There is nothing more mouth-watering than coming across a website that provides free or cheap templates for website design. If lucky, there might be an option of dozens of pre-packaged picks for your website. Sounds amazing, isn’t it? Well, let’s look here deeper though. All these sites are being upfront but what they are offering is an average product that will not give leverage to your brand in the manner a custom site should do. They try to capitalize through one-size-fits-all solutions, but in doing so lose out on the individualized layout that gives a winning edge to the product. What’s further bad is that these cookie-cutter sites can also ruin your SEO efforts thus barring you from pursuing an audience that your business can ideally prosper with.

If you are looking for establishing a web presence for your business, you will require content for primary focus. But unless you have the right website in action, the source of content will fail to fulfill the needs of the users effectively. Yes, picking up a pre-designed template might suit the budget initially, but will fail to deliver lasting results. At Think 360, we create custom designs right from the scratch to leave no stone unturned in crafting products that meets expectations. We know this kind of touch is not possible through off-the-shelf template. Here are some reasons why we don’t favor creating websites with templates:-

1. Forceful Adaptation

What do you think will be more useful in pulling customers: a site that is painstakingly designed especially for your target market with sought after colors, calls-to-action and layouts or a basic standard template that is used to fit your logo afterwards. Unfortunately, even the best templates are deliberately fitted in the design and pose a compelling effect on the business. This is not the right way to work.

2. It’s The Same For All

Some large online stores act like a marketplace and offer WordPress templates to website developers. Now, each of these stores has limited number of templates that are common and purchased by one and all. So, each of these templates is repeatedly used time and again for all the types of sites on the internet. This implies your website could just be like a brand across the street or in worst scenario, similar to a competitor. A custom design ensures that your website is different of the lot and there is no scope of resemblance making you look down.

3. Poor Coding

Poor Coding issues? You are not a programmer; it’s none of your concern. If that’s what you think, you are wrong as poorly coded templates are infamous to cause weird issues eventually in the product cycle. Consider them as a car with an awful electrical system. This will lead to unexpected troubles that are very difficult to trace and work on. As a matter of fact, it has become pretty common for the templates in an online marketplace to include badly written code, which in turn is bound to face issues or suffer with security threats in the future. The tip of the iceberg here is that the web developers who create template are not skilled enough to interpret whether the chosen template is well-coded or not.

4. No After Care

These pre-designed templates don’t offer any scope for back end as well as front end customization. Customers and amateur web developers often miss out on this issue. Yes, there are many customizations that WordPress administrative area can accommodate to make your site a blessing and not a burden. But this is not where it should stop. Giving excellent experience to your customers is not the end. We at Think 360 take full charge and work on the various aspects to manage your site over time and build customizations that are effortless to maintain in the long run.

5. Not Optimized Graphics

In this era of SEO marketing, web design is not just creating an online space that is appealing. Your website should represent you, your business and your content. When you flash similar graphics as in other sites, developed on the same coding and metadata, you are doing nothing special in particular that could attract visitors to you. No matter how well you optimize your information, this drawback will harm your site’s ability to perform. Why should your web design efforts be exclusive? First reason is relevance; your site performance is enhanced when it works together with search engines.

The visual content matches the concept and theme of the written content that you provide. In template design, graphics don’t fall in line with your business and site content and is just like a window dressing that hampers the SEO results. The second reason is that if you use template, the coding and metadata of graphics will not be optimized with your objectives. Optimization of stock graphics is a big challenge as several companies and personal users are relying on the same template to work for their site. This will limit the opportunities to increase viewers and elevate site rankings.

6. The Brand Suffers

A template can never augment your brand in the eyes of potential customers and contribute in its growth. Your brand represents the identity you build for your business with the help of a logo, graphic design and content. Your brand puts forth ‘you’ that you offer the world to see; a story which can be narrated by you and no one else. In simple words, a web design template cannot project your brand. It narrows down your ability to put out yourself in an effective manner by being forced to adopt someone else’s creative concept. The pre-determined format and structure demands you to squeeze in your identity.

Thus, you undercut yourself by neglecting your potential. You must market yourself at every level to pull in potential customers and give them the need to become actual customers. If your website spells your brand, it will boost your conversion rates and give you a stand in the market rather than just being a face amidst the crowd. If you want your online presence to reflect your story, don’t be pushed behind a framework. Opting for a mass-produced template can take you towards mediocrity and make your business suffer considerably.

7. Software Problems

Although some templates are easy to customize, change and update, are compatible with web authoring software like Microsoft Frontpage, there are templates that are complicated and function only with the knowledge of photo editing and website creating tools and coding. Be it Macromedia Dreamweaver or Flash or HTML code, you may not possess the necessary skills required to customize, change or update your website. In this scenario, you might require the services of a web developer to customize and update your web template.

8. Lack of Skills

Such templates demand familiarity with optimization of images in the web so that the pages take less time to load. If you are not equipped with the necessary skills and photo-editing software for image optimization, then this will harm your website development process and you have to hire a web developer for services.

9. SEO Trouble

Website templates only give a body to your site. They are not optimized to pull in large numbers of audience for you. It is your duty to do this with your website content. Remember that search engines are more bent towards words than pictures. A website including lot of graphics and Flash animation may look appealing but will be poor with the loading time and will not attract the search engine to your site. So, even if you have awesome features of a Flash website, it might score lower in the search engine rankings.

10. Loaded Admin Interfaces

Stock templates are created for mass utilization. They are meant to be provided to a large number of potential customers so they are loaded with plethora of choices that are not even required and in fact confuse the client. Here some options are not open to be disabled so they hover on your site pointlessly. These options can prove to be a major hindrance in the management of your website content and can even hamper your website loading speed because of all the bloated coding. On the other hand, custom websites have simple and fluid admin interface as it includes only those features which the client needs and is crafted keeping in mind your client’s requirements and preferences.

End Note

If you aspire to offer value added services to your clients, then you must avoid employing generic stock template solutions and rather work on creating custom websites with a team of highly skilled developers that can rightly execute your designs. Try to look beyond the immediate needs of your clients and foresee the future conquests that can help the users more with their project. A stock template with its inexpensive trait will look alluring now, but later it will prove to be expensive with all the upgrades and customizations needed for the template.

If you are looking for long-term scalability, work on offering your client a custom developed configurable website right from the beginning. A custom website although requires some investment, but as changes and maintenance can be implemented easily, it will be the most suitable and cost-effective setup in the long run.

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Prince Pal

UX/UI Strategist & Usability Tester at Think360 Studio
For 12+ years I have designed, developed and marketed websites / apps startups in New York, California, Florida and in India. Always focused on great User Interface is key.

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