Hey there! I'm Emma - horse girl, coffee mug collector, and the founder of Homeward Creative Co.®, a boutique design studio based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My mission is to help creative solopreneurs and small business owners grow their business and attract their dream clients with heartfelt, strategic brand design.
Showit Template vs. Custom Website: Which One is Right for You?
If you know it’s time to invest in a new website, and you’re ready to experience all the great things about Showit firsthand, now it’s time to decide: Showit template vs. custom website – how do you choose?
You’ve probably heard that a custom website design is worth the investment, but with so many high-quality template options out there, how do you know if that’s the best choice for your business? Is a Showit template better than a custom website? Or vice versa?
Let me take some of the stress off you! I’m here to break down the differences between a custom Showit website vs. a premade Showit template, explain some pros and cons of each, and help you decide which option is right for your business.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission when you click the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own.
Custom Showit Website
Custom Showit websites are pretty much exactly what they sound like. If a designer is offering this service, you should get a completely custom website designed from scratch, specifically for your business. (Some designers do start with a basic layout template, so make sure to confirm that with your designer if that’s important to you).
Benefits of Custom Showit Websites
It will be tailored to your unique brand and business needs. From start to finish, a custom website is designed with you and only you in mind. Your unique business, audience, values, goals, and needs will be the sole focus of the designer as they create your site. You’ll also have the chance to discuss any specific functionality your site needs (ex. a shop, client portal, membership login, etc.).
You have complete creative freedom and flexibility. By starting with a blank canvas, you’ll have the opportunity to create a website that fully aligns with your brand style. Though Showit templates are 100% customizable, designing a site from scratch keeps your mind clear of any pre-determined layouts and styles. This gives you the freedom to think creatively and design a site that’s totally unique.
It can offer a competitive edge. With a custom website, you can be sure that no one else on the internet will have a site exactly like yours. This gives you the opportunity to stand out from others in your industry and create a unique, on-brand presence online.
Things to Consider with Custom Showit Websites
The Investment. There is a lot of thought, time, and effort that goes into designing a custom website, and the price is going to reflect that. The investment will vary from each designer depending on their demand, deliverables, and skill level, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000+ USD with a smaller design studio, and likely more with a mid-size agency or larger. If you decide to go the custom route, you’ll need to plan your budget accordingly.
The Timeline. Designing a great custom Showit website takes time. You’ll likely be dedicating about 3-4 months to the process for a 5-7 page website, and more if your site is larger. During the process, you will need to stay on top of communication, and make sure you’re able to meet all the deadlines your designer gives you. Otherwise, the timeline will be longer (and you may need to pay late fees or reschedule all-together).
You’ll also need to consider your designer’s availability. Many designers book their projects a month or more advance, so don’t expect to start on your website immediately after the contract is signed! Make sure to factor that into the timeline as well.
Showit’s platform allows you to start your website from scratch, or with a premade template. Showit website templates are 100% customizable. You can drag and drop your brand elements, swap out the colors and text, and launch as is, or you can move things around however you want – there are no limitations here!
Showit has their own built-in template shop, where you can choose from free and premium templates created by their design partners (although I do recommend investing a bit for higher quality templates). You can also purchase directly from independent template shops (I’ll share my favorites below)!
Benefits of Showit Templates
It’s beginner-friendly. Showit templates make it easy to customize and launch your website. It only takes a few clicks to swap out the photos and colors for your own, no coding required!
You can customize and launch your site very quickly. By starting with a ready-made design, it doesn’t take long to get your website up and running. It only takes a few edits to make it yours, and you’re go for launch! It may take a bit to get familiar with the Showit platform, but once you get the hang of the basics, you can get your site up and running in days, not months.
They’re a cost-effective option. While custom websites can cost thousands, Showit templates can range from around $200 to $1500 USD. For 1/8th the price of a custom site, you can have the professional-looking website of your dreams.
