CMS vs Custom Website

By JJ Rosen January 17, 2023
cms vs custom website

Many people ask what the difference is between a content management system – CMS vs. custom website. The question is an important one when trying to decide between the two. In this article, we explain the differences between CMS vs custom website design and the pros and cons of each one.

Standard CMS vs Custom Website Design

Before diving into the differences between a standard CMS vs custom website design, it’s important to know that a custom website has a CMS as well, so as we explain each, you will see that we refer to a custom website as a custom CMS.

Standard CMS

A standard CMS is a website template that has a predefined interface. Customization is possible to make the website unique, but the base functionalities cannot be changed.

Pros and Cons of a Standard CMS Platform

Before choosing the best option for your business website, consider the pros and cons of a standard CMS.

The Pros of a Standard CMS

A standard CMS is great for a small business website. It has a simple structure and basic functionality.

Many people who choose a standard CMS plan to manage their own website because they it’s easy to change the colors, add images, text, etc.

The cost of a standard CMS is significantly lower when compared to a custom CMS.

The time it takes to launch websites with a standard content management system is much less than a custom build website. Since all of the functionality is already done with the template, people can get their website live in just a few weeks.

The Cons of Standard CMS

A standard CMS has many limitations. While it can be customized, many people find it can’t be personalized as much as they would like, especially when it comes to changing the layout of a website page.

A standard CMS platform isn’t good for growing businesses. It doesn’t allow for scalability.

While a standard content management system is less expensive when starting website development, it can cost more in the long run. Many people who choose a template website vs. custom website decide to redesign their site within two years to accommodate their larger business specific needs and upgrade to more modern CMSs.

Custom CMS

A custom CMS is built from scratch. Custom website developers use open-source frameworks (code libraries) to create the structure of the site as well as the design.

The Pros and Cons of a Custom CMS

Just like with standard CMS, there are pros and cons of custom content management systems.

The Pros of a Custom CMS Website

One of the pros of a custom CMS website that ends up as many people’s deciding factor is the absence of limitations. With a custom CMS website, you can have whatever you want for your site from the way it looks to what it can do for your business. There are no limits, especially with a highly skilled custom web development team building it.

Besides being able to meet your specific requirements, a custom website is set up to provide the best ROI and conversion rate. The best CMS development teams have UI / UX design experts who can help design layouts for web pages that lead users to a sale or form completion.

As business needs change, a custom website can be changed to meet them. These websites are scalable when you have a team of web developers that have a high level of custom design and development experience.

The Cons of Custom Development

Everyone would choose custom development vs standard CMS if they could, but the cons prevent it.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t choose custom website development is the price. The cost of CMS development is much more than a standard CMS because none of the work is done for the developers. The developers have to do everything. That means you have to pay for the skill, experience, knowledge and time to build the content management system.

Another roadblock to a custom CMS solution is development time. Since the website is built from nothing, it takes much more time to create the site. Depending on the size and requirements of the site, it can take up to 6 months to build a custom CMS website.

The third con of custom CMS website is it can be overwhelming for some people, especially those who want to create a large website loaded with new features, custom designs, and functions. The good news is as long as you have a good team of web developers, they can make the profess much easier.

How to Choose Standard CMS vs Custom Website

If you’re a large company that requires a website that beats out the competition and grows with the business, a custom website is the only way to go because a standard CMS won’t have the features and functionalities needed.

A standard or templated CMS is best for small local businesses that simply want to have some presence online for customers. WordPress is an easy platform to learn and use. With a templated theme, just about anyone can create and manage a website.

For those of you who don’t fit into being a large company or small local business, you may be an ecommerce business. That means you need a content management system for your products and an ecommerce website that will be able to do well in marketing efforts (i.e. search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media, etc.). Custom website development is THE best way to ensure your site will do well with ecommerce transactions AND building a large online presence. Custom CMS websites are faster, perform better, and can hold more content in a way that makes sense for users. User experience is everything to online business success, and you’ll be able to provide that much easier with custom CMS solutions.

The right choice when it comes to a templated CMS vs custom website depends on many factors. We hope we’ve identified the factors that make the most sense to you to make the decision much easier.

If you have any questions or need further help deciding between CMS or custom development, contact us by completing the form below. We would love to help you.

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