Which is better? Pre-Made Website Template Or Custom Website Design

When considering having your company’s first website built or to have your current website rebuilt, there are some considerations you need to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn more.

The Pre-Made Website Trend

There is a trend among those that work within website design in the world of WordPress. That trend is to sell a client a website that uses a pre-made template.

The process goes as follows: the web design agency sells a website, then buys a pre-made or pre-built template from an online store, and then customizes the site with their client’s colors and logos. This, in short, is not a true custom website.

There are several places where you can purchase a website template: EnvatoTheme ForestTemplateMonster, and others. The web designer or agency can purchase a license to use that theme for a specified duration. Once that license expires, you will need to renew that license or repurchase the theme.

The theme will usually have a swarm of plugins that add functionality to the website, such as a contact form plugin, shopping cart, employee/staff widgets, gallery/project widgets, and so on. Typically, once the license expires, these plugins stop working, and site functionality breaks. Sometimes this breakage could require an entire rebuild of the site. 

But the question has to be asked, is this what a client wants? What if the client is on a budget and needs a “cheap” site built?

Why is this a problem?

The problem with using a pre-made template is apparent in a couple of areas. Each will be addressed below.

The Issue With Template Licenses

As briefly mentioned above, store-bought themes come with standard licenses ranging from 3, 6, or 12 months. You buy the theme license initially, and for a specified period, you have access to updates and support. If something unexpected or bad happens, then you can get assistance.Some theme developers are good and have the support in place to help you if problems arise. Others will respond with chirping crickets—meaning you’re not getting a response. Other theme companies have a rather obvious foreign headquarters and, well, good luck communicating.When you find a theme with a responsive support team, please note that assistance and support do not mean they will solve all your issues. At times what you want may call for custom coding, at which point, the support might not be as helpful.

Again as stated above, when something breaks outside of the license, you either have to re-buy the theme or leave it broken. Sadly, if the client moved forward with this lower-costing website, then this is where website templates begin to cost more. Some agencies solve this problem by offering monthly support for the website. But isn’t this considered part of the total cost of the site? In the end, while a custom site might have more upfront cost, these issues are largely avoided.

The Stability and Security Issues

The stability and security of the site is a huge factor as well. Now granted, not many hackers are wasting time on getting into a typical WordPress website. There is simply no value. If anything, they might hack the site to scare you, mess some things up, and ask for a payment to reverse their damages.

Provided you’re not storing personal or credit card info on your website, the typical business site doesn’t hold much value to hackers. However, hacks can cost money. Imagine if your site is producing leads, a hack could throw that all into disarray. Then what? Most theme makers build custom plugins to add functionality, or they use free ones.

If the theme or plugins aren’t updated regularly, then you present a loophole to hackers.One of the highest-grossing themes of all time is the Avada theme by Theme Fusion. This theme was used heavily by a marketing company that I used to work for, and I found that there were massive updates every week. The updates are caused due to a hacker penetrating a code weakness in the theme, the theme’s custom plugins, or how the theme interacts with free plugins. This is no bueno!These types of issues are common and must be considered part of the total cost of a website. If the decision to go pre-made versus custom is a matter of cost, then the long-term costs of a pre-made template are not worth it.

Slow Site Speed

Site speed impacts SEO as I’ve stated in my lengthy treatment on SEO. But why does site speed matter?

Picture this.: You’re a salesman, and you’re trying to show off your company’s website to a potential customer, but the site simply doesn’t load fast. You wait and wait in front of the client, but nothing happens for a few seconds. You probably don’t have a happy client in front of you.

Speed issues are quite common in websites with pre-built themes. Since the theme maker wants to ensure that all website builders have a drag and drop experience, they seek to build the site with as many bells and whistles as possible. Want a gallery? Just drag and drop! Want to add your team or employees? Just drag and drop. Want to add a new section? You guessed it, just drag and drop. Well, those drag and drop features have to compile, and they do so at a snail-pace.

Furthermore, as plugins create this ease-of-use experience, the plugin code is firing and possibly interfering with other plugins. I’ve also seen it where this drag and drop functionality creates a ton of tasks that need to run, which slows down the site.

Lastly, I’ve seen where the theme or theme plugins even interfere with the WordPress core codebase. I’ve been there, done that, and I don’t want the t-shirt! Custom coded sites avoid these issues that cause sites to load slowly.

Custom website design is ALWAYS better in the long-run

So is there a place for pre-built templates? Honestly, no.

When it comes to pre-built templates, the negatives far outweigh the benefits. Pre-builts cost a lot more in the long term since you will have to keep up with the license. They are also far less customizable, trapping you into a very generic design that is not easily expandable.

Custom websites are far more flexible and long lasting. The professionalism involved in custom website creation ensures that your business will have a website that grows with you.

Auxilia Website Design

My team at Auxilia has worked on 100’s of websites, and we have seen many issues with pre-made themes. Our years of experience have proven that custom website design is in the client’s best interest and gives them a solid product that will last for 3-4 years with far fewer issues than a template.

For these reasons, Auxilia only offers custom website designs. We want to give our clients the best product for their business, even if they’re on a budget.

Call us today or drop us a line on the contact form to discuss your company’s website needs.

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