Custom vs. Template: Guiding your Clients in their Webflow Build

One of the key decisions your clients face is choosing between a custom build or a template. This choice is not as straightforward as it seems, with multiple factors at play. In this article, drawing from real experiences, we'll provide a deeper understanding of these options. We'll break down the pros and cons, and offer some guidance to help your clients make a well-informed decision. Let's dive in and explore.

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Matias Pitters
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As a Webflow freelance, you’ve probably built a few Webflow sites for SaaS companies, as these are the ones that obtain huge value from having their marketing site built on Webflow. And you’ve probably found yourself discussing with your client if a specific project should a be a template-based or custom build. This was me a few days ago. While I clearly know my arguments why a custom built is better from a developer point of view, I lacked the ability to present the pros and cons of one and another approach to my client.

This article serves to identify the factors that should drive the decision of choosing template-based or custom approach when discussing it with a client.

Before we dive into it, let’s define two things

  • The full power of Webflow will always be available for both scenarios. Once the site it is launched, both approaches, if done professionally, will output an equally scalable and maintainable site.
  • Be impartial, the final decision should be made by the client
While you have your preference on one approach, your job is not convince your client on your own preference. Instead, you need to present the right information so your client can make the right decision based on what it is best for them.

3 Defining Factors: Budget, Brand Differentiation and Timeline

As a CMO or CEO of an early-stage start-up, your client’s goal is to ensure that their marketing website, aligns with their overall business objectives and provide the greatest return on investment. That's why when making the decision between a template-based or custom build in Webflow, it comes down to four factors: brand identity and differentiation, budget and timeline.

  1. Brand Identity and Differentiation
    In a crowded market, brands need to stand out. A website is often the first point of contact potential customers have with a business, so it must effectively convey the clients unique value proposition. It is clear that Webflow gives endless design freedom when building a custom site. Choosing a template will make a site look as many others.
  2. Budget
    This is one of the most decisive factors in a buying process, especially on these early-stage start-ups, where a bad financial decision can have a huge impact on the viability of the company. A template-based approach can drastically bring down the price of a project, given that the heavy-lifting of the site has already been done. On the other hand, this short-term benefit could impact in the long run, where brand differentiation becomes more important and a custom build is required.
  3. Timeline
    The time it takes to launch a website can impact the market presence and revenue of a company, especially if there’s an event that is crucial to people visiting the site. A template-based build will massively cut the time to launch. But again, you’re client will face a low differentiation in the long run.

If your client’s priority is to be differentiated and bring a unique user experience to their visitors, the custom build is the way to go. On the other hand, if budget and/or timeline are a big concern, the template-based option is the winner.

The fourth factor: Scalability

This factor does not tilt the scales to one or other approach on its own, but is worth noting some details if we choose one or the other.

Scalability in template-based builds

A well-suited template, paired with a well-defined marketing growth strategy, will facilitate the seamless expansion of the website as the marketing initiatives continue to evolve. Keep in mind a clear marketing plan is key for scalability on this option. Otherwise, the template chosen could influence your next marketing move. Make sure you have a clear marketing roadmap before choosing your template, instead of the chosen template defining the site’s growth.

Scalability in custom builds

Webflow's incredible powerful and flexible CMS allows you to build custom content structures. While the vast majority of template bring widely used dynamic content structures for blogs, projects, solutions for name a few, a custom build will allow you to build more advance dynamic page systems such as ads landing pages, lead-magnet pages, events and form success page among others. These dynamic content systems often have nuances unique to a company and its industry, which are nearly impossible for a generic template to accommodate.

Pros & Cons of Template-Based builds in Webflow


  • Less initial investment
  • Reduced timeline
  • If paired with a clear marketing roadmap, easily to scale with low development effort


  • Low brand differentiation
  • Custom development needed in the long run to meet specific content requirements

Pros & Cons of Custom builds in Webflow


  • High brand differentiation
  • Unique user experience
  • Add industry-specific nuances
  • Advanced dynamic page systems


  • Bigger investment
  • Increased timeline

How to help your clients make the decision between a template-based and a custom Webflow build

  1. Understand the Client's Needs: Gather information on your client's business objectives, budget, timeline, and brand identity requirements.
  2. Present the Options: Explain the two building approaches - template-based and custom builds.
  3. Explain Factors: Discuss the key factors - brand identity and differentiation, scalability, budget, and timeline, and their implications.
  4. Outline Pros and Cons: Share the pros and cons of both template-based and custom builds in relation to the client's unique business context.
  5. Facilitate Decision-Making: Encourage the client to reflect on the information provided and assess which approach best aligns with their objectives.
  6. Provide Tailored Recommendations: Suggest the approach that seems most suitable based on the client's feedback and needs.

In conclusion, whether you opt for a custom or template-based build in Webflow largely depends on the unique needs, goals, and constraints of your client. Understanding these key factors is crucial in guiding them to make an informed decision that best aligns with their business objectives. Remember, your role as a freelancer is not to push your own preference but to present a balanced view, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches. Ultimately, the aim is to deliver a solution that's scalable, aligns with the client's brand identity, and offers optimal returns on their investment. No matter the chosen path, the power of Webflow's flexibility and robust CMS ensures you can build a website that serves their purpose, now and in the future.

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