Template vs Custom Web Design: Which One Should You Choose?

Headshot of Webflow trainer Tim Mudd
Tim Mudd
Calendar icon
April 21, 2023
Remote worker looks pensive while at her desk.
Select icon

One of the first decisions you'll face when building a website is whether to use a template or opt for a custom design. While both approaches have their pros and cons, the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between template and custom websites and help you decide which one is right for you.

What is template design?

Template web design involves using pre-designed templates as a starting point for your website. These templates are usually customizable, allowing you to change colors, fonts, images, and other elements to suit your brand's style. However, the exact customization options and ease of customization depends on which website builder you choose.


Template web design is popular because it is affordable and easy to use. Many website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and Webflow, offer pre-designed templates that you can use to create a website quickly.

Template web designs are particularly attractive for sole-proprietors and small businesses with limited budgets. Since you're not starting from scratch, you can save on design and development costs.

Business owners also benefit from the industry best practices incorporated into template designs. Most template designs are tailored to a specific business use-case, making it easier to go-to-market and establish the viability of your products and services.


The downside of using a template design is that you may not have as much flexibility or control over the design. Template web designs are created for specific use-cases, usually a profession or business model, and may lack the particulars of your business' sales funnel.

It's also important to note that template web designs still require work. You need to write original copy, upload images and other media, and develop other forms of content that drive business goals. You'll need to upload your logo, adjust colors, add SEO tags, and a lot more.

Many businesses that opt for template design still use freelancers or agencies because there's only so much a template design can automate for you.

What is custom design?

Custom web design involves creating a website from scratch, tailored specifically to your brand's needs and goals.


With custom web design, you have complete control over the design and functionality of your website. This approach allows you to create a unique website that stands out from the competition and drives home your competitive advantage.

If you work with an agency, they'll also help you with content and SEO in addition to providing style and layout. This synchronized approach to building your website ensures that the design complements how you like to create content.

Finally, since the site is built from scratch, you can ensure that it is scalable, meaning it can grow and adapt as your business grows and changes. A great agency will seek to understand your short-term and long-term goals, and will create opportunities rather roadblocks to further growth.


Custom web design is typically more expensive and requires more time to complete. If you have a tight timeline or limited budget, it's not recommended to push through a custom site. In the process of moving as fast as possible, you'll most likely create something bland and typical, rather than differentiated and personal.

Customizing your website will lead to greater personalization, but it's important to keep in mind that some best practices that come with a stock design may be neglected. With a high level of customization, there is an increased responsibility to maintain the quality of the work.

Make sure you work with an experienced agency or freelancer with a demonstrated history of building high performance websites.

Which is Right for Me?

Choosing between template and custom web design comes down to your specific needs and budget. If you're on a tight budget and need a website quickly, a template web design may be the best option. However, if you want a unique website that reflects your brand's personality and meets your business goals, custom web design may be the way to go.

Ultimately, if you can afford to do so, it's recommended to work with a professional who can guide you through the process and ensure that your website is successful. With the right approach, you can create a website that not only meets your needs but also helps you achieve your business objectives.

Author headshot
Tim Mudd

I specialize in crafting distinctive and outstanding user experiences with Webflow.