Bespoke or template? A mistake at the very first stage.

You are a small or medium business owner, you need a new website. How do you avoid mistakes at the very first stage and use the budget as efficiently as possible? The question from the very beginning: use a template or order an individual design?

Before creating a website, many entrepreneurs ask themselves: what to choose? My 20 years of experience says that, with the exception of very marginal cases, it is definitely a template. Let’s try to figure out why.

First we need to agree on the terms. What is 


Bespoke or template web designIn this case, I’m talking about templates that highly professional teams have created for companies from some niche (for example, for restaurants, or for cleaning companies). Typically, such a template includes the design of a whole set of different pages and elements to display information specific to this type of company. Thus, with a professional template, you can construct the design of a website, like constructing something out of Lego.


The web design in this case is developed from scratch on the basis of the tasks facing the website and the wishes of the client.

First, a website prototype is created, its structure is thought over, functionality, then the prototype is given to the web designer for drawing.

Let have a look at pros and cons

Pros of template:

One of the indisputable advantages of the template is the predetermined price and quality – you will not expect unpleasant “surprises”. Moreover, the price is an order of magnitude (and sometimes by two orders of magnitude – and this is not a figurative expression – yes! sometimes by two orders of magnitude – 100 times!) Lower than for a unique individual design of the same quality. (this is an important clarification – of the same quality) Why? High-class designers today make templates to sell them to companies around the world SEVERAL THOUSANDS OF TIMES. Designers are average and low level will not be able to sell one of their designs so many times. (I’m afraid they won’t be able to sell it even once in case they put it on the marketplace next to the work of designers at top-notch. I think these guys are forced to tell everyone around how important it is to have a “unique” design.)

Another advantage of professional templates – as a rule, they are prepared for standard, popular content management systems – CMS (like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal), and, therefore, in compliance with the rules of layout and template automation for this platforms, which facilitates the implementation of the solution (we are certainly talking about high-quality templates).

Cons of the template:

The obvious cons one is that your web design will not be unique on the Internet. It will definitely not be unique in terms of scheme, navigation elements, structure and probably some of the photos.

Pros of Bespoke design: 

The appearance and functionality here are not just original, but also sustained in the direction necessary for the client, precisely working for the marketing goals set for the project. The website will exactly correspond to the specific features of the company, the interfaces will be made for the custom functionality of the website. So, It sounds great, if not for …

Cons of Bespoke design:

All that said in the pros… ideally! In practice, small and medium-sized businesses do not have enough budget for everything listed above to be performed at a high professional level. And immediately the supposedly bespoke web design is drawn like what the client and web designer already saw (“I like this website, I like that website, I want it to look like it”).  The very concept of “bespoke” in this case sounds strange. OK, “Bespoke” and… not ”unique”. In fact, very often that “bespoke” web design differs from a good template solution only by… low quality of illustrations and icons.

What should a small and medium-sized business choose so that the digital marketing budget is used with maximum efficiency?

Any website is a sales tool. He must perform specific functions: provide information about the company, present products or services, help the client to contact you, etc. A site on a template can perform these functions perfectly.

Moreover, an ordinary user cannot distinguish template design from a unique one. After all, the user comes to the site not to check on the template or not, but for a specific product, service and information. He doesn’t care about how the site is made.

So, my answer is a customization of the professional template. The money saved on “individual” design is more profitable to apply in creation of professional photos for your site, quality filmed and edited “Video sales letter” and Pay per click advertising on Google or Facebook, rather than to develop an “bespoke design”.

Over the years of working in digital, I have seen a huge number of websites with “bespoke design”, the development of which took valuable time at the start and a noticeable part of the marketing budget. The design of these sites was definitely unique and unbelievable bespoke and… absolutely ugly. I guess, because owners got “bespoke” web design for “cheap price”. Needless to say it scared away visitors with a good  taste and did not fulfil the tasks that were in front of him.

And finally, I always try to remember that the world’s best books… still rectangular.