Whether you're building your own website for your first Internet marketing venture, or you're an established agency with experience creating SEO success, there's a basic question that's likely going to be asked early in any website design project:
“Should we go custom?”
Especially for people new at this game, it can be tough weighing the pros and cons of website templates, versus getting a custom-made site. Do the potential benefits of custom really outweigh the sizable up-front costs, compared against simply doing a redesign later?
So, we created a quick guide with the top five pros and cons of website templates.
Five At-A-Glance Pros And Cons Of Website Templates For Your New Design
A template can be discovered, purchased, and deployed within days, if not hours. Custom websites generally take a few weeks, at least, with plenty of communication required for success.
Basic HubSpot templates can be had for as little as a few hundred dollars. High-end packages are under $2k. Given the high four- or five-figure price tag generally attached to full custom website design and rebranding efforts, that's a huge investment to justify when there's no audience yet.
Templates are simple to use. If you purchase within HubSpot's system, the purchase shows up in your account instantly if you are buying templates for landing pages, or in a few days if you are buying a 3rd party template like Simplex, and they are ready for your content to be dropped in.
The best HubSpot templates are those designed with inbound and SEO as a priority. They come ready for your inbound strategies, with well-placed areas for banners, calls to action, and mobile-ready design.
It's made for HubSpot.
You don't have to worry about conversions or whether the graphic designer is familiar with the formats to use. A HubSpot template is going to work with your HubSpot site.
You can't be too picky. What you see is what you've got. HubSpot has a few landing page templates out there and ready prepped full website templates made by third parties are around a dozen. There are probably a few dozen more good ones scattered around freelance designers' websites, if you can find them. That's not really too much choice.
You'll have to be flexible with your branding. If you have custom branding developed and need to have your website fit it perfectly then a template is probably not a great fit. Well-designed ones will have built-in flexibility to adapt to your brand, but flexibility will still be limited.
You'll be paying for support. What you see is also what you buy. Most designers will charge you extra – by the hour – if you need custom modifications or fixes. If they support it at all. Custom packages with fixed pricing might be a better option if this is an issue.
You'll be doing more work than you might expect. Custom web design isn't a fire-and-forget solution. You'll be an integral part of the process, and that eats up a lot of time, especially if you have design options on your desk and know that nothing's moving forward until you give specific feedback and send notes to your designer. Be prepared to be able to explain your vision.
There is no actual design process. If you're not a DIY kind of guy, or someone who can't tweak his own website to at least load your own content and images, then a template is probably not for you (unless you are prepared to pay for additional support).
Obviously, there's no one right answer here, so it depends on how you weigh the pros and cons of website templates. However, in general, if the purpose of your website is lead generation and you didn't have a previous website, then your new site probably does not need a custom design. If you're on the fence and you're a new brand that's just starting out, you don't need to spend the extra money upfront, unless of course you have studied the risks and estimated out how a custom website will help you generate more leads.
Custom website templates can serve a wide range of roles for a new business, while custom rebuilds are waiting in the future to max your conversions once you have an established audience.