Pros and Cons: Powerful Advantages of Custom Built Websites vs. Templates

Eloise Boissevain

May 13, 2022

Let’s start with the basics. What’s the difference between a custom built website and a template?

Custom-made websites are developed from the ground up for your business (much like a bespoke tailored suit!) and typically require a highly skilled and trusted team to put it all together. 

In contrast, a template website is made with a ready-to-use, built-in theme found in most content management systems and often used with Shopify or WordPress platforms. These templates have pre-determined layouts, fonts and colours you can modify within their options (to a point!).

Why does my business need a custom-made website?

Your custom website starts with in-depth brainstorming sessions with our team here at Simplypress. The result is a well-thought-out strategic master plan that reflects your value and brand, along with solutions to any unique functionality needs you may have.

In a nutshell, it's a creative approach to figure out who your target market is, how you want to reach out to a broader audience, what your website's purpose is, and how you want to represent yourself on the internet. This means you have complete flexibility over your website and unique functionality needs - coded to suit whatever your business is into. There’s no template that will constraint your vision.

Custom-built websites are created through a series of steps that result in a user interface that is unique to the site. Furthermore, the response to user inputs (any action taken by the user) that designers can use to generate a variety of outputs. Above all, custom-built websites will provide you with your own "built-from-the-ground-up website" and deliver a far more distinctive experience for your consumers. 

Okay, this all sounds great. What’s the catch?

We personally don’t think there’s any downside to having your own custom-built website, but there are a couple of things to consider:

Firstly, while custom website designs provide you more flexibility with updates and will grow as your business grows, they generally take more time to construct and manage. 

Secondly, the initial investment is going to be higher with a custom website than a template build. However, when a website is done right - by a company that understands the science of web design - the ROI is tremendous. Many well-made websites generate six and seven figures in new revenue each year directly attributed to the website and the traffic generated by the website that the business otherwise wouldn’t have. 

The lost opportunity cost from having a cheap website and virtually no rankings is huge.


One of our clients Floss’d had a unique problem. They needed to approve their order requests prior to payment. So we put our heads together and came up with a custom integration form with Square so that all order requests become an invoice - reducing admin time from 15 minutes to 20 seconds. A win-win and something we were able to achieve with a custom-built website.

Ok, I’m nearly sold. However, how do I know if my business is better suited for a template build?

There are a number of business structures that may suit a template build, mainly start up e-commerce sites or product-based offerings. Templates are fast and easy to implement, and allow for easier customisation. 

It’s true that quality custom websites do not necessarily come cheap. The idiom “you get what you pay for” is especially true in website design. If your budget is less than $5000, for example, a template-based website is probably your best choice. Template websites save you the cost of paying highly trained professionals to do these things for you. The tradeoff is the limitations that come with them. Template sites can be clean and functional on the surface, but their quality usually ends there.

If your budget is limited, a website template might be your only choice. But the return of a custom website is well worth the investment.

For a small to medium-sized company, the initial investment required for a custom website is quite minimal. If your annual revenue is $3 million, then spending $30,000 on a custom website is only 1 percent of your annual revenue. If your annual revenue is $10 million, then spending $50,000 on a custom website is only 0.5 percent of your annual revenue. The point is, if your company does more than $3 million dollars in annual revenue, there’s really no reason not to invest in a custom website, especially considering how valuable it is to your brand’s performance. And if built well (and traffic is directed to it), there will be a significant return on investment.

Case Study #2:

We custom built a functionality solution for Gippsland Business Awards ready for their annual awards breakfast. We created an API connection to the Australian Business Register, pulling in business data automatically on nomination saving user time. We also streamlined the backend of their website to reduce admin time by a large margin. This was only possible with a bespoke website - anything template related would have been too restrictive for the scale of the solution.

Simply put, if your company can afford one, a custom website is a no-brainer. And cost should always be evaluated in context.

At Simplypress, we pride ourselves on creating and solving even the most complex website problems and functionality needs. Give us a call today to find out how we can make your website design dreams come true!