Choosing Between a Fully Custom or Semi-Custom Web Design - Orpheus, Inc. Skip to main content

In business, you’re constantly making first impressions with prospective clients, from the business card you hand out to the outfit you wear to a meeting. But on the internet, these items are obsolete. Instead, your first impression starts with your online real estate: your website.

If you’re using a basic web design template anyone else can use, you’re not showcasing your brand’s unique flavor. So your next best options are to go with an agile semi-custom or a fully custom website design. But you’ll need to factor in the cost to see which is best for your budget.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

What Is an Agile Semi-Custom Website Design?

With an agile semi-custom website design, you select a template and have a web designer customize it to your liking. You typically browse through the available website templates a web design company offers, then choose the one that best matches what you’re looking for.

From there, the designer will propose and make tweaks to the template, then showcase it to you. You can then ask for corrections and revisions. The web developer will make the adjustments and deliver the final product to you (or host it on their server for a fee).

What makes semi-custom website designs agile is that you get to hasten your site’s development by bypassing the lengthy mockup process. You get straight to the building of your site using a pre-agreed-upon WordPress theme with its corresponding templates, tools, modules, and built-in aesthetics.

What Is a Fully Custom Website Design?

With a fully custom website design, on the other hand, you partner with a web designer to develop the entire theme and layout for your site from scratch. 

To help you along, the designer will choose a mockup based on your business and its objectives. If you like the overall theme, you can make suggestions for adjustments to make it your own. However, if it’s a complete miss, then they’ll go back to the drawing board to deliver a completely different design. Clients tend to like this iterative process of discovery so they don’t have to rack their brain for ideas. You’ll also work hand-in-hand with graphic designers, web developers and marketers to build each aspect of your site exactly as you want it.

With custom website services like these, you can have a well-rounded experience, bolstered by all the expertise you need to make the best decisions for your website design.

The Pros and Cons of Fully Custom Web Designs

Thinking a complete custom website will be a better option? Again, it comes down to your unique needs and preferences.

Fully Custom Design Advantages

The most obvious benefit of going fully custom with your website design is that you have a greater degree of control over the final look and feel. If you’re an established business with all your branding sorted out, then you might appreciate being able to precisely implement these elements into your design via a mockup process before it’s built.

Your website’s outcome will be 100% unique and tailored to your business, down to the fine details, helping to set you apart from competitors. Plus, you’ll find a full mockup process yields a greater degree of flexibility to create a website that is “off-the-wall” or unusual.

An agile semi-custom process can also be unique but comes with a shorter and less iterative design process that forgoes static mockups entirely. It also entails certain limitations of what can and can’t be implemented since certain aesthetic choices and tools get locked in at the beginning of the project. By contrast, a fully custom design is an open book wherein you and your designer can go in any direction you please and try different ideas to see what will work.

Fully Custom Design Disadvantages

What’s included in website design that’s fully customized? As you’d imagine, there’s a lot more planning that goes into designing a fully custom website. And while it may be worth it in the end, it will cost you a pretty penny. Custom websites are much more expensive than semi-custom because they involve a more in-depth process of discovery and multiple iterations on mockup designs.

You’ll work with a website designer who will interview you and seek to fully understand your organization’s identity and defog your vision for your website. Your designer will then convert your vision into beautiful mockups for what the site should look like, including exploring different layouts, fonts, color schemes and more. Finally, once you approve the mockups a web developer brings your concept to life.

This whole process requires plenty of communication between you and the teams to figure out what’s best for your business, so all of this adds up to a more significant investment of resources.

How to Choose the Best Option for Your Business

When it comes to choosing between fully custom or agile semi-custom website design for your business, it ultimately comes down to three key things:

  • Time: Are you looking to build a website quickly? Then it’s better to go with an agile design process. If you can wait several months, then a fully custom design is worth looking into.
  • Budget: How much you can devote to your website’s design will play a significant role in what you decide. It costs more when you opt for an interactive mockup process with the help of an elite graphic designer, compared to the agile process, which forgoes the need for mockups. This may push a fully custom design outside the budget of a small business or startup.
  • Customizability: Both the agile and fully custom web designs can deliver a unique result. However, the fully custom process is more open-ended since the mockups are designed from a blank canvas.

Finding a Web Design Partner

Having a well-designed business website is no longer optional in 2020 and beyond. If you want to attract prospective customers and showcase professionalism, then it’s time to work with web design experts. 

The team at Orpheus is ready to work with you to take your business website to the next level. Our experienced web design team, web developers, graphic designers and marketing strategists will work with you to build a website that’s professional and engaging. 

We can enhance the look, layout and user experience of your site to help you drive more quality traffic and leads to your business. Whether it’s working with WordPress website themes and an agile process or helping you build your site completely from scratch, we can help.

Contact us to start growing your business online today.

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