When to choose custom design vs. templates ✒️

Think of your website as a space you would furnish, decorate, and open to the public. It’s where you express your vision and create connection.

Most of the time you can do this without hiring an architect to design a completely unique layout. You could just find the right space and make it your own. Templates are an excellent option for most people I speak to. If only it were that simple.

Imagine this: You spend hours moving into a new space, only to discover it has proprietary doorknobs, outlets, light fixtures… Turns out you can only buy supplies from your landlord. You can check-in, but you can’t check out.

This describes the corporate players – companies like Wix, Elementor, and Squarespace who dominate the search results with their massive advertising budgets.

Don’t fall for it!

Whether you use a template or hire custom design the most important decision is the platform you build with. Can it grow as you do? Are you empowered to make change and have real ownership? Do you have the kind of support you want?

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🔦 Is your project clear?

We both need to be clear on the specific results that would tell us your project was successful, otherwise the project could lack focus or conclusion.

  • Visitors: Understand your audience, and what prompted them to seek out your website in the first place
  • Offers: Get clear on the solutions you offer so we can make sure visitors are clear as well.
  • Brand: Clarify the emotions and meaning behind your work so we can choose fitting colors, fonts, and other stylistic elements.
  • Features: Identify the specific features your website needs so you are clear on the best options and scope of work required for your project to succeed
  • Engagement: Plan how you’ll communicate with people who express interest, sign up for your email list, or purchase a product on your website
  • Care: Understand how you will maintain your website so we can recommend or create training for your team.

⚠️ A few tips to avoid costly mistakes

Tip #1 – Be discerning

Hiring mistakes are the most costly – both financially and in missed opportunities. We meet a lot of clients who need a complete redesign after spending tens of thousands to create a website that just didn’t work. There are many different types of web designers. Hire someone who asks the questions that uncover your vision, and how your website creates value for the people you serve. A creative project is an important commitment. Even if we aren’t a good fit we’ll point you in the right direction.

Tip # 2 – Consider maintenance costs

The structure and admin experience is just as much a part of the design as the layouts and styles. A web developer who doesn’t provide after-care has limited foresight. It’s nothing personal, they just don’t account for the maintenance cost. Your new website could be perfect right now – however it’s common to have an expensive problem that is hard to detect early on. Since Maple’s website to care plan model supports long term growth we consider the maintenance cost in everything we do.

Tip # 3 – Ask to see the process

It’s important to know what you’re getting into. Are you working with someone who mysteriously designs and builds your website, or do they have a process? At Maple we take our process seriously – always seeking to learn, improve our skills, and be ahead of the curve. We seek out and work with time-tested principles, not just tactics with short-term gains.

Custom Website

Packages & Pricing

Just starting


When you’re ready to answer your calling and give your idea the environment it needs to grow. These services handle the technical details and keep you focused on the creative work only you can do.



For active projects ready to attract and grow an audience. This is perfect for service providers, educators, and community organizations who want to use their website to attract leads and grow to the next level.



For established leaders with existing products, audiences, and revenue who need a professional touch to ready for growth. When you’re ready to invest in matching your vision with experience and thoughtful design, this bespoke experience is for you.