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Template Vs. Custom Web Design: What's The Difference?

January 8, 2015 Stephanie Fisher

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In the world of corporate website design, you'll hear talk about custom web design and template-based websites, but what does that really mean? 

Here is brief explanation, followed by some pros/cons:

Template Design

The best way to explain this is that a template-based design offers you pre-defined boxes to plop your content into. You basically find a template that most closely matches what you need and make small customizations with colors and images.

Example: WordPress offers a variety of templates to choose from, some more expensive than others. Most people will work from a template in WordPress, but you can do custom design as well.



  • It will be difficult to find a template that matches your needs exactly.
  • Can sometimes look "cookie-cutter."

Custom Web Design

In a custom designed website, every element of the website is custom designed to fit your needs. Your strategy and content come first and the design is built around it. Mojo Media Labs websites are all custom designs. We don't start with a template.



  • More expensive.
  • Takes a lot of time.
  • Can be too complicated for some marketing teams. 

The difference, as you can see, is strategic.

Which Do You Choose?

How do you know which one is right for you? Here's a quick litmus test for when to use custom or template design for your corporate website.

Template: If you're on a small budget and need a quick turn around, a template design might be your best option. Some businesses don't have complex strategic goals, and just need a website that acts like a virtual brochure. If custom design isn't a priority, go for a template.

Custom: If you have complex business needs and you're looking for marketing strategy to wrap up the website, you should invest in a robust custom designed website. Also, if you have a very complicated content structure that needs serious organization, definitely go for custom design.

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Stephanie Fisher

Stephanie Fisher

Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.

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