Things to Consider with Showit Templates
Template Quality and Support.Not all Showit templates are created equal. Anyone can create and sell templates, so naturally, some will be higher quality than others. Some templates will be strategically designed with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) principles in mind and include prompts to help you write conversion-driven copy. Others may only use filler words and be designed purely for the aesthetic. Some will also be more customization-friendly and organized on the backend than others.
You might also want to consider the amount of support a template designer provides. Some may include a tutorial video and email support with your purchase, and some may not.
Similar to Other Template Users. You can change anything in your Showit template to make it totally yours, but it’s still likely to look like a template. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, keep in mind, there may be several other brands in your industry using the same template. Some may customize their sites more than others, but there may be some similarities. All the more reason to create a unique brand identity and have fun customizing your template to make it feel like you!
Challenges with Customizing. While Showit templates are meant to be beginner-friendly and easy to use, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bit of a learning curve. The beauty of Showit is its design flexibility, but it also makes it a bit tricky if you’re not careful. Showit allows you to edit the mobile design separate from your desktop version, so some of the changes you make on the desktop design will not automatically transfer perfectly to the mobile version. You’ll need to make some tweaks to make it fit properly.
It’s a bit hard to explain without seeing it yourself, but let’s just say, if you make any big changes on the desktop side without paying attention to the mobile side, things can get real wonky real fast. It takes some practice to get used to if you decide to make some bigger changes to your template!
This is one of the reasons I love offering Web Intensives! Even though Showit templates are designed for DIY, many of my clients don’t have the time, skill, or energy to customize it the way they want. With this offer, I can customize and launch a Showit template to fit your brand style and content in just 1 week! Click here to learn more about Showit Template Customization.
My Favorite Showit Template Shops
Like I mentioned before, not all Showit templates are created equal. I highly recommend choosing one from a reputable designer to ensure the highest quality and biggest return on your investment. It may cost a bit more up front, but it’ll be worth the investment! Here are a few of my favorite Showit template shops:
Now that you know some of the pros and cons of Showit templates vs. custom websites, here are a few things you can do to help you make your decision.
Define your goals and objectives.
Do you need a beautiful website to establish your online presence quickly? A Showit template might be the best option. Are you looking to break the mold and shake things up with a website that’s made specifically for your audience? It might be time to consider investing in a custom Showit website. Think about why you really want a new website, what your website needs to do for you, and what option will help you achieve your goals the most.
Assess your budget and timeline.
Are you able to invest a good chunk of money for an incredible website? Are you willing to dedicate a few months to the process, and stay on top of deadlines to keep things on track? Then it might be time to look for custom website designers! Do you really need a new website, but you just don’t have thousands of dollars, or several weeks, to get it done? A Showit template may be the perfect fit.
Your budget shouldn’t be the only factor that sways your decision, but it’s definitely an important one to consider. You may find you want to save on a template now, and start putting aside funds for a custom site later on! That’s always a great option too.
Consider your unique requirements.
What features and functionalities does your site need to have? Will you need to embed a few simple forms? Will you be selling digital products on your site? Do you need to build out a client portal and login? Think through all the things you want to include on your site now and in the future.
Either a custom site or a Showit template works well if you’re embedding a few forms and/or selling a handful of products. Some templates even include options for shop pages! But if you need something more robust (like a client portal or a larger product shop) you’ll likely need a custom site, or use a different platform all-together (for larger product shops, I’d personally recommend Squarespace or Shopify over Showit).
Consult with professionals if needed.
If you’re still not sure which option is right for you, it’s always a great idea to get a professional opinion! Once you know you’re ready to commit to a website investment, reach out to your favorite Showit website designer. They’ll likely ask you to jump on a quick call to meet face-to-face. You’ll have a chance to ask questions, hear their thoughts, and get a feel for what their design process is like.
At the end of the day, the choice between a Showit template vs. a custom website depends on your individual circumstances. Consider the pros and cons of each option, and make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a designer to get a professional opinion.
Whatever route you choose, you’re well on your way to a beautiful new website for your brand!
Are you ready to dive deeper into your business and finally have the brand identity of your dreams?
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