I'm Kristin Richards

What's up Girlfriend!

Owner of In Flow Design Co. We help brave women combine design and marketing to build meaningful brands online, so they can make an incredible living doing what they love.




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Choosing Between a Template vs Custom Website

There are so many options out there when it comes to creating the website for your business. You’ve got to decide between website platforms – then from there decide if you want to DIY the process or hire help. Then even when you DO hire help – do you still utilize some sort of template or have a custom website created?

These are the questions I want to walk you guys through today so you can make the best decision for you and your business. This applies for if you’re creating a brand new business AND if you have an existing business and website but you know you need a makeover and you’re ready to up-level your look online.

Before we get into that I’m going to quickly share my journey with Girlboss Designer’s websites, and why we’ve been introducing our ShowIt templates. When I first launched Girlboss Designer I was starting with a WordPress template I found online, and building on top of it. A lot of designers work this way – because it saves a lot of time. But I found most templates weren’t set up the way I really wanted. The homepage might have been structured to be visually appealing, but it wasn’t bringing someone through the messaging how I wanted and the way I knew it should be done. Or the design had WAY too many options, sending the visitor in a million directions – when I knew it was important to keep them focused on the main call to action. I also found I wanted to further customize the template header/footer areas in more depth – and so it became more of a hassle to turn the template into what I wanted vs. starting from scratch and doing it right from the beginning.

Enter the fully custom website phase of Girlboss Designer.

When I learned I could create a custom website using my page builder Elementor, without having to code everything out, I was sold. My background is art not design after all – not coding. And so for a long time I was doing custom website for my clients and it was great! It was really fun to creating things exactly how I wanted. But looking back I was 100% NOT charging a custom website price. I should have been charging 3x what I was back then, now that I know better. It’s normal for us to undervalue our work in the early stages!

Then I started to notice my new clients were basically wanting each other’s websites. Obviously the branding, content and photos would not be the same, but they were wanting the same overall design and layout as others they’d seen. So I realized, why are we starting over every time here?  I knew creating my own templates was the way to go, I could have the benefit of not 100% starting from scratch, but it was my design and setup the way I knew was best. I just needed to find the right way to go about this.

Very long story short – I decided to introduce ShowIt as another website platform option I offered my clients, and ShowIt is what I chose to create our templates on. ShowIt makes it SO easy to share template designs with others – plus there are many other benefits of the platform I love such a zero maintenance from the client post-launch, access to their support team chat, zero coding needed, extremely flexible with design, and it still works hand in hand with the WordPress blog. Win wins! With every single platform there are pluses and minuses of course, but overall I knew this was the best fit for this next phase.

So enter the new template phase for Girlboss Designer, and what a difference it has made.

So let’s get into the conversation of template vs. custom route.


If you plan to DIY your own website – the template route is 100% the one for you.

DIY is of course the most affordable option for creating a website – but there are some big factors you need to consider. #1 the time you have available to work on this (because as a non-designer it WILL take you time to figure it all out) and then #2 your tech ability level. Everyone has a different experience with tech and learning new programs. If you’re someone who naturally catches on easily and is pretty tech savvy, it could be a good fit to get you up and running at a lower price! If tech is not your friend- this will most likely become a big pain in your ass.

It gives you a design and layout direction to work with – whether you DIY it or hire help to customize it for you.

I found some of my custom websites clients were kind of lost with writing their copy and knowing what they liked. When you’re choosing a template you’re able to have a vision of what your future website could look like. If you’re using a template that has all of its pages fully designed (like ours!) you can even structure your copy to fit within that layout. This can be really helpful if you’re a new business and writing your copy is overwhelming.

Using a template does not mean you have to DIY!

If you’re able to hire help with creating our website – DO IT. It’s a huge weight off your shoulders, way less time on your side and less stress. And you can know it’s been done right – while you can focus on what you do best. But hiring someone to create a website for you doesn’t have to mean a fully custom website.

We handle everything for you – importing the template, fully customizing it with your colors, fonts, logo, images and writing. Plus make sure everything is looking great on mobile view, get your blog section setup, connect your email marketing platform so your opt-ins function, the list goes on! At Girlboss Designer, we offer 2 levels to our template makeover service.

Level 1 is if the client loves the template and the layout works with their needs. We leave the layout pretty much as-is (with some slight tweaks here or there) but still fully handle the setup and customization for the client. This option is ideal if simply you just want the template as-is, or if you want to hire someone to do your website for you but still want a more affordable option.

Level 2 is awesome because it’s a fun mix between template and custom. We choose a template to start with – but we take the customization process up a notch to create something more unique to you. In this option we’re able to transform page layouts to fit your needs and message, vs staying within the original template layout.

Honestly… I feel like MOST of our clients can easily fall into this service instead of going the custom route. It’s kind of the best of both worlds in my opinion – you have an idea of where you’re going design wise from the beginning, you save some of the time/cost of a custom setup, but the template is really being tailored to you. AND – best of all – you’re not doing the work!

So you might be wondering – well WHY would someone go custom then?


The benefits of custom is that – well, it’s custom made for you! You’re getting a website that’s unique to you – your style and your needs. Going custom does come at that custom price tag, but if that’s not a problem for you and you’re able to invest, it can be a really fun and creative process. This can also be beneficial for more in-depth websites – where using a template almost because irrelevant because you need it to be custom made for you. There could be certain functionalities you need incorporated where it just makes sense to go custom. The reality for most of our clients at Girlboss Designer (coaches, consultants, travel advisors) is that they’re usually wanting a standard 6 page website to introduce their brand, talk about their services, sell their programs, and get people booking consultation calls or signing up for offers. Our ShowIt templates are designed for this type of functionality, so they work perfectly! And with the level 2 customization option available – it really is the perfect mix of template and custom.


In my opinion – if you have certain needs that warrant the custom process and are able to invest in the higher-level process – go for it!! But it’s 100% not necessary a lot of the time. Using a template offers so many benefits – this is why I’ve been loving this process since releasing the templates this year! If you’re interested in learning more about working with Girlboss Designer, either on a template based website or a custom site, go to https://inflowdesignco.com/services

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