What is the Difference Between a “Template” and a “Custom” WordPress Website?

Jason Tetrick
Last updated: Web Design 7 min read

When a business is starting a new website or updating an existing website with WordPress, one of the first decisions they are going to need to make is if they want a “template” or “custom” WordPress website.

How will you know which is right for your business? What is the difference between a custom website vs. a template website?  What are the pros and cons of each?

We will break down the differences between a template and custom WordPress website to help you make the right choice for your business.

Benefits of a Custom-Developed Website vs. A Template Website

What is a Custom WordPress Website?

A custom WordPress website is tailored to meet a business’s specific needs and goals. Unlike pre-packaged templates, it is crafted from scratch, ensuring a unique online experience. Customization covers everything from layout and colors to user interface and features, allowing businesses to stand out and convey their message effectively.

Custom websites excel in catering to unique requirements, be it advanced e-commerce, rich content, or specialized functionalities. They can scale with your business’s growth, ensuring continued relevance. Moreover, custom websites prioritize SEO, performance, and security, enabling businesses to improve search rankings, enhance user experiences, and reduce security risks.

Pros of a Custom Designed WordPress Website:

Unique to Your Business

A custom WordPress website is precisely what its name suggests: tailored to your specifications and unique to your brand.

With a custom site, you have complete creative control over every aspect of your website, from the layout and color scheme to the user interface and functionality. This uniqueness helps your business stand out in a competitive online landscape, leaving a lasting impression on visitors.

Demonstrates Professionalism

A custom site demonstrates your commitment and professionalism. It sends a clear message to your audience that you take your online presence seriously and have invested in creating a high-quality platform that aligns perfectly with your brand identity. This can instill trust and confidence in your potential customers and partners.

Optimized for SEO

Custom WordPress websites offer greater flexibility for implementing robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. You can tailor your site’s structure, content, and technical aspects to align with the latest SEO best practices.

This customization allows you to optimize meta tags, schema markup, URL structures, and content hierarchy to improve your search engine rankings and visibility. Additionally, you can adapt your site quickly to accommodate changes in SEO algorithms and trends.

Enhanced User Experience (UX)

A custom website enables you to prioritize user experience (UX) by crafting intuitive navigation, logical content organization, and seamless functionality. A well-designed user interface can lead to higher engagement, longer time spent on your site, and increased conversion rates, all of which contribute to your online success.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

Custom websites are built with scalability in mind, allowing you to expand and evolve your online presence as your business grows. You can easily integrate new features, functionalities, and pages to meet changing business needs without the limitations often associated with template themes. This future-proofing ensures that your website remains effective and relevant over time.

Tailored Content Strategy

A custom WordPress design allows you to create a content strategy tailored to your specific target audience and business goals. You can develop custom content formats, implement multimedia elements, and structure your site’s content to effectively convey your brand’s message and engage your visitors.

Exceptional Performance

Custom websites are optimized for performance, offering faster loading times, efficient code, and an overall smoother user experience. This performance optimization not only enhances user satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings.

Highly Secure

Custom WordPress websites can prioritize security by implementing tailored security measures and staying up-to-date with the latest security protocols. This reduces the risk of data breaches, malware attacks, and other security vulnerabilities that can harm your business and reputation.

Cons of a Custom Designed WordPress Website:

Investment in Quality

Custom WordPress websites often require a more significant upfront investment compared to off-the-shelf templates. However, this investment reflects a commitment to creating a unique, professional, and highly effective online presence that can set your business apart. Consider it as a strategic investment in a long-lasting and distinctive web presence.

Time for Precision

Crafting a custom WordPress website from scratch can take a bit more time than quickly applying a template. Yet, this extra time is well spent on meticulous design and development that aligns perfectly with your brand and objectives. It’s about taking the time to create a digital space that truly reflects your business’s essence.

Skilled Expertise Matters

Success with a custom WordPress website depends on the skills of your design and development team. Choosing the right agency with industry-specific experience ensures your website is optimized for your unique needs. This is an opportunity to work with experts who understand the intricacies of your business, enhancing the effectiveness of your online presence.

Ongoing TLC

Custom websites may require more maintenance and updates than off-the-shelf solutions. However, this reflects the continuous commitment to keeping your online platform at its best. Regular maintenance ensures your website remains secure, performs well, and evolves with your business.

Scope for Innovation

Custom projects provide room for innovation but can occasionally lead to scope expansion as new ideas emerge. This creative freedom allows you to explore exciting possibilities that might not be available in templates. It’s about embracing opportunities to continually improve your online presence.

Unique Features, Tailored Solutions

Custom WordPress websites may lack some pre-built features found in templates. However, this also means you have the freedom to create tailor-made solutions that precisely meet your requirements. You’re not confined by pre-packaged functionalities, enabling you to design features that align perfectly with your business goals.

Embracing a custom approach empowers businesses to create a unique and professional online presence, setting them apart from the crowd. While custom WordPress websites may require more investment, time, and expertise, these considerations reflect a commitment to excellence.

