Web design businesses will often work to sell you on the “custom” website because your business will better stand out among your competitors. “Custom is better” they say, because it will be a design exclusive to you. Sounds reasonable but will always come with a massive price tag.

Those focused on building custom websites will also tell you that templates are the wrong route to go because your website will look like everyone else’s. They will also make the very compelling argument that the template based websites aren’t flexible enough to accomplish the goals you may need for your website.

I won’t make the argument that custom is always better or template sites are always better, but I will explain some important matters related to both options and help you to understand “custom” vs “customizable” templates.

Template built websites aren’t what they use to be and even today, not all templates are created equal. Some are far better than others. When a developer like myself builds a site from a template, I’m not starting with a product that lacks the flexibility OR customizability. What I am doing is starting with is a product that is nearly a blank canvas and the design I’m building into it is customized to your precise needs. And depending on the needs of your business or organization, it can be built without the five-figure price tag.

Custom websites can actually be quite inflexible, difficult for the owner to maintain, and often no longer update-able when the relationship ends with the original designer. Though this isn’t true 100% of the time, often they are designed with such precision that when the business evolves, the website is unable to evolve with the business. These websites will also “break.” Their lifespan is lessened by having a custom framework that can’t be updated by the click of a button.

“Template” is truly a misunderstood word and so much more can be said about templates as a smart product decision for business owners. When looking into the investment of a website, make sure you ask about your ability to update the website’s software independent of a web designer, your ability to maintain the content of the website, and the flexibility of a site to evolve with your business.