Are you the next seven-figure business owner who started with a templated website? I believe it! So many entrepreneurs are using website templates to increase their profits and take their business to all new heights.
When you make a decision to invest in a template rather than building a custom site, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of them is determining whether you will DIY your website or hire a website designer to help with customizations.
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Instead, it’s about choosing what route is best for your business—not only where it is now but where you’re going in the future.
The pros and cons of customizing your own website template
Let’s cover some of the benefits and drawbacks of customizing your own website template, no matter if it’s a free or paid template.
As you go through this list, take a mental note of any questions you’re still mulling over and any answers that resonate with you.
I’m confident this article will help you confidently choose the right path when it comes to building your templated website. Let’s begin!
Pro: Templates save on budget
If you’re budget-conscious at this stage of your business, it might make sense to DIY your website. It can cost thousands of dollars to hire a designer to customize a website template, and it’s even more expensive to buy a custom site.
One of the biggest pros of customizing your own template is cost savings. While you’ll still need to pay website platform fees—including hosting, domain name registration, security, and other costs—you’ll save on large one-time project costs or monthly maintenance subscriptions.
Depending on the template you choose, you may need to pay an additional cost to buy the template. These can cost anywhere from $200-300 on the low end and thousands on the high end.
It’s best to determine an all-in budget for your website before you purchase anything. The costs can quickly add up, so if you don’t want to break the bank, be sure to lay out all of costs involved so you know what to expect.
Con: You’ll lose time designing your site
Very few entrepreneurs are able to jump into a new website platform and get up and running as quickly as a website designer could. While a website designer may need you to wait a few weeks to get started, it could take far longer for you to learn a new platform.
It may seem like you’re saving time because you’re DIYing the website in your spare time, but it could end up costing you more time than you bargained for.
If you’re a service provider who sells your time and talents, spending your time learning how to design your own website could take you away from work. The more you’re taken away from client work, the less income you’ll be able to learn. So, in this way, it might not be beneficial to DIY your website.
Do you consider yourself to be a person who is good at using technology? Do you catch on to things quickly? Are you willing to dive in headfirst to learn or would you rather save up to work with a professional?
All of these questions are good to ask yourself before you begin the designing process. I find that many entrepreneurs think they’re up to the challenge but later on hire a website designer after countless hours of experimenting on their own.
This why I recommend giving yourself a set timeline to create your website. If you aren’t able to DIY your website in two weeks, for example, and feel frustrated with your progress, then you may want to explore other options.
Pro: You’ll learn how to update your site
Ask yourself how hands-on you’d like to be with your website. If you plan to make frequent updates to your website, it might be beneficial for you to DIY your site. That way, you know exactly how to make any future changes.
While you could hire a virtual assistant or website designer to help with periodic changes to your website, some entrepreneurs decide to go the DIY route. Again, remember how valuable your time is right now and if it’s worth spending your time on these updates.
Some small business owners don’t mind digging into the back-end of their website and making adjustments while others feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. If you’re scrappy and are excited to learn a new skill, customizing your template might be a good fit.
When going the DIY route, be sure to sign up for a free trial before you commit to customizing your own template. That way, you can play around with the website platform and ensure it’s a natural fit for you. You can also look up video tutorials and blog articles to help you along the way.
Con: You may not get the level of support you need
Do you wish you had a sounding board in the process of building your website? A designer is not only there to make your website look beautiful; they’re also there to guide you through the whole process.
The best designers are those who partner with you to create a foolproof website strategy and know exactly how to execute it on your site. If you need more of this support, you may want to look into hiring a website designer.
When you DIY, you may have access to your website platform’s support team, but they will only help you with minor issues like connecting your domain. For strategic and specific questions, you’ll need a designer.
Keep in mind that some templates come with instructions that will help you install and customize the template, but there may be more that you need help with. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a website designer if you feel like you’re lacking the right support.
Pro: You can make any edits you want
When you’re working with a template, you may have a list of edits you want to make to your own website. If you decide to DIY your website, you can make all of the edits yourself. However, some adjustments may require coding or additional support.
While you will have creative control over your website, DIYing could lead you down a path of not knowing how to make the changes you really want to make. If this happens, you may want to call for reinforcements and work with a website designer on finalizing the customizations.
Some designers offer hourly rates and packages where they can help with the finishing touches and answer questions, even if you don’t outsource your entire website.
Also, remember that you’re creating a website from a pre-built template, meaning most of the design elements, content sections, and page layouts are already designed for you. You can keep your website relatively simple if you’re following a website template, depending on how audacious your goals are but it may take more time and effort if you start changing up your template too much.
In short, if you like to have complete creative control over your website, DIYing it may be a good fit. If you feel you need to partner with a designer to get your website to a place where it matches your vision, then you’ll want to outsource the customizations.
Con: You may feel boxed into your template
Even though you’re building from a template, you want your website to stand out from other competitors—and other entrepreneurs who may be using the same template. With a designer’s eye, this can be extremely easy to pull off.
However, if you are DIYing your template, you may be tempted to keep most of the template elements the same. While that’s certainly a way to save on time and energy, it may not produce the results you envisioned.
It’s easy to feel boxed into your template if you don’t have the skills or the desire to learn how to make more adjustments. If customizing your template feels too complex or you aren’t happy with how it’s turning out, it’s time to hire a designer.
A designer will take the time to understand your unique vision and ensure it can be executed using a specific website template. They have years of experience of doing the same for other clients, so even if it’s your first website, it won’t look like it when you work with a designer.
The final verdict on website template customization
After much deliberation, it’s easy to see that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether you should DIY your templated website or hire a designer.
Each option comes with its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to build a sense of awareness that leads you to the right solution. Using the prompts above, I have no doubt you’ll find the path that’s meant for you.
If you’re looking to work with a website designer in customizing your website template, I’d love to be your creative and strategic partner!
Let’s start by scheduling a 1:1 call so I can learn more about your vision before deciding on the best template for your business. I can’t wait!