When it comes to creating a website, there are pretty much two routes you can go. One is a template-based website, and the other is a custom website. However, you might be wondering what’s the difference? A website is a website, right? Sure, but there’s a lot more than goes into it. Here’s a look at the two options and how you can choose the right one for your website.
A template (or theme) is where you’re using a pre-designed website and adjusting it for your brand. The design is fully ready to go so all you’re doing is replacing key elements with your own, such as logo, fonts, color palette, imagery, and content.
Depending upon the platform you use, there may be templates built-in to choose from (like Squarespace) or you can purchase and install one from a third-party site such as Creative Market or Etsy. Some designers may even offer templates to purchase as a more affordable solution to working with them one-on-one.
In the past, I’ve offered a semi-custom design package that is a template-based site on Squarespace. I collaborate with my client to find the right template, and then I install it, edit the settings, and implement their content and branding. I also add slight touches to the design so it feels more like a custom site and less like a template.
Template-based sites are a great solution if you’re just getting started with a website and don’t have the budget to invest in a custom one yet. A custom site should be the goal, but sometimes you have to start small and work your way up. However, if done right, a template-based site may be all you need!
A custom website is one that is built completely tailored to your brand and functionality needs. This means you’ll be working with a designer who will make sure the intent behind every design decision is for the benefit of your users.
My Signature package is a custom-designed website using the platform Showit. My process involves having a lengthy discovery meeting where I learn about my client’s target audience and needs for their site. I take that information and paired with my knowledge and expertise, I transform that into a custom design. I sketch out my concepts on paper and then bring them into Sketch where I flush out the full design. Then I take that design and build it into a website on Showit’s platform.
For instance, I created a custom-designed website for my client Kim Sperry. I designed and developed every page from scratch.
Ideal for any business at any stage especially when you want to hit the ground running and put your best foot forward. It’s also the perfect way to take a current website that maybe was built using a template to the next level.
An intentionally well-designed website can be a game-changer for your business. Whether you start with a template or take the leap into a custom design, know that at the end of the day it’s about choosing the best solution to serve your audience’s needs.
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The Lovely Geek is a one-woman studio based in Sacramento, CA working with small businesses throughout the United States.