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Templated vs Custom Websites

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Templated vs Custom Websites

Templated vs Custom Websites

Did you ever wonder what type of website do I need for my business? Templated or custom - and does my business really care? Why is there such a vast cost difference?

Templated Websites

Templated websites are everywhere these days, they are 'pre-made' designs ready for web designers to change colours, branding, pages, page layout and functionality. Effectively this allows the web designer to 'hit the ground running', but there are advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of templated websites

Some advantages are...

  • Cheaper : as a lot of the design / development work has already been done
  • Less surprises : the customer has a better idea of what they are going to get before work even starts
  • Faster : as there is no detailed design process, the website can often be finished a lot faster than a custom website design

Disadvantages of templated websites

Some disadvantages are...

  • Uniformity : you may see many  websites that look very similar to your chosen templated website
  • Code Bloat : this is when the website code is more excessive than it needs to be. This is often the nature because it needs to be easy to change out for the web designers and will be used by many 'designers' with mixed web design skills
  • Smoke and Mirrors : often a website template is chosen by the client or designer and looks amazing. But take away the fancy images that don't apply to your business, change the branding and put in real text content - and the website can often fall very flat in comparison to the original chosen template (this is very common!)

Custom Websites

Custom websites can often be a misleading term, as many web design companies tout their websites as 'custom websites' - but they are really templated websites that are 'customised' to your brand and requirements. This is what should really be termed 'personalised websites', as they have not gone through the thorough design process of a completely custom designed website.

True custom websites have gone through a meticulous design process from the ground up. This usually includes a design meeting / workshop with the client to find out their unique requirements. Sometimes these start with 'wire-frames' to design the 'usability experience (UX)' of the website and understand the pages required, page hierarchy, information Architecture (AI), functionality requirements and importantly design the technical search engine optimisation (SEO) into the website as it is designed and built. 

The website designer will usually design the website in a software program (like Adobe XD, Sketch or Illustrator) and present this to the client to discuss changes. This will often go back and forth until the design is 100% ready to move into the development phase - where it will be built from the ground up.

Advantages of custom websites

Some advantages are...

  • Unique : your custom designed website is completely individual to your business
  • On Brand : your custom designed website is specifically designed around your requirements and is completely on-brand for your business  and your business requirements
  • Cleaner Code : as the site is designed from the ground up, it gives the opportunity for the web designer / developer to create clean code that is far better for search engines, as your keywords are less diluted by bloated code and often load a lot faster. This also gives the designer / developer the ability to add better 'technical SEO' into the website as it is built (there are many SEO techniques we use for all our custom websites)
  • Only the best : creating websites from the ground up is an art, and this means the website companies that are able to do this are often more experienced in web, have a better understanding of UX, AI and SEO - and in a nut shell are able to create a better quality of website that will help your website shine in a flooded market of templated websites.

Disadvantages of custom websites

Some disadvantages are..

  • More Expensive :Web designers and developers sell time, and more time will go into both the design and development process
  • Potential for more Design Surprises : a good web designer will encapsulate every requirement in the design process, but this process does leave more interpretation up to the web designer and therefore more room for design surprises. An experienced web designer will have processes to avoid these surprises and will also be able to bring beautiful design to the table (these designers are getting more rare in today's web market!) 
  • More Time Consuming : as more time is required in the custom design process, these websites will often take longer from start to completion (although this can allow the client or copywriter time to gather content for the new website) 


We find that templated and personalised websites are great for start-ups and smaller businesses with a limited budget, who are eager to get their websites live ASAP, and are happy to compromise on the technical search engine optimisation that comes with custom designed websites built from the ground up.

There are literally millions of templates to chose from out there - but beware of slow bloated templates, and try to look past the pretty images and imagine what you website will look like with your images, your text and your brand in place. 

Custom websites are often more suited to businesses that have been operating for a few years and have either had a poor performing templated website built for them in the past or who are needing greater design flexibility that is on-brand. Custom websites are often faster, less bloated and better for search engines - as they have been designed from the ground up (that is if your web designer / developers have good SEO knowledge when building your custom website !)

If you are after a quick, good looking templated/personalised website, then NZ Web Design could be perfect for you, as they design on platforms that can help your SEO even though the sites are templated, and they have great design prowess and after sales support.

If you are after the best custom websites in Auckland, then contact Fuel Design - they have been designing custom websites from the ground up since 2002 and know the in's and out of the web industry better than anyone in NZ.

If you are after a templated e-commerce website that has the functionality you need and want to get to market quickly, then we here at eCommerce Websites would love to help you out, and we can always add custom functionality to your website as we go, or at any later stage.

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0800 383 563
09 428 3047

Orewa Office

8W Moana Avenue,
Orewa Beach, 0931

Tauranga Office

260 Range Road,
Papamoa Beach, 3118