boring, or similar to your competitors. 


SEO is short for search engine optimization, which means making your website more visible and higher-ranked on search engines like Bing or Google. 

Custom web design allows you to optimize your website for SEO from the start, as you can implement all the best practices and techniques that help your website rank higher.

Many templates don’t maintain the core web vitals guidelines Google provides, thus suffering in terms of search visibility and reach.

So Which One Should You Pick?

To help you make the best choice for your business website, here are some scenarios and recommendations:

  • If you have a large budget, a long timeline, a specific goal, and a unique preference, you should go for a custom web design. 
  • If you have a small budget, a short timeline, a general goal, and a flexible preference, you should go for a template. 

You can also opt for a hybrid solution that combines some elements of custom web design and templates.

Whichever path you take, ensure your website is appealing, responsive (works on mobile devices), user-friendly, and safe. Remember that your website is the online face of your business, so make it count!