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Custom vs template website design: Which is right for you?

Custom vs Template Website Design: Which is Right for You? 3D Graphic


When looking up how to build a website, you’ve probably come across terms like ‘bespoke custom website design‘ or ‘template website design’ everywhere with no real explanation on what that is. A website can make all the difference in a customer’s decision to purchase your products and/or services. When exploring website development options for your business, there are two options to consider – a bespoke custom website or a template-based website.

What is the difference between a custom and template web design? And which option is right for you? Read on to see what our Madcraft website developers have to say about the differences between the two and their pros and cons.

What is a bespoke custom design website?

Beskpoke Custom Website Design - What is it

Bespoke websites are custom-built and developed by qualified website developers. Bespoke websites allow extensive customisation, advanced functionality, accessibility features and fitting responsiveness to each device the website appears on. Bespoke custom website designs are suitable for businesses that are scaling and dealing with high masses of traffic and inventory. 


A prominent advantage of a custom website is the ability to make your website design and user experience unique to your brand voice and visuals. With this ability, you can insert personality and originality, providing a distinctive competitive advantage against competitors’ websites. 

The extent of customisation that can be done on bespoke websites can result in a “seamless user experience”, whereby your customer’s journey on the website is smooth and the experience is of high quality across all aspects of the website. There is also an opportunity to implement more advanced levels of SEO work both technical and on-page which will allow your website to be found and rank highly in search engines for your relevant search terms. 

The functionality of a bespoke website design is more advanced and appropriate for larger websites like eCommerce stores that require more than a standard set of capabilities to navigate the site. Notably, 42% of people will leave a website because of poor functionality, therefore, a bespoke website enables you to develop solutions to any user experience issues or fix functionality issues on your website with full technical support from web developers. 

As well as offering advanced functionality, custom website designs have accurate responsivity, an element many template-based websites lack. This is important to be incorporated into a website design, as up to 73% of users will exit sites immediately that have inadequate responsiveness, especially with the increased usage from mobile phone users in comparison to laptop users in the modern day. Bespoke custom websites address this issue with custom coding that grants control over how your site performs and is displayed on different devices and its appearance on search engines. 


Like with all technology, there are downsides to bespoke websites. The biggest drawback is the initial higher costs associated with these custom-built websites compared to a template-based website because it is tailored to your business needs. Another drawback is that a bespoke website’s building and design process can take longer, as it needs to go through phases of scoping, building, reviewing, and snagging to ensure the output matches the initial project requirements.

What is a template designed website? 

Template website design - which is better

Template designed websites are generic pre-designed templates that are affordable, easier to master and essentially quicker to build. Templated websites are most suitable for startups and small businesses that require a standard website that is cost-efficient and only needs simple functionality. 


WordPress, Wix and Weebly are the best template website builders that offer basic template website wireframes. Templates website designs are popular, with approximately 42% of users on the internet using templated WordPress websites. The biggest advantage of template website designs is that they are pre-built and only require you to upload your own content and conduct minor edits to customise it to your own site. Template-based websites are seen as stress-free and cost-efficient as there is generally low-to-no-code needed for you to launch the website and few requirements for a website developer.

There are already 1.9 billion websites currently online globally (custom-built and templates), where competition is fierce and standing out in the crowd is becoming increasingly harder. It is advisable to pick a template website that attracts attention, functional and is responsive. It should also be taken note that the increase in popularity of using templates may result in many other competitors using a similar layout to you due to templates being widely accessible, in contrast to bespoke custom designed websites.  


The drawbacks of template design websites include limited customisation, lack of responsiveness, poor functionality and less technical support. The biggest drawback is the restricted customisation with a template-based design which vastly limits you from providing a unique design and experience to your users. Secondly, some cheaper templates lack the appropriate responsiveness,  which has a damaging effect on your mobile user experience. Further, templates may have poor functionality due to not being search engine friendly or optimised for SEO, which negatively affects Google’s ranking on SERPs. Finally, many of these template-based websites are developed by a third party, which may bring down the initial cost of the website development but presents issues with limited post-sale technical support, which can end up being more expensive in the long run if issues arise within the website. 

Is it better to build a website from scratch or use a template?

It depends on what exactly you are trying to achieve with your company website, your business needs and functions. At Madcraft, we strongly recommend bespoke custom design websites due to the vast capabilities it offers to businesses, including greater customisation, functionality, accessibility and responsiveness. 

Bespoke websites can be costly but should be viewed as a long-term return on investment that greatly benefits your business over a long period as it can scale and adapt as your business grows.

Whereas template-based websites are generally quick and cost-efficient, easier to master and a great starting point to grow your online presence quickly. Template design websites are not ideal for the long term, especially if you rely on your website to generate revenue. Simply because the template designs are not built for your purposes in they will have to be altered, effectively costing you more as an end result as seen with the average lifespan of a template-based website 1 to 1.5 years in comparison to 3 to 4 years for a custom-built website. 

At Madcraft, we work with you to suit your budget and timescale with our speciality in bespoke websites to develop a website you’ll be proud to showcase. 

Key points

  • With website development, you have two options: a bespoke custom website or a template-based website. What options you choose solely depends on your website’s purpose. 
  • Bespoke websites are custom-built with high functionality, accessibility, and responsiveness. Bespoke websites have an average span of 4+ years.
  • Template websites are ready-made, quick to set up, and cost-efficient. Template-based websites have a span of 1 to 1.5 years.

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