Custom Website Design vs. Theme Customization

As a Showit Design Partner and SEO Specialist, I receive questions all the time about website design. There are many terms out there that confuse people; they sound like the same thing! 

I’m here to help you understand some website design terms so you know what you need for your business! Today, we’re going over custom design and theme customization. They sound very similar, but they couldn’t be more different. 

It’s important to know what you want before speaking to a website designer. Not all designers offer the same services. Understand the options out there so you can hire the right person for you! Let’s talk about the differences between custom design and theme customization so you can make better-informed business decisions.

Custom Website Design

A custom design is a website built from scratch. There’s no template to start with; it’s all up to the eye and creativity of the designer. Think of custom websites as building a template and then inputting all the branding and text. It’s certainly a fully hands-on project!

A custom website design specialist will work to understand the vision you have for your website and make it come to life. They create the page layout, input branding (fonts, colors, logos, etc.), and may write website copy for you. They will make sure everything flows nicely and is aesthetically pleasing to your audience. 

It’s great to have someone design a website for you. As someone immersed in the world of website design, they know exactly what elements you need on your website. Certain pieces of a website may be forgotten by the average business owner doing it themselves. It saves you time in editing and reviewing your new website.

This could include coding, although that’s not required to be considered a custom design. Coding allows you to customize even further. Anything is possible with coding so if you have a specific vision in mind, custom design is the way to go.

I specialize in custom Showit website design; Showit is a powerful tool that makes websites completely customizable and easy for my clients to use after I’m done designing. It’s my preferred platform because it creates beautiful, unique websites without coding! 

showit website design

Theme Customization

Theme customization starts with a template and allows you or a designer to plug in your branding. It skips the part of building the layout like custom websites require. It gives you a starting place, so you don’t have to worry about forming a layout that attracts your customers. All website hosting platforms have templates to work from that their designers have created.

With website theme customization, you can still customize the layout or a section if needed. You can add new sections or remove unneeded sections. You can choose not to use certain pages or duplicate a page and use it for something else you need. It’s nice that themes are still customizable to your business needs!

The theme doesn’t give you written text or your branding automatically. You will still need to add those elements to the template. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do so in the backend of a website. Themes only give you the layout to work from; your branding and tone of voice in the text make it uniquely yours!

Although theme customization could be DIY’d, I still recommend business owners contract this project. Website designers are experts in taking your vision and making it a reality. Sometimes when you’re immersed in your business, you overlook or overthink elements of your website. Things like mobile responsiveness, making sure buttons work correctly, and ensuring your site is set up for SEO. A website designer will get it done so you can get on with growing your business! 

website design portfolio piece - custom design

Which Option is Better? 

Well, that depends on the vision you have for your website! Business owners like custom website designs because their website is 100% unique from anyone else’s. Although templates can be modified, they are generally the same. The downside to custom websites is that they tend to be more expensive. Designers spend much more time strategizing and creating a custom website than they would be modifying a given theme. 

Theme customization is a great option for new entrepreneurs who are either DIYing their website and need a starting point or don’t have the budget to pay for a custom website. It gives you a head start above custom websites, but there’s the potential of having the same layout as another business. I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Your branding and text will still be different; it’s just the layout that’s the same. 

Both options will give you a perfectly good website! When choosing which one you want to commit to, think about your future business goals. A theme template might work for now, but what about in five or ten years when you’re established and want to stand apart from your competition? Will you end up paying for two website designs within a few year timeline? On the other hand, a custom website could suit your needs for many years to come. 

I’m not trying to sway you one way or the other, but I encourage you to think about your business’s future! A website is an investment; how will you allocate your budget?

If you have other questions about customizing your website, reach out to me! I’d be happy to give you advice and share my website design packages with you. I love creating custom websites for my clients, and I know I can create something special for you, too! 

About Âme Creatives

I’m a Showit Design Partner and SEO expert who specializes in crafting websites and branding for you: the successful female entrepreneur who is crushing business goals… but doesn’t have the branding or website to match. I’m an expert at being able to create a beautiful brand that fully represents YOU. Ready to work together? Send me a message!

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