Website Design: Custom or Template?
The importance of web design is very crucial, and every business needs their own site. Deciding whether to have a custom built site or use a template is often on the minds of entrepreneurs who are looking into have a new site created or refreshing their current site. There are differences between platforms, and I will be discussing the two most popular ones, Showit and Squarespace, and ready to answer those questions for you!
First, I am going to start with the Showit platform. Showit is for the business owner who is looking to be able to control every little aspect of their site - from exact placement of text and images to how the mobile will look. It is a robust platform, and offers many benefits to web design.
Custom Showit Design
Showit is the ultimate platform for a custom website. It has more benefits than using Wordpress, and having a custom design means you can literally design the entire site from scratch. You can have control over almost everything, as well as very cool effects such as drop-down galleries, rotating text, overlapping items, etc. Creating a custom site on Showit can offer a full site to match your branding as well, and it is easy to update. This is recommended for the seasoned business owner, ready to up their business strategy to market to their ideal client.
Purchasing a Showit Template
Showit has many templates that you can choose from, and is often a fraction of the cost of a custom site. Templates are great, because it allows you to navigate the back end of the site and input all of your own content, but not having to worry about structure. Colors and fonts are easily changed, so it is a great DIY solution to newer businesses or even seasoned businesses that are watching their budget.
Not ready to DIY? A few Showit designers, such as myself, offer Showit templates and design services for their templates, so you can have a full website for around $1300 - $1800. You can view template examples on my site at www.thewanderdesignshop.com.
Squarespace is a very powerful platform, that offers their own template designs that you can customize. This means taking an existing template and coding it to make it unique. I offer these services, and currently most of my client's sites are built this way.
Semi-Custom Squarespace Design
In general, Squarespace doesn't offer other template designs, but they have so many of their own it is incredibly easy to choose from! I custom code all of my client's sites, so it is a good mix of custom and semi-custom.
Also, if you have an ecommerce shop, Squarespace is the perfect platform to have a shop to sell your products. This is a great solution to have a semi-custom site built on a strong platform, but able to coordinate with your branding to attract your ideal client.
The cost can vary by designer for a custom Showit website; typically between $2000 - $4000 is the average. For a Showit template, most of these are within the $300 - $600 range, and then around another $1000 if you hire a designer to customize it with your information.
For semi-custom Squarespace design, be sure that the designer isn't just inserting your information - asking if they will be coding it to make it unique. If so, these sites generally are around $1500 - $2000 for a designer to assist with the layout, function, and to code it for you. If your designer is just putting the information in a standing Squarespace template (no coding), then these services are much less expensive. However, I would be careful if you plan on hiring a Squarespace designer - ask what they will be doing with your site before booking their services.
pros & cons
Custom Showit Site: You will have a truly unique site made for you; are it is very expensive to achieve this.
Showit Template: You can DIY your own to keep costs at a minimum; or, even if you hire a designer to customize it, it is still much less expensive than a custom site; it can take a bit longer to learn the back end of Showit vs. Squarespace.
Semi-Custom Squarespace Site: You will have unique features for your website; it does cost extra money for a professional designer to put a unique spin on it.
A pro for both platforms: SEO is built in; your site will not be hacked; and you don't have to worry about site updates. Text and photos are very easy to switch on both platforms so you can maintain the site yourself, and you won't keep having to hire a designer to make small changes.
I hope this post helps you in determining what option is best for you and your business!