What’s the difference between a fully custom and a semi-custom website?

Written By Madison Compton
March 21, 2024
website on a desktop, tablet and phone

Your website is your online storefront, your digital portfolio, and sometimes even your entire business. So, when it comes to building it, you want to make sure you choose the right approach. But when it comes to website design, you have two distinct options you may have heard of, fully custom and semi-custom. Both have their pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your unique goals and budget. Let’s dive in and see which is right for you!

Fully Custom: The Bespoke Experience

Imagine a website tailor-made for your brand, reflecting your vision in every page, section, image, and word, like a house you design and build from the ground up. That’s the beauty of a fully custom website.


  • Ultimate flexibility and control: You have complete freedom in design, functionality, and features. Think custom animations, unique integrations, and an interface that perfectly aligns with your brand identity.
  • Scalability and future-proofing: You can build a website that grows with your business, adding features and functionalities as needed.
  • Uniqueness: Stand out from the crowd with a one-of-a-kind website that leaves a lasting impression. You won’t have the same website as your competitor down the street.


  • Higher cost: This level of customization requires significant time and expertise, translating to a higher price tag.
  • Longer development time: Building from scratch takes longer than adapting pre-existing templates. Depending on our pipeline and the client communication and feedback, we give a general ballpark of 8-12 weeks for a fully customized website.
  • More maintenance: Keeping a complex website up-to-date might require specialized technical knowledge and a more robust hosting plan.

Semi-Custom: The Ready-to-Wear Option

Think of a semi-custom website as a house plan that you choose with limited ability to customize to your liking. Semi-custom websites have all of the pages and sections in place, with options to add in your own logo, photos, colors, and copy (with additional custom edits usually costing extra). 


  • Cost-effective: More affordable than fully custom, using pre-built templates and themes saves development time and resources.
  • Faster turnaround: Get your website launched quicker with existing design elements that can be adapted to your brand. When we build semi-custom websites, the time varies but we can typically turn it around between 4-8 weeks.
  • User-friendly platforms: Many website builders offer drag-and-drop functionality, making updates and edits easier.


  • Limited customization: While you can personalize the template, you might not achieve the same level of uniqueness as a fully custom website.
  • Potentially generic feel: If not carefully chosen and customized, your website might resemble others using the same template.
  • Feature limitations: You may be restricted by the capabilities of the chosen platform and its functionalities.

So, Which One's Right for Your Business?

  • Go fully custom if: You have a unique vision, require specific features, and have the budget for a long-term investment.
  • Choose semi-custom if: You want a professional website launched quickly, have a smaller budget, and prioritize ease of use over complete customization.


Ultimately, the best website is the one that meets your specific needs and goals. Consider your budget, timeframe, level of desired customization, and technical expertise before making your decision. Remember, your website is your online storefront – choose wisely! 

We see the benefit to both and are happy to recommend and offer both types of websites. Questions? We’re just an email or text away!

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