Vireo offers two options when building websites: From a template, or a custom website. When we build a custom site, essentially we are building a template that you get the exclusive right to use. When we make a website from a template, we’re editing someone else’s work.
While editing another developer’s template does save some time, we will still need to help you pick a theme, choose fonts and colour schemes, edit the code to get the look we want, manage the content, and organize the project. Because we will be working with someone else’s code, we only use premium templates from vetted developers to ensure the code is of good quality.
- Reduced cost
- Someone else may have the same site as you
- Templates tend to be built “for everyone,” so have extra code you may not use, which can cause problems like slowing your site down or making it crash during updates
- The capability of the website to handle growth may be compromised
Custom site disadvantages
- Higher cost
Custom site advantages
- Having a unique website
- No “bloat” from unused code — everything built for the website will be for you to use
- More creative freedom in how the site is designed
- Complete scalability for future growth (such as an online store)
There are also some big differences in the way a custom website runs versus a website made from a template, so we found a top-selling theme on ThemeForest (called Salient), and took a peek at some of its performance measurements (which anyone has access to on any website by using the Chrome developer tools).
On a 3G connection (the kind of connection you’ll have on your cell phone), this template has:
- Long load times (the finished load time was 52 seconds for just the front page)
- Front page has a 9.4 megabyte transfer (which is large, a problem for mobile users)
- 86 dom requests (things being loaded, and that’s a lot)
With a custom website, we’re better able to control all of these factors. We aim to keep load times under 2 seconds, and we have tight performance budgets. For the most part with a template, these factors are out of our control.
When you’re making a decision about what type of website you need, sometimes that template advantage of a reduced cost is the most important factor, and that’s a business decision that’s up to you! But if you do choose to go that route, keep in mind that you likely will need to get a custom website made down the road, when you’re ready to take your business to the next level of professionalism.