Custom Website vs Template Website: A Buyer's Guide

Are you growing out of your current website? When it comes to the web, what worked for you a few years ago is probably starting to creak at the seams. When buying a new or updated site, you could go custom or you could use a template site builder. This guide will help you decide which is best for your business.

George Barnes

Digital
·3 min read (869 words)
A laptop half open, with a screen full of bright colours

The purpose of this guide is to help you decide what kind of website your business needs. To begin, let’s paint a picture of a situation you may well find yourself in. 

Is it time for a website upgrade?

Is your website starting to feel outdated? Or maybe your business is growing and your website is starting to creak a bit at the seams? Maybe you’re fed up with plug-ins that constantly break and make your entire site fall down? 

These are all common reasons why businesses have come to us in the past for a new site. And this really is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Whatever your reason, there’s no time like the present to start thinking about upgrading your website. After all, your website is often the lens through which your potential customers first see your business — and you wouldn’t want to give them a bad impression!

Now that you’ve decided you need an upgrade, you need to ask yourself how you will go about it.  

Broadly speaking you’ve got two options. The first is a custom-built website and the second is a template site, such as WordPress. 

Both options have pros and cons, and to figure out which is right for you, you need to ask some questions. 

What do you need from your website?

To help you get a better understanding of what kind of website will serve you best, you have to think about the kind of features you want. Ask yourself these questions:

With answers to these — alongside any other questions you might want to ask yourself — you’ll be far better placed to make the most of the pros and cons we’ll go into next. 


Pros and cons of custom and template websites

Custom pros:
  • SEO optimisation built-in
  • Brand built into the design
  • Designed specifically for your business and its needs
  • Scalable so won’t cause issues as you grow
  • Better support - don’t need to deal with devs from multiple plug-ins
  • More secure
  • Better UX
  • Easier tracking and analytics
  • Easier to produce optimised landing pages
  • Better suited for e-commerce
Template pros:
  • Quick to build
  • Cheap and sometimes even free
  • You can do a lot yourself 
  • Plug-ins give you a lot of options regarding functionality
  • It’s a known quantity —  WordPress powers more than a third of the world’s websites
  • It’s usually easy to find documentation or online videos to help you with issues you’re having
Custom cons:
  • Can take longer to build
  • Can have a higher upfront cost
  • You may need developer help to make big changes to the site
Template cons:
  • Essentially it’s just a content management system (CMS) with other bits tacked on
  • It will struggle to scale with your business
  • You need to stay on top of updates 
  • One problematic plug-in can have a negative impact on your whole site
  • You won’t find functionality specific to your unique business needs
  • They can struggle to deal with a lot of data — and can become slow as a result
  • You’ll often need 3rd party developers to plaster over issues with multiple plug-ins 

 

What does this mean for my website?

Based on the above pros and cons, it should become clear which kind of site is best for where your business is right now. 

A simple way to look at it would be: if your business’ online presence is growing, and you need a website that’s more than just a brochure that sits on the internet, then you need a custom site. 

If you’re a small business that simply wants an online brochure, and you’re happy to do most of the work yourself to save money — then a template site like WordPress or Wix is a cost-effective solution that’s right for you.


What Newicon offers

Here at Newicon, we build custom websites. Sometimes we even build custom websites using things like WordPress. But for more bespoke projects, we use Neon, our own web development technology. 

Using Neon we can build your site using the best modern framework for the job — whether that’s Laravel, Yii2 or something else. 

Neon is open source, and very easy for other developers to use, so you have the flexibility to make whatever changes you want in the future, with whatever developers you choose. This is part of what makes it so scalable. 

As well as the technology, we also bring expertise in design, branding, UX and marketing to each of our web projects. That way our clients benefit from a site that’s optimised and designed specifically for their business needs and those of their users — and that it’s visible online to all those potential customers out there. 


Get in touch today

Contact us today to find out more about our custom websites and what they could do for your business. 
 


I'm George Barnes

Digital at Newicon

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