What does a “custom” website vs. “customizing” or “customizations” mean?

Generally speaking, when someone is paying for a custom website, it means that they are paying for a totally unique website design from scratch. This means that a designer sat down to listen to the client’s goals, brand standards, took notes on the client’s existing and targeted audiences, learned about current challenges… and then goes off to design a website with all those things in mind. When a client goes this route, the design is usually passed off to a developer (or more) to build. It generally means that the website is getting built from scratch and every line of code is unique to that project. Ie. the developer can’t start with a theme they purchased online.

Now, customizing a website or making customizations to an existing site or theme, means that a developer is coming in and changing/enhancing the site to work in accordance to the client’s request.

Here is an example:

This is what the admin of a “page” would look like if you install WordPress out of the box

Notice it contains a place for a title, some content, and a Featured image.

Here is what a page that has been customized looks like.  Note the “Project Custom Fields”.  A developer that knows how to add custom fields to the admin should also know how they get stored in the database and how to pull them out of the database and display them on a custom layout.  This comes in handy when you need more than one image displayed on a page or in a scenario where one image gets displayed in one location and the other is used in a different location. Customizations also mean that specific content can be styled differently and often more easily. Ie. You the website admin don’t need to worry about the font, the size, the color and or weight… We the developers can take care of all that so that all you have to do is enter your content and hit publish.