How much does a website cost? Bespoke or template

December 6, 2018

Bespoke website or Template design.

There are two ways to develop a business website, custom design or templates. Obviously most business owners are price sensitive and the cheaper option generally prevails. Depending on the scope of the project, there may be incidents where custom design is unavoidable. Many businesses looking to get a website know what they want. They may have the whole look and design mapped out in their head which is great, that means less work for web designer. However, there are more often than not business owners who just don’t know what they want, they just want it to do certain things and that is it.

Whether it be custom design, template or even a mixture of both, there is always a choice and option to suit. So to understand why a business would go for either consider these points;

Custom Made

Bespoke or template: colours

Getting a custom made site is going to be more expensive than getting a template that is for sure. There are advantages to having a custom built web design though, they are

1. It is unique
You will have a site that doesn’t look like anyone elses.
2. SEO
You will have custom SEO and some of the templates out there just are not very SEO friendly.
3. Scope
Planning a website does not mean thinking about the here and now, what happens in the future should form part of the equation.
4. CMS
It is very possible to build something completely unique using the CMS style platforms. This means that the business website has the benefit of both custom built, easy to manage and update plus there are thousands of templates to choose from too. This option would probably meet most peoples needs as there is a happy medium between all three and the site will look unique.

Problems associated with custom design have to be taken into consideration also. Web designers often build web sites and then suddenly emigrate off to Thailand and the business owner is left with a web page and whole pile of code that they just get dumped with. The business owner should consider the following;

1. Maintenance and Management
Who is going to do the updates? For content management systems it is a breeze particularly with builder type platforms. Custom built HTML or PHP sites are not something a business owner can just pick up.
2. Cost
It takes a lot of time to code up a site. Custom built sites always run into the thousands. On the other hand, templates are cheap and there is little coding involved.


Bespoke or template: Budget

There are thousands of templates available on sites such as themeforest for all types of platforms. Templates are available for WordPress, HTML, Drupal, Joomla and on and on. There are good cases for using templates but sometimes when a site needs a significant element of functionality, templates fall down as they may not be designed for those functions. The arguments for templates are;


1. You are not alone
The template used will most likely have been used over and over again. Does this matter? Depends, it is only a template and it is the structure that counts as all the elements within the site will be different than anyone else. There are some instances though where there is a small template market for a particular industry and if that is the case then some of the sites of competitors will have the same feel.

2. Customisation
Templates should be designed by UI designers but this is not always the case. You may be able to customise it a little your own way but this would be very limited. A good web designer will be able to change the code anyway to suit but this can take more time as and can tend to break things.

3. SEO
Some as mentioned are not SEO friendly and have all kinds of issues and this is important. It is however not hard to find out what templates are good. Some of the CMS systems however we would highly advise against templates as the templates require updating constantly as the platform itself updates. If they are not compatible there is a glitch in the matrix and you get the “Panama Papers” scenario.


1. Speed
Can you have it by Friday? A custom design will take time, that is why it costs so much. A template is a great way of tacking that as the ground work is already done. It is quick and easy to put up a template and change the content so this has a huge advantage for that.

2. Cost
They are cheap and that is all compared to custom built sites. Prices range from around €10 to €50. This is good for small startups and it is not past anyone to create a site from scratch themselves.

3. Design
Some of the designs are great. Complete professional templates that make your business look good.

So, custom design or template or BOTH?

There are good arguments for either but in our opinion custom design is generally more suited to the larger corporations that can afford them and as they may possibly have more specific needs. The template is good for first time business start ups who are tight on time and money. The third option is great for start ups that want that little bit of leeway when it comes to customisation, and that is a mixture of both.

There are many builders out there hat allow you to build and customise a site via CMS systems too. A little PHP, CSS3 and HTML5 goes a long way with these. It may increase the cost a little but nowhere near what a site would cost from scratch.

Custom design can run into hundreds of hours while template built can be done in days. All depending on the size of the site of course.

€16.615 per hour (Comparison: Doctors charge €50 for average 10-15 minutes and you have to tell them what is wrong with you (30 min in waiting room also of course after scheduled appointment), how much is the life of your business worth to you?)

So in context, to put a site together, a web designer that took 5 days using a template (40 hours) to build a site would cost in the region of €664 + VAT @ 23%


The next weeks section, we will discuss what costs, in particular, Imagery.

How much does a website cost? Imagery