Digital Marketing Agency In Vancouver

Template vs. Custom Websites – What’s the Value Difference?

How much do you value the first impression?

As a marketing agency, we always get asked the difference between a template and a custom-designed website. Many people assume that, as long as the website looks pretty and gets the job done, the more efficient choice is usually the better option. But choosing between a template-based and custom-designed website is a little more complex than that!

Your website is likely to be your business’ most valuable conversion investment. When you’re choosing between an opportunity to develop a custom website vs. a template website, you’re choosing between a tradeoff in value difference. You will likely save a lot of money in website development if you opt for a template website, but you’re losing the opportunity to impress your visitors through their first impression of your business.

Here are the tradeoffs between a Template vs. a Custom website:

1. Customization

When choosing a template website, you have a choice between many “canned” templates to work with. There is a chance that you’ll find the perfect website off the bat, perfectly fitting your brand’s theme and online needs. However, there is no wriggle room for customization. If you want your brand to stand out in a certain way, parallax scrolling or other web design trends, you’re out of luck.

On the other hand, Custom websites are exactly as they sound. Our clients often come to us with a list of “cool things” they see in other websites. Parallax scrolling? Button animations? Background videos? Every aspect of the website can be individually crafted and coded to fit a client’s needs. We make it yours. There are also elements that work behind the scenes such as on-page optimization and responsive design that allow a web page to be viewed correctly on mobile platforms. You might not get all (or any!) of these elements from a template website!

2. Functionality & Scalability

Customization is but one element of the web design process. The most important part of a website is whether or not it works. By purchasing a template website, you’re throwing a dart in the dark. Some template websites use antiquated coding or buggy coding that may mess up aspects of your site now or in the future. Buggy coding is so bad that clients sometimes ask us for two quotes: one quote to “fix” buggy coding on their existing site, and one quote to completely rework their site from scratch.

Businesses often choose to use template sites as a “starting point” for their business. However, after their business begins to scale up, the site eventually becomes outdated and unusable. The difficulty with template sites is that they lack scalability, and even if they seem to perform their function magnificently for the moment, they may not keep up with your demands in the future.

When it comes to your business, always think towards the future!

3. Search Engine Optimization

Arguably the most important aspect of a custom website is its ability to rank higher on Google’s search engine. By having the right background code, proper on-page optimization and the right content, your site will likely outperform any competing template site. When you opt to download a template site, you have no control over the code that is structured behind the scenes.

This aspect of web design is arguably the most important because it directly affects your business’ performance. You may have a great product and an enticing brand, but if your website isn’t being seen then your efforts have gone down the drain!

If you rely on regular content creation to boost your site’s rankings, your effort may be in vain unless you have the proper SEO backend support. On-page optimization is in many ways just as important as regular content: Google won’t notice your site unless it explicitly tells them what its contents are!


If you value your online presence and plan to grow with your website, a custom website will serve you well now and into the future. Your site should be yours; it grows, adapts and performs in sync with your business. This is why we take pride in our ability to design beautiful custom websites for our clients.

Want to learn more? Contact our marketing agency or visit us in person! We love to discuss marketing and we always have chocolate.