Custom vs. Template Website Design

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Laptop on table with open website.

Template Designs

Depending on your needs, goals, and restrictions for your website redesign project, a template might be the perfect solution for you.

Some benefits of using a website template include:

  • Reduced project timeline & budget-the design is already done so you save time and fees in the design phase (view our news post on budgets for a municipal website). 
  • Reliable design-your design will have been used by other municipalities or organizations so you have peace of mind knowing it has been well received by other users
  • Fewer bugs-majority of the bugs will have already been addressed from past projects
  • Incorporate your own branding-the template will be customized to your branding (logos, fonts, and colours)
  • Optional customizations-if desired, you can make customizations to your template to ensure it meets your unique needs (e.g., new content types, layouts, etc.). View our case study for the West Shore Parks and Recreaton Society project for more information about template projects

Other considerations of a template approach:

  • Not unique to your organization-other municipalities or organizations will have the same design. For example, see the image below with the FortisON and Town of Golden websites that use the same template. 
  • You will not own the website design-the website design will be owned by Upanup but you still get the keys to your site
FortisON and Town of Golden website screenshots of the same template.

Custom Designs

When we create a custom website design our experienced designers listen to the client's goals and their users' needs to create unique designs that feature different approaches. Our clients can then consider each design and its various unique elements before selecting one.

A custom website design has many benefits:

  • Reflect on your processes-this approach forces you to think about your business or organization and the process of delivering value to your users
  • One of a kind design-your design will be unique to your brand, no one else will have the same design and you will own the design
  • Incorporate branding throughout-your branding can be built into different aspects of your website
  • Incorporate user experience (UX) testing-you will have the opportunity to conduct testing with shareholders or the public and incorporate the results/feedback into the website design
  • Tailored to your target audience-every aspect of the website will be built with your target audience in mind

Other considerations:

  • Requires a longer design phase timeline-there are more in-depth steps required which will require a longer timeline
  • Often requires a higher fee than a template-the additional time required and involvement of our team members will result in a higher fee.

A Note About Content

There are many considerations for content regardless of which design approach you select. These considerations include content migration, editing, strategy, sitemapping, and much more. We understand how important the content of a website is and for every project our clients can expect the following: 

  • Work closely with our content team-our team of content strategists will be available throughout the project for strategy meetings, presentations, etc.
  • Collaborative work on sitemap and IA-your feedback will be incorporated throughout the project as the website can be anything you want it to be

If you would like to further discuss some options and learn more about our templates, custom designs, CiviKit offering, etc. contact our team today. If you aren't sure if you need a new website view our news post about signs it might be time for a website redesign