Templates vs. Custom Websites: the Pros and Cons

At J B Cole we build advanced WordPress websites. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS), and that has a lot to do with the fact it offers developers the option to build a custom site from scratch, as well as from templates. So, what’s the difference between a custom-built site and a template, and which should you go with? Each have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a look.


Template websites

Template sites are best used for simple and/or low budget projects, as well as for projects that need to be completed particularly fast. WordPress offers a great variety of templates that we are able to bring to life and make bespoke to your project. Without an experienced and skilled developer, though, using a template can throw up some cons:

  • You run the risk of having a website that is unoriginal and looks the same as everyone else’s. This can be avoided by using a professional designer to customise your template, as we mentioned.

  • Although customisation is possible, the options for improvement with graphic design and navigation are limited.

  • With more and more users accessing websites via mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, it pays to have a website that is mobile responsive. Unfortunately, some templates aren’t responsive which could lose you customers. A skilled developer on board could ensure you get a template that works well with mobile.

  • If you’re hoping to have e-commerce or other applications on your website, the limited functionality of a template site may hold you back.

  • The multiplicity of template sites means hackers are prone to attacking them, as once they’ve cracked the code for one template, all of those sites are at risk. Plug-ins can be used to improve the security, but for this you will need a highly experienced developer who knows what they are doing as not to worsen the situation.

Custom websites

A custom website made especially to fit your brand will inevitably improve your branding. It also includes the follow advantages:

  • As we mentioned, it is essential that users can access your website from mobile devices too, and a custom site is responsive.

  • With a custom site, you or your developer can make improvements or changes at any point, whereas with a template you are limited and it could lead to an unwanted overhaul down the road.

  • With the right developer, a custom site can be greatly optimised for search engines, increasing traffic.

  • Just as templates are unable to support e-commerce for a sufficient amount of products, a custom site is required for an online store.

If you have the budget and the time, a custom site definitely offers a lot more options, flexibility, and possibility. On the other hand, if you are happy to have something simpler, or you’re on a tight budget, a template could be for you, though bare in mind that may limit what you are able to achieve with your website.

If you’re looking for a skilled team to create a website for you that will improve your branding then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact form below. We would be more than happy to chat – let’s see what can made possible.