Showit Templates vs. Custom Web Design: What’s The Best Choice For You?

Let’s cut to the chase. In today’s digital age, having a professional website isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity. 

Your website is like your online storefront, the first impression you give to potential clients or customers. It’s where you showcase what you do, tell your story, and connect with your audience.

As someone who’s been in the web design game for a while, I can tell you one thing for sure: a well-designed website is key to your online success. Period.

But here’s the thing—not all websites are created equal. There are tons of options out there, from premade templates to fully custom designs, and finding the right fit for you and your business can be just a tiny bit overwhelming, which is why I’m breaking down all the options so that you can feel confident in choosing the best fit for you and your business. 

DIY Showit Templates: The Budget-Friendly Option

First of all, you might be wondering, what the heck is a website template? Fair. 

A website template is like a pre-made blueprint for building your website. It gives you the basic structure and design so you can customize it to fit your brand, style, and business needs. 

What I love SO much about Showit is that you don’t need to have any coding knowledge to use their platform because it’s completely drag and drop—just swap out the placeholder content and photos with your own. Templates are a quick and easy way to get your website up and running without starting from scratch.

Okay, now that you know what a website template is, let’s dive into more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to go the DIY route… 

When it comes to DIYing your website, there are TONS of different template options to choose from, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when making your choice. 

First off, if you’re on a really tight budget, you can opt for one of Showit’s FREE options that come ready to use once you sign up for an account, but I’ll be honest, they are not the best. Yes, they will get you by if you’re in a pinch, but most of them are pretty outdated, which is why I suggest purchasing a premium Showit template created by a trusted designer (ahem, me 💁‍♀️). 

Advantages of DIYing a Showit website template:

  • Cost-effective: Going the DIY route with a Showit template is an incredibly budget-friendly option, making a template the perfect choice if you’re looking to create a professional website without breaking the bank. 
  • Creative control: You have full creative control over the design and customization of your website, allowing you to create it exactly how you envision it. 
  • Flexibility: There is no shortage of Showit template shops to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that matches your aesthetic. 
  • Learning experience: DIYing your website can also be a valuable learning experience and help you gain some new skills if you have the time and patience for it. 
  • Timeliness: DIYing your website can sometimes be quicker than waiting for a designer to create it for you, especially if you’re tech-savvy and open to learning as I mentioned above. 

Disadvantages of DIYing a Showit website template:

  • Time-consuming: Okay, I know I just mentioned above that DIYing your website can be quicker, buuuut it can also be SUPER time-consuming and end up taking much longer than you anticipated. Especially if you’re brand-spankin’ new to web design, which brings me to my next point…
  • Overwhelming: Yes, Showit is an awesome platform that is super user-friendly, but like with anything new, learning a new platform can be overwhelming and leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged. 
  • Limited expertise: Not everyone has an eye for design, and without professional design expertise, your website may not achieve the same level of polish and effectiveness as one created by a professional designer.
  • Tech challenges: DIYing a website may involve certain technical challenges and troubleshooting, particularly if you encounter issues with the Showit platform or integrating third-party tools—I will say, that Showit has a really amazing team and chat feature within the backend of the platform that can help you if you encounter any issues, buuuuut again, this can take time and it definitely requires a lot of patience. 
  • Limitations: Although you can customize just about anything within whatever Showit website template you decide to go with, your website may still lack a certain level of uniqueness if your abilities are limited. So, if you have a very specific vision for your website, you might find yourself hitting a few roadblocks along the way. 
  • Maintenance and updates: DIYing a website means you’re responsible for ongoing maintenance and updates, which will require further time, patience, and learning. Most designers offer a support period once the initial project has finished, and some have additional maintenance containers that you can take advantage of should you need further help down the road. 

A little self-check:

It’s important to do a lil gut check to see if DIY is the best option for you. I hope the chart below helps make things a bit clearer so you can make the best decision for you. 

Going the DIY Route is for you if:Going the DIY Route may not be for you if:
✅ You have a smaller budget❌ You lack patience
✅ Enjoy learning new skills, don’t get overwhelmed easily, and have a lot of patience!❌ The idea of learning something new is overwhelming
✅ Have time to invest ❌ You have complex website needs
✅ want full control over the website creation process❌ You have limited time
✅ Website needs are simple❌ You prioritize professional quality

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of DIYing your website with a Showit template, let’s move on to the pros and cons of investing in custom web design…

Custom Web Design: Tailored to Your Unique Needs

So what’s a custom website anyway? It’s exactly what you might think it is…a website that is built one hundred percent from scratch—hence the term custom. 

Most designers, including myself, include a 5-6 page custom website package that is created with you and your unique business needs in mind. The goal is to make sure you walk away with a one-of-a-kind website. 

The standard pages typically included are Home, About, Services/work with me, Portfolio, and Contact. But the beauty of having a CUSTOM website is that you can add or remove any pages so that you are getting exactly what you need and nothing that you don’t. 

Advantages of custom website design:

  • Unique and tailored to your specific design needs: Investing in custom website design is such a personal and unique experience for every business.

Working with a professional web designer allows you to share your big-picture vision and you get to watch that vision come to life! How cool is that?!

Through this collaborative experience, your designer ensures that your website authentically represents YOU and your brand so that you can show up confidently AND consistently.  

  • Special features and functions: This is such a big bonus of working with a web designer!

If you have a certain animated feature you want on your website, like a scrolling text banner, split screen, etc. they will be able to do that for you so that you aren’t spending your precious time trying to Google it.

