Website Theme or Custom Build

by | Jun 6, 2015 | Web Design | 0 comments

The question of whether to use a website template or custom build is one that many people deal with when looking at building or redesigning a website. The answer honestly lies with the answer to this question: What’s your budget?

Terrible, right?

The reason that this is one of the biggest concerns is because having a website fully designed from the ground up takes a lot of time resulting in a much greater cost. Of course, the benefit of spending the money is that you are guaranteed a unique web presence. No one will have a site like yours unless they copy it – or your designer copies someone else’s site. This is a highly appealing idea that most of us desire. Why would you want something that looks like another site out there? You want to look different than your competition, right?

Custom Is Expensive

Of course, the big issue is the cost of it. This is what ends up turning a lot of businesses off. They don’t have a true understanding of what goes into designing and building a full website. Too many people have seen the “build it yourself” type of software and think that building a website is just a point and click venture. They couldn’t be more wrong and I believe this is where the sticker shock comes in when they try to get an estimate for a fully custom website.

It takes a lot of time to plan, design, build, and implement a website. Whether you’re building something around a CMS or eCommerce system or just using HTML, CSS, and PHP, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. It’s not the drag and drop operation that many have seen. Of course, with this time comes the cost. Time is money after all – and building a good site takes a lot of time.

Pre-Built Themes Are More Affordable

The other option of using a pre-built theme is a more affordable idea for the simple fact that there is less work that needs to be done and the project timeframe can be much shorter. I’m not saying that you can expect to get a great site for next to nothing using a theme, but it is considerably less expensive than paying someone to think up a new design and build it from scratch. Think about it – most of the design work is already done. The UX has already been planned and built – what’s left is to decide what needs to go where and what colors or fonts you need to change to make it your own.

Something that turns a lot of people off when talking about using a pre-built theme is the fact that others have probably purchased that theme already and the concern is that your site will end up looking like theirs. I can’t say that won’t happen for sure, but it’s unlikely if you get a decent theme and a good designer. It really depends on the control you have over the theme, but a good designer can build out a site completely unique.

“What are you calling a ‘decent’ theme?” you ask. Well to me, a good theme is one that is highly customizable. Many of the best themes available have a huge number of customizable parts which give you the ability to build a virtually unlimited number of variations of the same theme. You’d have no idea that two different sites were built with the same theme if you didn’t start researching it. Chances are that you’d end up with a unique website and you’d have spent a lot less. Less cost is good for business!

There’s No One Size Fits All

I wish I could give you some hard numbers on the difference in cost, but I can’t. Every website is different and every designer is different. All I can really say about it is that if you take the time to think about what goes into a custom build (and by custom, I mean built from the ground up), you’d see how much longer it is to do that than to just have a theme customized.

So which is for you? Should you go with a pre-designed website theme or pony up the cash for a custom build? Again, this has to go back to your budget. What are you willing or able to spend to get your business online? I’ve seen quotes for fully customized websites hit the tens of thousands. Heck, I’ve seen a theme customization break the $10k mark. It depends on what you need. The best way to look at it is, if you have the money, go for a custom build. If you’re just starting out and/or just tight on cash, go for a pre-built theme. You still need a good designer to make it yours, but you have a better shot at affording a theme than a full build. Plus, with a good designer and a good theme, you’ll end up with a great website.

What do you think? Leave some comments below to let us know. If you want some information on getting your website built, request a free quote!