Templates Aren’t Always Best (Pro’s and Con’s)

blog-492184_1280Here at Solamar, we specialize in building custom websites for clients who want their businesses to stand out in a cluttered marketplace. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is never a good reason to use a website template you purchase as-is rather than one of the tasty custom-built ones we make here.

Reasons to Use a Template

It looks like it looks.
There’s a lot of back and forth that goes into creating a custom website, and it can be hard to imagine what the final site is going to look like. When you choose a pre-built template, you will know exactly what you are getting, and some of them have customization options that allow you to tweak colors, fonts and other design elements. You won’t be able to go too far afield from the original design with these tweaks, but there is some wiggle room.

You need speed.
Designing a custom website takes time, and if you just can’t wait, a pre-built template will allow you to have a website up and launched in a fraction of the time it would take to custom-build something. Time is money, which brings me to my next point…

It’s cheap, cheap, cheap.
There’s no doubt about it, a pre-built template will be much cheaper than springing for a custom website design, primarily because building something from scratch takes a lot more time.

Reasons Not to Use a Template

It looks like it looks.
Because pre-built templates are available to everyone, it’s likely that whichever one you choose, many other people are already using it. Even after you tweak colors and fonts, it’s easy to distinguish template sites, especially when they use unique design elements. This turns visitors to your site off, and makes your business look unprofessional. Even if they don’t notice that you are using a template, they will subconsciously recognize the repetitiveness of the design and be less likely to engage with you. If you want a unique and exclusive design, custom-built websites are the only way to go.

You also need to think about how your website’s design is going to evolve over time. Most pre-built templates cannot be easily altered beyond surface design tweaks, and so you will be stuck with your initial design for the duration of its use. With a custom-built design, it’s much easier to work with your developer over the life of your site to adjust it to you and your customers’ changing needs.

There’s limited support.
Most companies that sell pre-built templates offer limited support for them after they are purchased and installed. If your template is difficult to implement, or breaks at some point, you are going to have do much of the heavy problem-solving by yourself. With a custom design, the team that builds your site will be there to help you, should you need it, and will provide much better long-term support, not just for fixing things, but for growing and enhancing your site as well.

It’s cheap, cheap, cheap.
Pre-built templates may be cheap, but they look it, and you get what you pay for. If you are spending time, money and energy on developing a brand, then you need a site that incorporates that brand as tightly as possible, and can support it as it grows. Would you buy a pre-made logo for your business that many other businesses were also using? I didn’t think so.

When you look at the pros/cons I’ve listed above, it seems clear that if at all possible, you should use a custom-built design rather than a pre-built template. The time and money you save in the short-term when you purchase a pre-built template only set you up for failure in the long-term.

Need a fantastic new custom-built website design for your business? That’s, like, what we do! You should totally contact us.

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One thought on “Templates Aren’t Always Best (Pro’s and Con’s)

  1. I agree, templates are not the way to go. As good as they look in the before-you-buy site, you will be disappointed when trying to plug in your content. As with most things in business and marketing, one size does NOT fit all.

    A customized web site is a great way to show your audience that you provide a unique product or service.

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