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Are you getting a “website template” or a custom designed website? What’s the difference?

Website templates or custom design?

When it comes to the planning and executing the design of a website or Online Business, there are really two ways of going about it. On one side, you have custom built and designed websites with massive flexibility and on the other, you have pre-built website template designs.

How do I know if a company is telling the truth that they provide custom designed websites?
Many companies provide website designs that were put together in mass production, then they provide the templates of these basic designs to plug in text and photos and sell to their customers at a very low cost. They sell them as “Custom Designed Websites”. This is false and misleading. If you look at their portfolios, you can see a simple “cookie cutter” style design that sorely lacks in top notch creativity and branding that we at A Work Of Art, Inc. provide. If they provide SEO services, find out how much time a month is manually put into it, and get examples of their work. SEO needs the hands on thoroughness, effort and expertise to succeed as it should. As you can see from our portfolio, every professional business website is custom tailored and built from scratch for each and every client.

1. Custom website designs
When we say “custom” website designs, we’re referring to designs that are conceptualized, designed, and built from the ground up, specifically for a particular website or Online Business. These “one off” designs are only used for that single company, product, or service and you won’t see the same design being used by any other website. These website designs have not be pre-built by a design company for use by several clients or resold by any template retailers. A Work Of Art, Inc. is proud to offer custom website designs, specially crafted by our website design artisans specifically for your unique brand and are far more appealing, marketable and your brand is applied far more effectively.

2. Pre-built website designs and the traps companies fall into – You’ve seen them on TV.
In contrast to custom website designs, pre-built website designs have been built either:
A. For no single product/service/company – The pre-built design has been built to be used by several websites or Online Businesses.
B. For a single website non-exclusively – Although the website designer created the website design for a particular client, the design was created to be reused for appropriate future clients as well.
C. The template website is VERY restricted when it comes to custom coding and functionality. Often companies that go on the cheap and use template sites later regret it because they cannot get what they need to grow with and end up having to spend money all over again for a custom website. Penny wise – dollar foolish.
D. Most template companies that advertise as “custom websites” which they are not… (you’ve seen them on TV or in cold calls or spam emails) offer Very Low prices on a monthly basis. Beware! You are simply renting your site on a content management system. You do not own it nor can you take it with you. The minute you stop paying, the website is gone. You are left on your own to develop it and unless you are an experienced coding engineer you won’t get what your company needs to be successful.

Website designers and website design companies will typically fail to effectively customize the pre-built design for the client’s unique brand and purposes. They only include things like inserting the client’s logo and perhaps modifying the design’s color scheme to match. These are sometimes referred to as “customized” designs, so it’s important to be aware of the difference between “custom” and “customized”.

At A Work Of Art, We take pride in branding, marketing and optimizing your website in the most professional manner so that you get what you want and need “The first time” and you have something you can build on and grow with into the future with unlimited functional and marketing capabilities. Most web design companies offering cheap prices can not offer this despite what they may tell you. Their top priority is their bottom line and mass production. don’t fall into the “123 and done” companies.

The many meanings of website design “template”Pre-built website designs are often referred to as “templates”, although that term is also used in elsewhere in the website design & development industry to refer to the design of a website that is built using a Content Management System or other website platform. For such websites, the design is separated from the actual page contents, and the empty website design is referred to as a “template”. This becomes confusing because some websites which are platform-based may have a unique template that is a completely custom design. Thus, “template” in a general sense, may or may not refer to a pre-built website design.

Which is best, custom or pre-built website design?

Let’s stick to the facts and let you form your own opinion on the subject. Each process has it’s own pros and cons and at A Work Of Art, Inc., we believe these need to be carefully weighed for each client to determine the best solution. To determine if a website design should be custom or pre-built, we consider the following dimensions of quality:

As website design is a part of Internet marketing and marketing in general, branding is an important facet of your efforts. Your brand includes a visual vocabulary: symbols, colors, and fonts which can all be utilized in the shaping of your custom website design. For branding purposes, a custom website design allows a greater opportunity to present and reinforce your brand.

The process of conceptualizing, planning, and creating a custom website design is generally far more complex than using a pre-built template, even if the pre-built template is customized for your purposes. The complexity of custom website design demands a higher cost. If you say, “I just want to have a small web site and not spend a lot of money”.

Every day I get calls from companies saying they went that route and now their website is obsolete, they can’t find the company that designed it, isn’t correctly optimized and they need to have it done all over again. In the long run, it is more cost effective to have it done correctly the first time and have it custom designed to fit what you need in the latest state of the art design applications.

Using a pre-built template is a bit like buying and moving into a house. You’re confined to the dimensions and layout of that design and you may find that you’re very limited in that space, rather than building a space around your content and features. If you have to make some radical customizations to that pre-built website design in order to make it work for your website or Online Business, the costs of those customizations might become an issue or not be possible at all.

In general, if flexibility of the layout and design are what you’re focused on, you’re probably better off with a custom design.

Author – David Nagle

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