Articles by Nina Litovsky

Are you really getting a custom website, or is it just a pricing trick?


  • A custom website has significant advantages over template websites.
  • Always make sure that you understand whether you are getting a real custom website vs. a customized template.
  • In most cases it is possible to get a real custom website for the price many agencies charge for a customized template.

When given a choice, many dentists want an actual custom website vs. a customized template. However, many web agencies who say they offer ‘custom’ web design actually sell template websites. Often, the price tag on a template can be lower, but there are significant downsides to templates that you should know about prior to making the decision to go with a template.

The Benefits of a Custom Website

Custom designs have many advantages over template websites, including:

  • Efficient and lean code which is good for website speed and SEO.
  • Easier content management. Your website is built to accommodate your specific content, which makes managing content a lot easier.
  • Originality. Your website is a one-of-a-kind creation, made specifically for you to fit your business goals and design preferences.
  • Endless customization options. A custom website can be created in any way you like.
  • Better SEO. Your web designer and SEO person have full control over all website components and full access to the code,  which makes on-page SEO easier and more effective.
  • Improved conversions. A custom site is designed around your specific marketing message. The design reflects your brand and highlights your content more effectively. All this helps people connect with your brand and your content.
  • Portability and maintenance. A custom website is more functional and easy to maintain. With a custom website designed by a professional firm, you will have great ongoing support and, if properly built, a flexible website that will be able to change with the times. The originality and flexibility of a website designed to your specific needs can potentially save time and effort over the life of your website.
  • Human touch. You are creating you website for human readers whom want to persuade to become your patients. An automated solution won’t work. You need a designer who knows how to make design appeal to human emotions and how to craft your content to answer people’s questions and meet their needs. You need someone who can create a website people can connect to.

A note about custom content. Some dentists think that a template website is fine as long as the content is custom. Yes, you can populate a template website with custom-written copy and this is better than having a template website with stock content. The benefits listed above still apply, so a custom website with custom content is still a much better solution than a template website with custom content.

Custom Website For The Price of A Template?

If a company charges a monthly fee to rent you a site, or if they charge a one-time fee that’s considered low by web design market standards (anywhere between $500 and $2,500), or both, then you are most likely getting a template website. However, some companies sell template websites that cost as much as a custom website ($3,000 – $10,000). Why would you want to get a template website if you can get a custom one within the same price range? You should know what you are getting for your money. If you want to make sure your new website isn’t a built on a cheap pre-made template, investigate the portfolio and the process of the companies you want to hire, and make sure you are very clear as to what you are getting.

Related blog post: How To Evaluate Web Design Proposals.

Signs You Aren’t Getting a Custom Website

  • You do not get design drafts (mockups) of the site before development.
  • The designer says “they can’t” change or customize something. That may be because they have to stay within a strict framework when working with templates.
  • All the websites in their portfolio look the same, they use the same layout and the same framework.
  • For a WordPress website, you can use this tool to detect if the website uses a stock template or a custom theme: What Theme Is That. If the tool tells you the name of the theme, then the website is using a stock theme.