Stepping into the digital realm with a website for your business is a vital decision. But the journey towards creating that perfect online space can be a maze of technical jargon and complex choices.

One of the most critical decisions you need to make is whether to invest in a custom website design or opt for a template-based design.

While both paths can lead you to an engaging and functional website, they offer very different experiences, and their costs can vary significantly.

This article aims to shed light on these two approaches, helping you navigate through the pros and cons of custom and template-based website designs.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what each option entails, its potential costs, and the factors you should consider when making your decision.

So whether you’re a startup looking for cost-effective solutions, or an established brand seeking to enhance your online presence, we’ve got you covered.

Read on and empower yourself to make an informed decision that best aligns with your business needs and budget.

Understanding Website Design

Website design is more than just aesthetics. It’s a concoction of different elements, including usability, functionality, and much more, all designed to provide an engaging user experience (UX).

Importance of Website Design

A well-crafted website can catapult a business into the digital stratosphere. It’s key to establishing an online presence and reaching audiences far and wide.

Different Types of Website Design

There are two primary approaches to website design: custom website design and template-based design. Both have their merits and drawbacks, and the choice between the two often comes down to specific needs and resources.

Diving into Custom Website Design

Custom website design is akin to a bespoke suit. Every detail is tailor-made to fit your brand perfectly.

Pros of Custom Website Design

Uniqueness and Personalisation

A custom website is like a blank canvas that provides the freedom to create something unique and personalised. It allows for tailor-made functionalities and aesthetics that align perfectly with your brand identity.

Scalability and Flexibility

Custom websites are growth-oriented. They’re built with scalability in mind, making them adaptable to the evolving needs of your business.

Better SEO and User Experience

With a custom website, you can optimise the structure and content for SEO better. It also allows for a more intuitive user interface (UI) design, enhancing the overall user experience.

Cons of Custom Website Design

Higher Costs

Bespoke websites come with a higher price tag. They require more resources, including time, skills, and money.

Cost FactorsCustom Website DesignTemplate-Based Design
Initial Setup CostThe initial setup cost of custom web design in the UK can vary depending on the complexity of the website and the experience of the web designer. According to the search results, the cost can range from £1,000 to £60,000 or more (123). The cost of hiring a freelance web developer can range from £90-150/hour (4). It is important to keep in mind that the cost of a website can also depend on additional factors such as hosting, domain name, and ongoing maintenance costs.The initial setup cost of template-based design in the UK varies depending on the service provider and the type of website. Here are some estimates:
Hatchly offers a Standard package for £950 and a Premium package for £1,440 (1).

According to Expert Market, a basic website from a UK-based freelancer can cost between £700-£1,500 (2).

DDIY lists email template projects as ranging from $5 to over $1,000 per project (3).

Startups.co.uk estimates the cost of using a website designer to be between £4,000 – £60,000+ upfront (4).

SPDLoad estimates that a constructor-based website will cost up to $1000, while a basic site with minimal features will cost between $1000-$10,000 (5).
Ongoing Maintenance CostThe ongoing maintenance cost of custom website design in the UK varies depending on the size of the business and the services required.

According to the search results, the cost of website maintenance for a small business site is around $560 per month, while medium-sized online website maintenance costs around $1300 per month (1).
The ongoing maintenance cost of a template-based website design in the UK can vary depending on the size of the website and the services required. According to the search results, the average website maintenance cost in the UK for a small business site is around $560 per month, while medium-sized online website maintenance costs about $1300 per month (1).

However, the cost can range from $0 to $1,000+ per month depending on the type of website and the maintenance plan (2).

It is important to note that website maintenance costs can include hosting costs, domain name renewal costs, and web designer fees (34).
Hosting FeesA digital agency will charge around £50 – £200 per hour or £300 – £1000 per day2.
The cost of creating a basic website can range from £100/year for hosting to £15/year for a domain name3.
The cost of designing a website can range from £2.99 to £6.99 per year for hosting and from £6.99/year for a domain name4.
Shared hosting can cost anywhere from £2 to £13 per month depending on the company and features required5.
The average hosting fees for template-based website design in the UK vary depending on the type of service provider and the features included. According to the search results, the cost of hosting a website in the UK can range from £2.99 to £19.99 per month for website builders1, and from £25 to £100 per year for hosting2.
Customisation FeesVariesVaries
Additional ExpensesHiring a web designer/developer, potential integration costs, custom functionality fees, etc.Template purchase/licensing fees, premium features or plugin costs, etc.
Average Cost RangeVariesVaries
Factors Influencing CostComplexity of design, number of pages, functionality requirements, unique features, etc.Template quality, additional customisations, premium add-ons, etc.
Notes– Custom websites offer greater flexibility and personalisation but generally come at a higher cost.

Templates provide cost-effective solutions but may have limitations in customisation.

Consider long-term expenses and scalability when making a decision.

Hiring a professional web designer can affect the overall cost of custom design.

Templates may require periodic updates and additional costs for premium features or plugins.

Longer Deadlines

Custom web design often entails longer deadlines. Every single detail is built from the ground up, which can be a time-consuming process.

Exploring Template-Based Website Design

The template design is like buying off-the-rack. It’s a pre-designed, ready-to-use layout that you can apply to your website.

Pros of Template-Based Website Design

Cost-Effective and Quick Turnaround

Templates are a budget-friendly option. They require less time and resources to set up, making them a popular choice for startups or small businesses with tight deadlines.

User-Friendly and Mobile-Friendly

Most templates come with an easy-to-use interface and are mobile-optimised. This makes them a practical choice for those who need a responsive and user-friendly website quickly.

Cons of Template-Based Website Design

Limited Customisation

Despite offering some degree of customisation, templates are inherently limited. They may not perfectly fit your brand’s identity or accommodate unique functionalities you might want.

Potential Security Vulnerabilities

Template designs could be more vulnerable to security threats. Since they are widely used, they may be targeted more frequently by hackers.

Making the Choice: Custom or Template?

Deciding between a custom website and a template-based site isn’t a one-size-fits-all choice. It depends on a host of factors, including your budget, deadline, technical expertise, and long-term goals.

Considerations for Decision-Making

If you prioritise uniqueness, and scalability, and have a higher budget, a custom website could be the right choice.

On the other hand, if you need a cost-effective, time-efficient solution, a template design might be your best bet.

In Summary

In the end, whether you choose a custom design or a template-based website design, the goal is to build an effective online presence that serves your audience and supports your business objectives.

By understanding the cost and benefits of both options, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a custom website better than a template?

This depends on your needs. Custom websites offer more flexibility and uniqueness, while templates are cost-effective and quick to set up.

How much does a custom website cost?

The cost of a custom website can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the design and functionality.

Are template websites bad for SEO?

Not necessarily. While custom websites offer more control over SEO, a well-optimised template can still rank well.

How long does it take to build a custom website?

A custom website can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to build, depending on its complexity.

Can I switch from a template website to a custom website later?

Yes, it’s possible to redesign a template website into a custom one as your business and needs to grow.

About the Author

Des Dreckett

Des Dreckett is the eCommerce and growth Marketing Director of XenMediamarketing.co.uk: a writer, blogger and a paid media specialist.

Writing content to help you grow and build your business.

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