Web Design Basics Design Principles Web Design Templates Are Popular, But Custom Web Design Isn't Dead

Web Design Templates Are Popular, But Custom Web Design Isn't Dead

Larry Design Principles Oct 27, 2015

Most businesses can't thrive anymore without a website. Even mom and pop shops that have been around for several decades are beginning to change with the times and adopt the use of a website to enhance their business. This is made possible because web design has never been easier, cheaper, or faster than it is right now, thanks to template-based website platforms.

Templates made for building a website are becoming the leader in the industry. They provide the tools and the design required for building a functional, attractive website for much cheaper than a custom web design. It has traditional web designers asking if custom web design is dead and if it will be replaced by templates.

The use of templates is a very efficient way to build a website. The result can even be considered comparable to many of the custom-designed websites out there. However, it can't always be considered a replacement for custom web design, simply because tailor-made design is far too complex and unique to be turned into something as simplified and all-encompassing as a template.

Both custom web design and templates have their strong points and their weaknesses. When considering the perfect design for your business website, it may be worth it to contemplate the custom route in order to adequately convey your vision. Other times, personalized web design will be a waste of money if you can achieve your purposes using an affordable web template. There are many things to consider in this particular debate.

Templates Are Generally More Efficient

Probably the biggest reason that companies choose to use templates over custom design is the sheer efficiency of using a template. It's significantly more affordable to use a template design than it is to pay a custom designer to create your website. Besides that, companies can see a quick turnaround on their website design instead of waiting for one to be built to exact specifications.

The one downside to templates that makes them seem a little less efficient is that when a company outgrows a website, it's difficult to adapt the template to the growing needs. They must begin all over again in order to make their expanding company fit into the web design.

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That being said, templates are far more versatile, efficient, and flexible now than they were a few years ago, and the adaptability will continue to improve. If your company doesn't anticipate a significant growth over the next couple of years, a template will be able to meet the needs of your website for quite awhile. Custom design is a much longer process, and sometimes it can seem endless as your designer works out all the glitches and tweaks the appearance to make it how you like.

A Template May Not Be Enough for Your Business

Templates have limited plugins and layouts, and they aren't always the right fit for businesses. When websites don't easily adapt for rapidly expanding businesses, it offers a poor user experience, which then reflects negatively on your brand.

That's where custom web design comes in. When expert designers begin building a company website, they can code the website to easily expand with a business and create a flawless user experience using all of the complex and intricate tools that make a website unique from all others. If your business gets to the point where they simply can't survive with just a template anymore, this is a great alternative.

Custom Allows Creative Displays of Your Brand

Since the use of website templates are so common, it may be difficult for companies to express their individual creativity, which in turn makes it difficult for one brand to stand out from all the others. Every aspect of a company can be integrated into the website design when it's customized, from strategies and business goals to branding and brand requirements. It also encourages creative design of your logo rather than working within a template.

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But it's not as if creativity isn't an option with templates. The versatility and new designs make it possible to deliver something unique to your brand. If you have a truly creative mind that knows the ins and outs of web design behind the creation of your template-based website, you can work around the restriction and deliver some creativity for your website.

If creating something unique out of something that's already been designed is a challenge for you, custom web design can fill in that gap, allowing you to design something from scratch. Custom design facilitates imagination simply because you have an expert designer working to deliver exactly what you want your website to look like. Companies won't be required to settle on a design that's only "close" to what they envisioned. All in all, it just depends on what will serve your purposes best.

One of the biggest downsides with creating a creative display for your website is finding a designer that can see your vision and deliver it. Many people claim to be experts in the field of design, but when put to the test, they don't deliver or they choose to do it their way instead of yours. This only slows down the process and adds to your stress and frustration. Sometimes it's best to focus on finding a template that's close to your wants rather than trying to work with a designer.

There Are Numerous Restrictions for Both

Some of the biggest concerns revolving around the use of templates include delivering a great user experience, designing a website that can drive users to action, and making your website responsive to multiple screens. Some templates are very good in one or maybe two of those areas, but it's rare to find a template that can handle all three flawlessly like custom design can.

Another major restriction of templates is SEO, which is much more limited within a web template than most companies like. Unless you find a template specifically designed to handle digital marketing and optimization, including customizable on-site SEO can be difficult within the parameters of the rigid design the template is forced to follow. Personalized design eliminates those limitations because SEO code can be written directly into the frame of the site. From there, both rankings and digital marketing can excel within the structure of the site.

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Some of the restrictions of custom design have already been mentioned, but perhaps the most glaring restriction on custom web design is the cost. Coding, developing, and designing a brand new, entirely unique website takes a very long time, and the workers behind it must be compensated for that time. Not to mention, the process will continue even after your launch as you work through glitches and test new pages. You'll always need a web developer on retainer to make updates and fix issues, and the cost can get out of hand. It's much easier to stay on top of template design that's already been tested and has built-in support to recover glitches.

Custom Design Will Never Die

Templates are an excellent solution for businesses looking to cut costs, maximize efficiencies, and grow with their website. They're becoming increasingly popular, and they do a great job for website builders with little to no experience. However, they won't always supercede custom design. Some companies will always crave the uniqueness and flexibility of custom site design, and though templates will continue to advance and develop to keep up with the industry, they are unlikely to replace the innovation of personalized web design completely.


Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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