If a basic website is a twin of other websites that use the same template, I’m a cousin. I’m recognizable if you know my family and might sometimes even look close enough to be a sibling, but I’m my own site, too.
Like a basic website, my creator started with a premade template. If a basic website is a prefab house, I’m one with custom siding and maybe a garage.
That means my creator started with the exact same construction as the basic site, then additions were made to produce me. What can be added and how easily it can be added depends very much on whatever template is used as my foundation.
For example, my starting template made it easy to adjust the main background and round those edges. The navigation at the top of the page, though, was set up in such a way that those adjustments alone took about as long if not longer than adjusting everything else combined.
The template was close enough to what my creator wanted—or good enough to work—that adjusting the template would be enough to get her there. If I’m done properly, the customization will be installed by first installing the root template, then adding extra code to override the items that are tweaked. This keeps the tweaks from being destroyed when the underlying template gets updated.
Even if you don’t know code, many templates have built-in customization ability, such as with the Customizer in WordPress sites. It can be tempting to find a template with the most customization options possible in your budget, which’ll let you jump in and change whatever, whenever.
Problem: It is very easy to break site accessibility or aesthetics on accident.
Do your colors work for color blind folks? Is your site legible and coherent in a way that means new visitors can easily jump in and enjoy the site content, or does it repel them unless they already know they really want the content?
This is one reason why most templates will have a limited ability to make adjustments, unless a coder makes the change.
If those potential issues don’t concern you, that’s your decision. Just be aware that it can be a problem.
This will be the moderate form of web design, setting things up via premade templates that are then adjusted. Depending on the original template and the customizations made, the end result can range from looking like a mild variant of the original theme or looking more unique.
|Do It Yourself||
Free to $500+ USD / 5–100 hours
You find templates and add-ons and install them, yourself. You then figure out how to adjust it all yourself, learning what code from a good tutorial.
How long it takes will depend very much on your web host, how computer-savvy you are, how much you already know about websites, and if you find walkthroughs that suit your specific situation. Some people also find it easier to buy books or classes.
$100–1000+ / 1–15 hours (of your time)
You hire someone else to install everything for you.
All time investment on your end will be explaining what it is you want or checking the delivered result. An experienced developer should be able to provide a structure to help you provide the information they need. How long it takes will depend on the organization and communication skills of both parties and how much testing you need or want to do.
|These estimates assume you have no or minimal content to convert, a simple site of some pages and a portfolio and blog, and more than minimal adjustments needed to the theme.|
|None of these estimates include the price for the domain name or web hosting, which can be found for about $50 per year for usual small site needs.|
Ready to start chatting about web design?
This puts everything into premade templates. No or minimal customizations.
This takes the premade templates and customizes them. Moderate customizations.
This takes your desired design and/or functions and starts there. All customizations.
Wanna to return to my “about my approach to design” spiel?