Creating fully custom made websites VS pre-made templates: why and when to recommend each

March 24, 2022

Learnings we had through the experience of website building. And why we would always recommend creating fully custom made websites rather than going for pre-made templates.

Kilig Candle Co. needed help redesigning their website and changing their online store from Wix to Shopify. As they are growing and expanding their business. We said yes right away since we love challenges that involve design, storytelling and web development.

Mood board and references

Kilig Candle Co. wanted a website that’s fresh, fun and contemporary, but mature and cohesive at the same time. We look at a ton of references from different industries, to find the right mood for the brand. Here’s where we noticed a lot of similar patterns in the built of websites; causing sometimes not being able to distinguish one from the other.

The Site Map

What we did was building up a mood board for this project, using all the references we found. After approval, we dove into Figma to create a website map and design the custom look and feel for the project.

We didn’t wanted our client’s new store to get lost in a sea of look alike websites. Or to lack a good customer experience aligned to the standards of the brand. In this case it was a big no to use a template, as we wanted to customize detail in every single page.

Working with templates is good to start. But once you are growing your business, you need to keep your brand experience across channels. Sometimes the pre design websites turn more into a limitation than an actual help. Because they do not let you do as you want when showcasing your brand.

UX and UI consideration

It took about 5 weeks to take care of every detail and get it all looking exactly as we wanted. From the shape of buttons, hover actions, graphic elements aligned to the brand’s identity, to building wireframes for every page.

For those who are not familiar, wireframes are the skeleton of every website and they help you to show your client how a finalized project will look after design and coding is done.

Wireframe design

Here is where templates tend to fall short, as you can only customize most minimal things. For example: colors, images or typography (in the best cases a bunch of custom blocks). The templates already have a layout that is not fully editable, so if you need extra photos, more text or some special cool features added to certain pages, you are going to hit against the wall.

Every website build platform such as Shopify, Squarespace or Wix has an extensive library of templates you can buy and customize to almost match your brand’s identity.

How customizable each of them are will depend on how much you pay for them and you’ll always need to know how to code to get the full results you want.

We designed wireframes for every page and section of Kilig’s new website. We also had to make sure that the mobile experience would be as good as on desktop. Designing each page for mobile as well and translating the language of desktop browsing to a mobile friendly user experience.

Coding and Development

Once all of the design was done and approved, we moved into the development phase. This fully tailor made Shopify theme took about three weeks of full-time coding. But it was all worth it to see the final experienced and how smooth the flow is across every page.

When designing a website from scratch and coding everything manually, it’s normal to expect some bugs to happen. Specially when you transfer the website from the builder to the actual server. Clients should know that and you must be ready to get them fixed.

We had a couple of details to fix on our code. Some padding areas were not looking as good as we wanted. There was a bug on the shopping cart that was not loading products instantly. But we went back to coding and fixed it so that our client could make sells properly and efficiently.

The Launch!

Kilig Candle Co. new website launched on the Spring break with the double dose of launching new lines of products. Like body lotion and perfumes. The new products are showcased on new imagery created by the amazing Malumi Photography. (Featured on our blog before as she shared advice for having successful brand photoshoots). If you missed that one go read it here.

All photos by @malumi.photograpghy

So that is why we would always recommend creating fully custom made websites rather than going for pre-made templates. It is always better to make sure your brand stands out and that you offer a real customer experience. Unfortunately templates can’t alway offer that when building your website.

If you need help creating your page, contact us and we’ll be happy to create that bomb ass website your clients will love.

You´re on the right path.

Author: Fero Mercado / @feropack

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11:11 | 2022 | YOU'RE ON THE RIGHT PATH

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