Custom Websites vs Website Templates

Do-it-yourself website builders and web templates have come a long way. They’ve evolved from simple pages to nice looking themes, and some come with with drag & drop editing and options for customization. So is it actually better to have a custom developed website, rather than a template?

Custom Website or Do-It-Yourself Template?

Why are website templates considered to be the “cheap” option? Here are some facts about speed, SEO, and user experience:
(click the boxes to expand)

Website Speed

Websites are made of code, so it’s important that the programming is neat and efficient. Templates and do-it-yourself builders come with heaps of extra code and server calls that slow down the rendering process. Why? The more customizable they are, the more code is needed to handle all of the options.

Example: Our Code

(Click to enlarge)

Example: Template Code

(Click to enlarge)

Here is an example of Google’s website speed score for a website that we custom developed vs an example of the speed score for a do-it-yourself website template.

Example: Our Speed



Example: Template Speed



Code efficiency has a direct impact on both search engine optimization (SEO) and website speed, and website speed has a further impact on both SEO and user experience.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A website needs solid SEO fundamentals in order for search engines to crawl it effectively, understand what they’re reading, and consider the site useful and relevant enough to rank in search results. It takes a knowledge of these rules, and experience in what works and what doesn’t in order to structure a website with effective SEO.

Note: Templates & do-it-yourself website builders will always produce sites with poor or no SEO value. This is because SEO is a process that can’t be automated, and the user filling out a do-it-yourself website or template will not be a developer or SEO expert.

Our owner / developer has 10+ years of SEO experience, and has built hundreds of successful websites. We understand how important it is to generate as much free traffic as possible!

  • Keeping SEO in mind throughout the whole process of design through deployment allows us to make sure every website we build is SEO optimized from the ground up.
  • Considerations include optimized header counts, image names & alt tags, link text & title tags, page URLs & title text, page interlinking, keyword themes & densities, and clean code.
  • It’s also important to keep up with current standards, and know what may result in penalties.

The Look and Feel

Your company offers a better service or value than your competitors… after all, that’s why you went into business! But will this come across to your visitors? Will they get “a good feeling” about you, or will they see some cut corners?

If your website gives visitors that “good feeling”, you will get more business.

Even premium website templates have a more generalized look, a slightly clumsier feel at best, and they won’t do a great job focusing attention where it’s needed.

Our custom designs showcase what sets you apart, and flow your company’s branding and personality throughout the site. This establishes credibility through a strong and deliberate feel, and enhances the user’s experience. The visitor will have a better “feeling” about your company, and you will get more calls.

This has been proven time and again through before-and-after traffic Analytics.

Marketing Dollars and Strategy

Marketing Dollars

A professional website increases the value of every dollar and minute spent driving traffic for the foreseeable future. How? Websites that look and function better are proven to convert more of those visitors into customers.

Don’t spend a dime on marketing or advertising until you have a professional website!

Marketing Strategy

Business owners are often excited and full of ideas at the prospect of a new website (and rightly so). Some of these ideas will be good, and some will need experienced input. Going without the input of an experienced team often results in a website with an amateur feel, and missed opportunities to capture leads.

Working with a professional developer will ensure that your ideas are honed into an effective end product with no missed opportunities. Part of our job is to guide your enthusiasm, brainstorm, and help prioritize ideas.

Clients find our consultation invaluable!

Your Time is Valuable

Many business owners have, at one point or another, taken dozens of hours from an already strained schedule to try to get a website builder or template working. The time investment always ends up being greater than they think going in.

It requires learning a new platform, filling out all of the options, outlining and writing the content, creating pages, and reading through tutorials and support articles. When the result will be a website that runs slowly, has little to no SEO value, and may not look great or capture leads, is that the best use of your time?

We make the web design & development process easy and fast. You can focus on your own work while your product comes to life.

The Future of Your Online Presence

Consider the future of your online presence. With a template or do-it-yourself website builder, you get what comes with the template and no more. As you become more successful online, you’ll want to expand and incorporate new features.

There is no template that can do everything you will need it to do as you become more successful online. Examples of features you may want to add over time include:

  • Online payment
  • Shopping cart / ecommerce
  • Social media integration
  • Newsletter signup
  • Photo & video galleries
  • Testimonials
  • Live chat
  • Landing pages
  • Visual upgrades
  • Using subdomains
  • Mouse-hover effects
  • Scroll animation
  • Accordion menus
  • Background video
  • Popups
  • Directories

With our custom websites, you can do all of this and more. Your website should drive you forward, not hold you back.

These are some of the reasons that website templates and do-it-yourself builders are less effective than working with a developer. However, a halfway decent web presence is better than none at all! Templates tend to work as a temporary placeholder for companies with a limited budget, until they’re ready to invest in themselves.

But ultimately, your company website is the foundation of your present and future online presence. It is your handshake to the world – your first impression. Visitors will use it to decide between you and a competitor. It is essential to look and perform your best.