Custom-designed website offer benefits like SEO optimization, improved user experience, scalability, tailored content strategy, exceptional performance, and enhanced security, making them an excellent choice for businesses aiming to align their web presence with their brand identity and goals.

What is a Template WordPress Website?

WordPress is an amazing tool to build your website quickly and easily. Hundreds of thousands of people and businesses use it everyday. Part of the reason it is so popular is that it is so easy to use, and there are countless pre-built templates available.

A pre-built template comes with all the colors, fonts and layout in place. You just fill in the information for your business. Replace the template images with yours, update the copy and you’re good to go!

Template WordPress websites offer convenience and cost-effectiveness but come with limitations in design flexibility, differentiation, tech support, security, customization, scalability, and SEO.

While templates are practical for a quick web presence, consider your specific needs and objectives to ensure they align with your goals.

Pros of a Template WordPress Site:


One of the most significant advantages of opting for a template WordPress website is its cost-effectiveness. These themes come in various price ranges, including free options and reasonably priced premium templates. This affordability allows businesses with limited financial resources to establish an online presence without incurring high upfront costs. It’s an excellent choice for startups and small businesses looking to minimize initial expenses.

Quick Launch

Template themes are designed to streamline the website development process. They come pre-packaged with layouts, design elements, and formatting, eliminating the need for extensive design work. This convenience means you can have a functional website up and running in a relatively short period. It’s an excellent choice for businesses aiming to establish an online presence quickly, perhaps for a product launch or promotional campaign.

Ease of Use

Template websites are inherently user-friendly due to their simplified customization options. They offer a limited number of areas that need modification, making it easy for individuals with little to no web design experience to manage and update the site. This user-friendliness reduces the learning curve and allows you to focus on content and functionality rather than intricate design decisions.

Access to a Variety of Designs

Template WordPress themes come in a wide range of designs and styles, catering to different industries and aesthetics. This variety allows you to choose a template that aligns with your brand’s visual identity and messaging. With numerous options available, you can find a template that suits your business’s unique needs and appeals to your target audience.

Community Support

Template themes often have an active user community, which can be a valuable resource for troubleshooting issues, sharing best practices, and accessing additional resources. Being part of a larger user base can provide you with insights and assistance as you work on your website.

Built-In Features

Many template website come with built-in features and functionalities, such as contact forms, social media integration, and e-commerce capabilities. These features can save you time and effort by eliminating the need to find and install separate plugins or extensions.

Regular Updates

Reputable template theme providers often release updates to improve functionality, security, and performance. This ensures that your website remains up-to-date and maintains compatibility with the latest WordPress versions and web standards.

Cons of a WordPress Template Website:

Limited Design Flexibility

Template website themes come with pre-defined designs, including color schemes, fonts, and layouts. If you have specific design preferences or a unique brand identity, you may find it challenging to achieve the desired look and feel for your website. Customizing these elements can be limited, restricting your creative control.

Difficulty in Standing Out

Since template websites are readily available to anyone, there is a risk that your website may look similar to others using the same template. This can make it challenging to differentiate your brand and stand out in a crowded online marketplace.

Limited Tech Support

Template websites often offer limited technical support, especially for free or lower-cost options. While premium themes may provide better support, the level of assistance may still be insufficient to address complex issues or customization requests. Slow response times can be frustrating when you encounter problems that need immediate resolution.

Potential Security Risks

Free or inexpensive template sites may not receive regular security updates, making your website vulnerable to security breaches. Choosing a template from an unverified or unreliable source can expose your site to additional security risks. It’s crucial to ensure that the template you select comes from a reputable provider to mitigate these concerns.

Limited Customization

Template websites may lack the custom capabilities necessary to meet your business’s unique requirements. Before purchasing a template, you should thoroughly research its features and functionalities to ensure it aligns with your needs. Adding custom programming or functionalities down the road can be costly and may require significant technical expertise.

Scalability Challenges

As your business grows and evolves, you may need to add new features, functionalities, or pages to your website. Template sites can be limiting in this regard, making it challenging to scale your site to accommodate changing business needs.

Dependency on Template Provider

Your website’s performance and reliability are dependent on the template provider. If the provider discontinues support or fails to update the template to remain compatible with the latest WordPress versions, your website could encounter issues or become obsolete.

Limited SEO Customization

Template sites may not offer the level of customization required for a robust SEO strategy. Customizing critical SEO elements, such as meta tags, schema markup, and URL structures, can be restricted in template websites, potentially affecting your site’s search engine rankings.

Which WordPress Website Design Option is Right for Your Business?

Now that you understand the difference between the two types of designs, you’ll need to decide which is the right one for your business.

Not quite ready?
If you are not quite ready to invest in the future and only want to dip your toe into a web presence, then maybe go with a lower-cost pre-built design.

Ready to dive-in?
Ready to dive-in and build your business, get leads and begin generating revenue ASAP? Fill out the form below and TheeDigital will be in touch!

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Contact Us

If you want to learn more about how a custom web design can help your business, contact the professionals at TheeDigital. Our team has fresh ideas to make your company stand out. Call us today at 919-341-8901 to get started or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation.

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Tags: Web DesignWordPress

Jason Tetrick

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