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Custom Website vs. Template Website by Best Digital Marketing Agency, Absolute Digital

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital
Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

It's 2020 and you've probably seen enough websites to know which websites are good-looking, and which are not. In this article, we will be sharing our thoughts on what constitutes a good website design, and if your brand should go for a customized website design or a template website design.

But before we begin, you should be familiar with these terms to better understand. this article. We have also included links to the definition of these terms in case you would want to learn more:

  • Template Website - This is a premade website that can be customized with images, videos, and other style elements to create a complete website. Web developers will code each function separately so you can make your own website using a modular concept. While template websites offer a variety of premade functions, the more complicated website requires a custom website that requires programming.

  • Custom Website - This is a website that is programmed (HTML5, CSS, Javascript, or other programming languages) by a web developer meaning you can't alter or add new functions to it without altering its codes. Usually more complicated, but will work seamlessly and usually lasts longer than a template website.

  • Web Programming - This refers to the programming of the website or individual features. Often called backend programming, not all visitors are able to see the backend unless given specific access by the website admin.

  • Web Design - This refers to the front-end design aspect of web design. These include the website photos, videos, content, and general look and feel of the website design most viewers will see on your website.

  • Hosting - Once your website is developed, you will need to host it somewhere for it to be "live" or "launched" so people can access it via the internet. This is usually a yearly fee you have to pay to the hosting company to secure your website. Alternative security features would include SSL certification which is essentially secured hosting recommended for E-commerce websites handling payments.

  • Domain - This refers to the website address or URL. Because no two websites can have a duplicate URL much like an address. This is usually a yearly fee that you have to pay for the right to own this domain.

  • Server - High is where your website is hosted meaning the datapoint where your website is being backed up before going through the internet. Usually, a local server would be better for your website loading speed. Cloud hosting like Amazon Web Server (AWS) is also another way to host without having a dedicated server you are able to split the costs with other brands.

  • UI/UX - User Interface/User Experience refers to the overall user experience when visiting your website which includes the ease of navigation, page loading speed, and other factors.

  • Mobile Responsive - This refers to the ability of your website to automatically detect and resize in order to fit the device the user is viewing it on e.g. Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Mobile Phone.

  • CMS - Content Management System refers to the website admin access to control, edit, delete, and add new content and features to the website without having to touch the original coding.

Now, let's dive into the difference between a custom and template website, and which of these should you choose?

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Well, the short answer is there is no right or wrong choice. Both of these websites have pros and cons which we will be going through in this article. The key is to identify which features suit your brand best and if you require more of these features, you will lean on one or the other.

Most importantly, don't give in to the hard-selling of your web design agency if they are recommending one solution to the other. This is because it is probably beneficial for them to sell one of these more than the other.

A good web design agency will understand your business requirements first before proposing the best solution.

Pros and Cons

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Custom Website Pros:

  • Fully customizable (design and features)

  • Unlimited software integration including Mobile App integrations (iOS and Andriod)

  • Unlimited design (and animation) options

  • Programming works seamlessly

Template Website Pros:

  • Easy to learn and create

  • Quick

  • Basic functions are all-inclusive

  • Cheaper to create

Custom Website cons:

  • Usually more expensive (good developers are costly to hire)

  • Usually, take longer depending on your requirement

  • Building from scratch requires more testing to make sure it runs smoothly

  • You need to have a specific requirement/objectives

Template Website Cons:

  • The website may not work seamlessly because the functions are created individually

  • Specific functions or design may not be available

  • Limited integrations (although with time more developers will create more integrations)

  • The payment subscription model. No payment = no more website.

Why a Custom Website?

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Custom websites are perfect for businesses who have specific requirements which template website does not offer. For instance, if you run an online events portal and you want your website to connect to you booking, payment, ticketing systems, and an additional feature to scan the tickets during the event to mark the attendance, you will need a custom website with a strong backend to make sure your CMS works seamlessly when collecting these data.

This also works well for an E-commerce website with complicated inventory management services that can be integrated with your invoicing, payments, and other requirements for the business to function online.

Why Template Website?

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Template websites suitable for most consumers whereby you need a basic website for an online presence with information such as About Us, Our Services, Contact Us, and more. Other features such as a simple booking or lead generation form are also available to integrate with your template website. However, if you require a specific booking customization form that is linked to your booking system, you will need to develop a fully customized website.

A template website is enough for the average business that needs a website as a representation of their brand online or purely for information and basic functions.

Is Programming Imporant?

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Programming of the website is key and that is why a customized website is so important. Because if your programmer is not well-versed or experienced enough, you may run into issues with your website in the future.

Especially if you engage a freelance programmer, once your website is live, they will not take responsibility for any malfunctions and should you go to another developer to fix the issues, they might not want to take it for fear of responsibility or because your website is written in a different programming language.

Some of the more common and widely practiced programming languages are:

1. Phyton

2. Java

3. Javascript

4. C#

5. C/C++

6. PHP

7. Swift

Key considerations before you start

Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

Before you start developing your website, you need to lay out all the possible features you want the website to have in the future. Sometimes, a client would start out as simple e-commerce with basic functions and would tend to go for a template website such as Woocommerce or Shopify. That's good and all but they did not take into consideration future scalability when they want to integrate with their inventory systems or automate the shipping process by printing customized order labels that require custom programming features.

When they are finally ready to install these extra features, they find out that their existing website cannot support them and needs to redo the entire website on a custom platform which is inefficient and more expensive.

Having scalability in mind, we would advise them to first start out on a basic website using custom programming. This way, when they decide to add on the function they do not need to redo the entire website again saving cost, time, and effort.


Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

1. Look for a reliable website partner

2. Book a free consultation

3. Try creating a simple template website for yourself

4. Engage a website partner if you find it too complicated

5. Scale your website along with your business needs

6. Keep your website updated

7. Optimize your website (Google SEO)

*There is no point in having a beautiful website if nobody visits.


Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

There are many ways to create a website and as much as other web developers would try to convince you which programming language or platform is the best, there is no right or wrong way to create a website.

We strongly feel that your website should reflect your business accordingly because...

Your website is your online salesperson running 24/7.

You need a well-designed, easy to navigate, and reliable website that puts across your brand's message in the best way possible.

To learn how to improve your website in 5-easy steps, you can read this article. To find out how you can rank your website on Google organically, you can refer to this article. If you would like to find out more about the difference between a custom website and template website, you can visit our website or drop us a message at

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Custom Website vs. Template Website | Absolute Digital

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