Q&A: Custom Design versus Template versus “Site in a Box”


We understand that you have options.  You could easily build a site using WordPress and a cheap, or even free, theme.  You could also go to places like Godaddy and buy a domain name and use a start to finish website builder.  With so many cheap (and nice looking) themes available from DIY website builders like Wix, it’s no surprise that almost every client wants to know why they should go with a custom design. After all, custom means expensive, right? Or at least more expensive than DIY.

Why should I consider custom design when I could use a template or a “site-in-a-box”

There’s no denying that a custom design is going to run you more money than a pre-built template or theme. But a custom design will also deliver a much better ROI. A pre-built template or theme will almost never match the look or functionality you need from your website. But even if you could get all the functionality you need from an existing theme, there’s another issue at play. Your business is unique. You need it to stand out. If you use some cookie-cutter template, you’re going to end up with a site that blends in with the competition. If you want to leave the impression that will make visitors convert, you need a custom design.

A "site builder" site is inflexible and most site owners very quickly outgrow it.

Advantages of Templates and “Site in a Box” Solutions

  • You can get inspiration on colors, layouts and features.
  • Low budget and shorter development time.

That’s pretty much it, quick and cheap.  But if those are your determinative criteria, then you should use one of those solutions.  We’re not saying they’re wrong or bad. They serve a valuable purpose but they simply are not what we do.

Custom design perfectly fits your style and needs.

The Power of Custom Design

  • Your website will have a unique design. You don’t have to compromise on the design.
  • The web design, and the programming will be custom tailored to exactly fit your business. Do you want to have a purchase order automatically generated and emailed when you receive an order for a certain product or service? That’s no problem with a custom site; we did exactly that just recently.
  • The site will be more search engine friendly which is very important as this is responsible for bringing visitors to your website. We recently redesigned a site that was on one of these heavily advertised site-builder sites and two months after our overhaul, the site moved to Google’s first page of search results simply because of the way we incorporate SEO into custom designs. And that was before we started the off-page SEO campaign.
  • The website will be more adaptable to your company’s needs.
  • The site will likely be faster to load and more responsive, both of which can increase your conversion rate (i.e., increase sales).
  • Using open source and non-proprietary solutions, the site can actually be less expensive to operate in the long run, especially when e-commerce is involved.


Custom web design and development offer your business many advantages. If you’d like to discuss whether your site meets modern standards, feel free to contact us. A thorough site analysis is inexpensive, and a quick, exploratory phone call is free!

Other articles in this series:
  • Introduction
  • Part 1 (This Article)
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
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