Are you looking to redesign or upgrade your current website? or maybe you’re wanting to take your new business venture online and looking for the best way to achieve it. Read on…
There are tons of options out there when you’re starting a website, and it must get confusing – especially if you’re not up to speed on the latest tech. Luckily this is our forte! The main question most of you will come across when exploring the world of website design and development, is Custom Built vs Themed Website: What’s the Difference? In this article, we’ll be looking at the main differences, pro’s and con’s, with some advice thrown into the mix.
A Themed or Custom Built Website
The main difference is that your site is created using a pre-designed website template. This has obvious advantages as you can choose an existing template for an affordable price. Themed websites are a great cost-effective option if your business needs a basic WordPress website. The code and overall layout for the website are already in place, and it’s ready for customising to your brand identity.
Points to Consider
The functionality of the website is provided within the actual theme, this is then customised to create a look and feel that matches your brand. Therefore it’s important that the theme you choose matches the functionality and general layout of what you want to achieve. Websites requiring a ton of customised features might be better served with a fully custom-coded site.
Advantages of a themed website
They are quicker to build, meaning that they may be the more affordable option as the cost of the actual development tends to be lower. WordPress Themed Websites cost between £300-£600 depending on the price of the theme itself, and if web hosting is included or not. Ask your web designer if you’re not sure.
Disadvantages of a themed website
The amount of customisation you can do with template-based sites is limited. You won’t be able to achieve a unique look or functionality and, because templates are accessible to the public, there is a high possibility that 1000s of other websites use the same template.
The template will only allow you to adjust certain settings; meaning you won’t have full control over the way the website works. Website maintenance and optimisation could be a problem too, as more often than not the template is bloated with extra code and features you don’t really need, which won’t score good marks with Google, especially with the new Core Vitals update!
Some templates have functionality issues when it comes to viewing the website on certain devices and, in some cases, templates are not always optimised for search engines.
The final layout of your website won’t have a unique touch as other websites might also be using the same template as you. The customisation feature in built-in templates is very limited and attempting to reformat the code could end up making your website slower and weighing it down.
When is it good to choose the template option?
Template-based websites are generally easier and quicker to build, making them an affordable option. This is best suited for companies wanting a ‘brochure’ website which serves as an introduction of the company to potential clients and provides basic information about the company itself, i.e. products or services and contact information.
This option is also suitable when the website is not going to be the main lead or cash generator for your business. Pre-built websites are an ideal and affordable option for start-up businesses.
Sites requiring a ton of customised features might be better served with a fully custom-coded website.
Custom Build/Bespoke Websites
What is a bespoke custom build website?
Bespoke websites are built with your business goals in mind. The website wireframe and pages are designed, then the unique pages are coded using the latest HTML5, CSS3, and php. The developers code the site from the bottom up, creating a unique design and experience. The options of your website’s appearance and how users can interact with it are unlimited.
This knowledge is crucial to ensure that your site will perform and help you to achieve your goals, whether it’s generating leads, inquiries, or purchases. Recommendations based on the best experience for users will then mainly affect decisions on your site’s navigation, structure and hierarchy, interactivity and call-to-action points such as buttons, forms, and so on.
Disadvantages of a custom-built vs themed website
Bespoke, custom-built websites are more expensive and take longer to create than WordPress-themed websites. The price difference comes down to the time invested in the design and development of the structure of the website. An example 5 page custom-built website and blog should cost between £700-£1500+ depending on lots of things including what functions are required, how much custom code is needed, and if web hosting is included or not.
Benefits of a bespoke site
Custom-built websites are completed by a web design specialist, they build the exact website you want, including the specific design and integrated features. Bespoke builds are great if your business needs a website with advanced functionality and lots of custom code.
The key benefit of a bespoke website is that it can grow and develop with your business. This means that future expansion and changes to the site can be implemented seamlessly and with as little hassle as possible.
A bespoke site gives you the freedom to develop and create a digital presence without limitations. Custom coding ensures that you have full control over how your site performs on other devices, such as mobile phones and also search engines like Google.
Full technical support and maintenance are available as the web developers will have control over every function of the site.
When to Choose a Custom Built Website
A bespoke website is a good choice when you’re looking for a unique look to highlight your brand, niche product, or service or to stand out of your competition.
The close control over the build makes this option ideal for more advanced functions such as e-commerce or interactive elements.
If you are aiming for improvements of your performance in UX (User Experience), usability, or website optimisation fields, we would also highly recommend a bespoke built, as this can ensure that the best practices from those disciplines will be applied to your site design.
Talk to Your Web Design Agency
A good web design agency will always look at your business and its goals and create a website to match, ensuring you are not paying for something you don’t need. Visit our Website Design & Development page for more information. If you are interested in discussing your options, get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.