Custom Website Design vs Design Personalization – Understand the difference

Practis Blog

When it comes time to redesign your medical website, you’ll quickly discover the number of options available to you today.

If you’re like the majority of the folks in this situation, you may find that you don’t fully understand the difference between designing a custom website vs using a design template, or theme.

As a professional healthcare digital marketing agency that offers both options, we frequently hear this question and completely understand the confusion. While there is no right or wrong answer, we would like to point out the differences between the two so that you can make the right decision for your group.

Custom Website Design vs. Design Theme Personalization

Custom Website Design

The key differentiating factor with a custom design is that you have the ability to design a site that is unique to you and your brand. To achieve that, an entire design team is needed to develop a website around your specific needs.

A multi-disciplinary web design and online marketing team will work directly with clients to fully understand their business including services, target market, goals and objectives. From that discovery process, the design team will start from a clean slate and create a completely unique design that matches and supports requirements.  You may also work with an architect to determine how to best organize your content as well as translate content into an actionable experience.

Personalized Design Theme

With this option, you are selecting a theme that has already designed. While the layout of the design is usually set, clients can change colors, images and navigation. This process is known as theme personalization. The changes made are tweaks to an existing design layout that thousands of others are using. While this option costs a third of a custom design, you are constrained by what the theme will allow you to do – whether initially or in the future.

Because you are only modifying an existing look and feel, you do not need a Web Designer. Someone familiar with using WordPress can assist with theme modifications to match client specifications.

Questions to ask when you’re considering a website design update

Let’s say you’re a medical practice who designed a website a few years ago when mobile-friendly (responsive) sites were not widely available.  Maybe now you have a new logo, added new services or providers and its time to update your website to a more professional look. What should you ask yourself?

  • Does your practice require something unique to help you stand out in your market? If the answer is yes, you need a custom design. If you answered no, then a design theme may work.
  • Are you a large practice with multiple service lines or specialties? If yes, you’ll do better with a custom design.
  • Do you require custom features or interfaces? If yes, you should consider a custom design as professionals can design the right interface to improve your users experience. This is a targeted design that is specific to your requirements and is very difficult to achieve with a theme.
  • Does an existing design theme fit your needs? If you have minimum requirements and really just need visitors to call for an appointment or log-in to your patient portal, then a design theme may be all that you need. 
  • Do you need a quick turnaround? A custom design can take 2-3 months. Using a design theme only takes 3-4 weeks to create.
  • How much of a budget do you have? A reasonable budget for custom design will start at $10,000. This is because custom design work requires a team that includes a project manager, architect, designer, developer, online marketing strategist.  This team approach creates a great website but it requires an adequate budget to do so.

Practis can help. Contact us to understand what is best for your group.