Also, depending on what kind of third-party integrations you may need, like embedding a contact form, email opt-in, etc. they can also make sure that’s functioning properly. 

  • SEO optimization: Most web design packages come with basic SEO integration, which is SUPER DUPER important for making sure your website is optimized for search engines.  
  • Accessibility and best practices: Making sure your website is accessible to those with disabilities is really important—in fact, I have a whole section dedicated to accessibility in this blog post. A professional web designer will be able to implement accessibility and other best practices onto your website. 
  • Mobile optimization: Making sure your website is optimized for mobile is so so so important!! Let’s face it, we’re all glued to our phones, so more and more users are searching the web and using social media, so making sure your website is optimized for mobile is a non-negotiable. 
  • Brand differentiation: Investing in custom web design truly helps your brand stand out from competitors and leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Disadvantages of custom website design:

  • Higher cost: Custom web design typically involves higher upfront costs compared to using a pre-designed template or going the DIY route—sorry, but there is no way around it.

Premium services come with premium price tags. Buuut, custom design usually pays off in the long run because you are getting everything set up correctly from the jump, saving you from needing to do a re-design shortly down the road. 

  • Longer development time: Obviously, building a custom website from scratch takes more time than using a template so depending on your launch date, this is something you will need to consider when making your choice—BUT there are some designers (like me) who offer a completely custom web design build in one week! 
  • Updates and ongoing support: Custom websites may require a certain level of ongoing support and maintenance from your designer/developer depending on how complex the website is which can mean that you may have to reach out for future updates.

With all my web design projects, I do offer additional maintenance if needed, but my goal is to truly empower my clients to be able to make most updates by themselves. Also, Showit is such a user-friendly platform, that you don’t have to be super tech-savvy to make minor tweaks. 

A little self-check:

Custom Website Design is for you if:Custom Website Design may not be for you if:
✅ You want a unique and truly custom design❌ You have a limited budget.
✅ Need specific features and functions❌ Can work within the limitations of pre-made templates
✅ Have the budget to hire a professional designer❌ Need a quick turnaround time
✅ Value professional expertise❌ Don’t require highly customized features
✅ Seek to differentiate your brand❌ Prefer a more hands-off approach 

Website Template Customization: The Best of Both Worlds

Last but not least, we have website template customization. This is where DIY meets designer—the perfect marriage of affordability and expertise. Dare I say the ‘Goldilocks’ option for business owners?

Advantages of Template Customization:

  • Professional expertise: Hiring a designer brings that added level of professional expertise to the customization process, ensuring you get a high-quality designed website. 
  • Unique and tailored to your specific design needs: A web designer can customize the template to make it feel more personal to you and your brand by integrating your specific brand identity and business goals in order to create a more unique and memorable website. 
  • Save time: With a designer handling the customization process, you can save time and focus on other aspects of your business. I mean, who doesn’t want that?!
  • Special features and functions: Just like with custom web design, your designer can integrate custom features and functions into the template to give it that extra something that can enhance user experience, site performance, and add to the overall look and feel of your website. 
  • Accessibility and best practices: Just like with custom web design, your designer will be able to implement all of the accessibility best practices into your template. 
  • Mobile optimization: Most templates are already optimized for mobile, but working with a design to customize it for you will ensure that it stays that way. 
  • Brand differentiation: Hiring a designer to customize your template will ensure that it isn’t cookie cutter to someone else’s brand with the same template. 
  • Ongoing support: Again, many designers offer ongoing support and maintenance packages to help you troubleshoot any issues and keep your website up-to-date beyond the initial project. 

Disadvantages of Template Customization:

  • Higher cost: It’s not quite as pricey as a custom design, but not gonna lie to ya, hiring a designer to customize your Showit template is going to be more expensive than DIYing it yourself. 
  • Potential for a longer turnaround time: I offer a one-week intensive for all of my template customization projects, but other designers may require a longer timeline, so this is something to consider when making a choice that best for you. 
  • Dependency on the designer: You may become dependent on the designer for ongoing updates and maintenance, leading to additional costs and potential delays.
  • Communication challenges: Miscommunication or differences in vision between you and the designer can lead to delays or dissatisfaction with the final result.
  • Limited control: While hiring a designer offers expertise, it may also mean relinquishing some control over the customization process, as the designer interprets your needs and preferences.

A little self-check:

Template Customization is for you if:Template Customization may not be for you if:
✅ You want a professionally customized design❌ Have a limited budget
✅ Need additional features and integrations implemented that are beyond your knowledge❌ Can work within the limitations of pre-made templates without customization
✅ Have the budget for professional services (typically a much smaller investment than custom design)❌ Need a quick turnaround time
✅ Value the personal and professional touch of working with a designer ❌ Don’t require highly customized features beyond what the template offers
✅ Seek a unique and polished website❌ Prefer a more hands-off approach to website development

With all of the ways to design a website for your business, my hope is that this breakdown made it easier for you to understand all of the different options you have, so you’re able to confidently choose which one is best for you! Whether you’re looking to DIY, invest in custom, or something in between I hope that this post has brought you some clarity. 

And if you’re like, Lorin I’m still overwhelmed and NEED your help, you know I’ve got you! Through my services, I offer both custom web design and template customization so you can finally have the website that you’ve always dreamed of. But if DIYing is more your style or currently fits your budget best, be sure to check out my Showit template shop.


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