Templates vs. Custom Website

Templates vs. Custom Website When developing your website, there are two options available - a website template or a custom developed site. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and are appropriate for different reasons. In short, neither is better than the other; both will result in a high quality website and both require web hosting so that your website is available on the Internet.

Some people would argue that since a template isn't unique when you purchase it, a custom website is a better solution. That's sort of true. Every website is generally the same - there's a logo in the top left, there's a navigation bar, there's page content, and there are welcoming imgaes. In fact, when you add your own logo, images, and text, your website is indeed unique whether you download a template or develop a new custom site. Modify the colours or placement of certain items and you customize your template even more. In that way, a template can actually result in a unique custom website specific to your needs in less time and at a fraction of the cost of actually developing a new custom site.

The table below provides a quick look at the pros and cons of a web template versus a custom site.

Template Website Custom Website
Cost <$150. Free with any Kirsir web hosting plan. Varies depending on requirements and company hired. Usually costs thousands for a high quality site.
Timeframe Download and customize immediately and possibly be online in hours. Time it takes to customize is dependent on how much needs to be changed and/or skill level. Varies depending on website requirements, hired company, etc. Usually takes weeks to months to deliver since it is developed from the ground up.
Ease of Setup Download template and customize yourself or have someone do it for you. Upload files to hosting account. Basic understanding of web pages and HTML a plus. Hired company will do everything for you. Initial requirements capture and proposal development will require discussion.
Customization Required since template contains dummy text. Customize any aspect of template including text, pages, images, links, colours, etc. Do it yourself with Frontpage or Dreamweaver or have somoene do it for you. Hired web design company does all unique development for you and builds your website to your exact requirements.
Quality Templates are created by professional web designers but quality can vary. Ability to simply download another at any time. Some firms create top quality sites while others do not. Clients must research potential firms. Difficult to change product once delivered.
Possible Features Limited to what you can customize yourself or what the template can accomodate without a major overhaul. Anything is possible including databases, forms, Flash animations, etc. because your site is built with these features from the start.
HTML/Flash Versions Download the version you prefer. Develop the version you prefer.
Uniqueness Must be customized so that template matches brand and looks different from original template. Usually completely unique.
Right for... Personal Needs, Non-profit organizations, Hobbyists, Affiliate Marketers, Businesses, Entrepreneurs Businesses, Entrepreneurs, Non-profit organizations

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