Bespoke vs template website design

By Andrew Baxter

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Opinion Web development

An online presence for your business is no longer simply invaluable and important, it has become essential. It may be the first point of contact a customer has with your company or organisation, and therefore it is important to present a professional image that is consistent with the identity of the business. This will establish immediate trust with the target audience and help build a positive relationship. 

When considering the creation of a new website, there are generally two options available to you - purchase a pre-built template or have one built bespoke for your business needs. So what are the differences between the two, and more importantly, which option is right for your business?

Template websites

A 'template' website is a generic, pre-built site and is available for anyone to purchase. The owner can choose from a set of pre-designed templates, tweak the colour palette and add logos and images. This can be done by either supplying the developer with your content to update onto the template or by using an in-built Content Management System (CMS). These pre-built websites are generally not very flexible, and the owner is limited to the parameters of the template.

Template websites are often cheap to purchase because they have already been built and they are quick to set up. However, there are many drawbacks to using a template website. Customisation is often very limited, which will make applying the consistency of your brand and identity difficult. The functionality of the layout and navigation may not be suited to the purpose of the site and can be detrimental to the overall user experience.

A common problem found with template websites is that they are built using substandard and outdated code. This has a negative effect on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as finding and indexing keywords is made more difficult. It also affects the compatibility with browsers and increases the time it takes for the page to load - this can be very frustrating for the end-user.

Bespoke websites

A 'bespoke' website is tailor-made to the specific demands of your business and is designed and built by experienced professionals. Designers and developers will spend time analysing your requirements, interpreting your brief and will work with you at every stage to create a design that is unique to you. This also allows the identity of the business to be consistent throughout the site and will ensure an overall positive user experience.

You will have total control of your online presence, from design to functionality. Bespoke websites are built using the latest W3C HTML and CSS coding standards. The developer will take time making sure the website works with different types of browsers and ensure that the design looks good across many formats, including mobile and tablet devices. A company creating a bespoke site for you should be on hand to make changes or to help you if there are any technical problems.

You can also grow and develop a bespoke website with your business so that future expansion and changes to the site can be implemented seamlessly and with as little hassle as possible.

A bespoke website can be more costly and can take longer to implement than a template website. However, with a bespoke web design company, you have access to a wealth of experience, advice and information to help you ensure that your online presence does the things you need it to. This is partly what you are investing in when you pay a bit more for a bespoke site.


Whilst template websites may be cheap and useful for creating a quick online presence for your business, in the longer term, it is worth making an investment in a bespoke website so that you do not compromise on quality, usability and a professional image. In the end, you really do get what you pay for.

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