Web design
Custom website vs website templates: Which should I pick?

Custom website vs website templates: Which should I pick?

If you want to give your business or brand a true and lasting online presence, a website is a must. How to make the website is an altogether more difficult decision.

Pros and cons of custom website and website template

Custom Template
SEO friendly

What is a custom website?

A custom website is a website designed and built from scratch according to your needs for your use only.

Advantages of a custom website


Custom web design gives you the most freedom to create a unique website for your brand and the vision you have for it. It makes your website stand out.

Adaptability & Scalability

Custom made website leaves room to grow and scale with your business in the future. For example, if you decide to add a webshop, you can call your website developer to build additional custom features. If there are ever any issues, your ability to make adjustments is not limited to what the template allows.

Young african programmer writing computer code sitting in a workplace with three monitors.

SEO friendliness

A custom-built website gives you an advantage over templates since custom websites tend to rank higher on search engines.


If you ever have difficulty managing your website, having a custom website means you have direct access to the skilled developers who made it.

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Disadvantages of a custom website


Creating a custom site takes a lot of effort and skill, and that does not come cheap. Depending on the web developer or agency you commission to build the site, you should expect to spend at least R30,000 on a quality project for your site.

The price for website development will vary depending on the complexity of your project and the rates the developer you work with offers.

Time to develop

Another drawback of custom web designs is that they take time to develop.

The creative sessions, the work, revisions and tests needed to create a custom website are time-consuming. If if you're in a hurry, a custom website is not a viable option for you.

pink website template

What is a website template?

A website template is a predesigned web page with a set structure and layout that anyone can use with their own text and images. It works as a "plug and play".

Advantages of using website templates

Website templates are relatively easy to use and affordable, depending on the quality of the template you pick. All you have to do with most templates is fill in your specific information and content into an existing framework and design.


The leading benefit of using templates for your website is that you can go from idea to launch in no time at all. When speed to market matters, templates are your friend.


Another top benefit of templates is that even people with zero background in web design can use them effectively. There are templates for everything from business and entertainment to simple blogs and e-com shops.


Another big reason people go for templates is that they do not cost an arm and leg. Using templates, you can create stunning websites even on a tight budget.

Disadvantages of using a template for your website

Sameness and limited funcionality

Chances are there will be lots of websites on the internet that look very similar to yours. It's hard to gain a competitive edge with a template. You can change the fonts, colours and images, but you can't customise the layout according to your needs.


Your website may work slow due to the built-in features and functions of the template you bought that you may not even need. On most templates, you cannot delete functionalities that you do not use.

Limited support and updates

Templates come with very little support and updates. Often they are only available behind a paywall or on premium offerings.

What about customized templates?

Both templates and custom web designs have a fair share of pros and cons that could sway you one way or the other, depending on your current situation. But, what if you could have the best of both worlds?

Couple of people choosing colours for a website.

Custom templates allow you to have unique touches while giving you the speed and affordability of a pre-made framework. You can hire a professional at a portion of a price to customise or create custom elements to incorporate into the template.

Should I get a custom website or buy a website template?

If you can afford it, you should always go with a professionally built custom website.

On the other hand, if you are on a tight budget or want to put up a website quickly without spending time on design and coding, it is better to buy a website template.

Expert's opinion

Mrs Sandy Joselyn, CEO of Giddyup, one of Procompare's most trusted web design businesses and a recipient of the Customers' Choice 2020 award:

If budget allows, it is always better to do a customised website as it will be unique, and the site is built to be search engine optimised from the start.

"There are plenty of themes out there today, so don’t despair if your budget does not allow for something completely customised. You can still get something good. The cons to a template website are that themes are built to accommodate many add-ons and third parties, which slow the site down," concludes Mrs Joselyn.

The key to which you should use lies in the context of your current situation and goals. Just be sure to think things through and get quotes from multiple web design agencies.

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