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Template Websites Vs. Custom Design

By: Steven Monson | October 17, 2016

“How much does a website cost?”  As a web designer at EZ-NetTools, this is a question I’m asked on a regular basis.

This article will explain what goes into website costs, and provide real-world figures so you know what to expect when you’re looking to get a new website.

house-analogy

Let’s compare a website to buying a home.   Houses come in all shapes and sizes. They can be large or small, well-crafted or sloppy, custom-built or pre-manufactured.

You could build the entire house yourself, but most people don’t because it requires too much time and expertise.

Hiring a web designer is like hiring a craftsman. You’re paying for skilled labor.  You could build the entire house yourself,  but most people don’t because it requires too much time and expertise.

For now, let’s assume you’re planning to hire a professional to build your website.  At EZ-NetTools there are 3 main factors that affect price.

  1. Size & Complexity
  2. Customer Participation
  3. Custom Design or a Template

Size & Complexity

Generally speaking, larger websites cost more.  However, complexity plays an important role as well.  A sophisticated single-page website with rich-animation and lots of custom features may take more hours to create than a 30-page site with a simple layout.

Customer Participation

Frequently, customers will have us to the technical parts of a website, while perform the time-consuming but simple parts (like putting products into a catalog).

If you’re modestly technical and have the time, building part of the website yourself is a great way to save money.

Template Vs. Custom

boxing match illustration

Template vs. Custom. The battle’s on! Which one wins, is up to you!

During a consultation, one of the first things I’ll try to determine with a customer is whether they need a custom or template-based website.  Template sites can be built for as little at $300 while custom designs start at $1000.  The difference comes down to the amount of work involved.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each…

Template-Based Websites ($300+)

Templates are easy because they’re already 80% finished.  You pick one you like and add your content.   This is a great way to get something up quickly with minimal investment.

At EZ-NetTools $300-$900 is pretty common for WordPress template sites (though they can sometimes cost more).

Advantages of Templates

  • Less Expensive.  $300-$900 is pretty common.
  • Faster to Implement.  Often finished in a few days.

Disadvantages of Templates

  • Limited Customization.  WordPress Templates do have certain options and settings but you have to work within the parameters they give you.
  • Extra Bulk. Many premium templates are stuffed with features to attract buyers.  While this is sometimes nice, having lots of features you don’t need can make your site load slower and feel sluggish.
  • Looks cheaper.  While there are plenty of nice looking templates, they generally don’t look as nice a good custom design.

A Template Might be the best choice if…

  • Money is tight
  • You need something quickly
  • You found a template you like, and it does what you need.

Custom Designed Websites ($1000+)

If you have the budget, custom designs are a more premium experience.  We work with you to determine the best way to present your company, communicate your ideas, and find the right solutions based on your needs.

At EZ-NetTools $1000-$5000 is pretty common for Custom WordPress sites.

Advantages of Custom Design

  • Unlimited Customization. We can make the site any way you want.  If have an idea, or you’ve seen something you like, we can make it happen.
  • More Scalable.  A well-built custom design will grow with your company.
  • More Efficient.  Custom designs are built with just the features you need.  This often translates into a faster loading , smoother running website.
  • Better Problem Solving.  A talented web designer can help you better communicate your ideas instead of just filling in boxes.  When you combine your knowledge of your business with our knowledge communication and design, great things tend to happen.

Disadvantages of Custom Design

  • Expense.  Premium custom websites run anywhere from $2,000-$200,000.  At EZ-NetTools most custom websites cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
  • Longer To Implement.  Custom sites are built from the ground up, which takes time.  At EZ-NetTools, we work to keep turn-around times very reasonable.  From beginning to end, a typical project takes about 3-4 weeks.

A Custom Design Is Best If…

  • You want a designer to help you communicate your ideas
  • You want full control over how your site looks and functions
  • You need to impress customers, or investors.
  • You see your website as an investment
custom-or-template-choice

If you’re unsure which is best for you, consulting with a professional can be very helpful.

Closing Thoughts

There are lots of things that affect the cost of a website.   Templates will save you money, but custom designs allow for greater flexibility and control, and may ultimately pay off better in the long run.

If you’re curious what we can do for you, give us a call at 800-627-4780.

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