/ Published 30 March 2021

With a 39.7% increase in online transactions between January 2020 and 2021, it's clear companies have to increase their online presence to take advantage of this. Having a company website is one way to stay ahead of the competition.

But just having a website is not enough. You need a good website that fits your business needs. And that's where the debate of custom web design vs platform comes in. So which website is right for you? Let's find out:


Custom Web Design

Custom websites require designing and coding skills to develop. When creating custom websites, designers and developers usually start from scratch, incorporating all client needs. As a result, these websites contain more features and are unique.

For most prominent businesses, the issue of custom web design vs WordPress ends with the features. Such companies want a custom website that offers more functionality and scalability.


More direct control over elements & website structure

- Custom functionality to help business processes

- Unique to your brand; Incorporates elements and complete design

- Flexibility; you can add more features when you need them

- Custom websites can always load faster than platforms with equal capabilities

- Full control over back-end and local file system

- More control over structured data and meta data


More expensive

- It may take longer to develop depending on the features required

- Content management systems may not be available

- May require an admin

- Harder to change developers

- Must be knowledgeable in machine language and coding to develop


Platform Websites

Unlike custom websites, platform-built websites are quite easy to create and require little or no coding skills. All you need to know is how to manoeuvre and manipulate the various platforms like wordpress, to come up with outstanding website design. 

Unlike a custom website that may take up to a few months to complete, a WordPress website will only take you about two weeks or even days. Essentially, designing a WordPress website is easy. Creating and adding content is what will take more time.

Several companies offer templates that you can use to create a website. WordPress is the most popular platform. Other platform website builders include; Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, among others. 


It takes a short time to complete

- Ready to use templates

- Many plugins

- Easier to manage

- Many pointers and guidelines

- Can be scaled quickly


Lacks flexibility; you can only use available customisation options

- Platforms always have some form of technical limitation

- Hosting choice may be limited in case of Shopify and others

- Less secure due to scale of exploits

- Platform modifications are extremely expensive

- SEO optimisation mostly limited

Comparing Custom ecommerce sites vs Shopify built stores

For E-commerce businesses, the choice is between custom ecommerce and Shopify. 

Unlike WordPress, these sites are dedicated e-commerce stores meant for store owners.

What are Custom built e-commerce websites?

A custom e-commerce website needs the expertise of a website developer. In addition to that, the developer must fully understand your business so as to create a site that will match your needs. Building a custom e-commerce solution makes sense if the way you you’re your product matters but if you are looking to sell in a very traditional way then by all means it makes sense to invest in a platform.

You therefore have to provide them with the essential details about your brand for them to be able to develop a website that effectively plays its role in your business. 

Some of the crucial information needed includes; your target market, features, desired design, product type, and market strategy to help you out. For example Uber and Airbnb built their own new ways to transact. In turn, this created platforms just for very specific type of e-commerce.

Shopify, Woocommerce, Bigcommerce?

All three and others are ecommerce platforms with pre-built templates that allow shop owners to create online stores for their products. With the online store, your buyers can buy products from you from the comfort of their couches.

How they differ

Custom e-commerce websites and platforms vary in many ways, including; cost, development, and customisation.


Creating a custom-made e-commerce site will require you to purchase things like domain, web hosting, and e-commerce plugins separately to help you run your site.

On the other hand, for Shopify, you will pay for all these things under one plan.

Depending on your business size and desired features, Shopify has three plans to choose from. These plans are; Basic Shopify ($29), Shopify ($79), and Advanced Shopify ($299).


Custom e-commerce allows for customisation. You can create a store design that is unique to your brand. For Shopify, users are allowed 9 free themes and up to 64 paid themes, which are not unique to your brand.



The decision on whether to opt for a custom website or a platform one comes down to the requirements of your business plan and model. Both options are respected as long as they are selected carefully.

Also, if you have a small budget, you might find a WordPress website to be a good choice. Just make sure no to tie it into a knot with too many experiments!

However, if you require a website that provides scalability at the foundation, and is unique to your brand, a custom website is your answer.


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