Cameron FrancisAugust 24,2015

Pros and Cons of Buying a Template Versus a Custom Website

Category: Web Design
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pros and cons of buying a template site versus custom website

Every business seeks to maximise profits. That is why the wise business owner picks a web design that is affordable and right for their needs at the same time.

Nowadays, most business interactions happen online. This makes your website your most important lead generating tool. When designing your business brochure or office interior, you want it to look great and professional. Your website should not be any different.

A professional-looking website will help increase your business’ credibility.

Whether it is a new website for your business, or an overhaul of an existing one, you have to consider the cost, design and purpose.

Many business owners have problems deciding between getting a custom web design and using a template.

There are pros and cons either way. It depends on the circumstances, purpose and nature of your business. An art website for instance may fare better with a custom website design. The designing will be guided by the artist’s line of work, graphic requirements and target market.

Let us look at the advantages of buying a web template from providers such as WordPress or Joomla.

What is a Web Template?

It is a pre-designed website that is easy enough for anyone to use in order to display text content, images and videos. Fonts, style and formatting are included in these templates. They also come with graphics, tables and other features that are commonly found on webpages.

Through the use of a web authoring program, you can easily open and edit a template to meet your needs.

Even though a web template is built with CSS and HTML code, you don’t need technical knowledge to use it. To use a template, all you have to do is

  1. Select a theme
  2. Download the template
  3. Plug in your text and images

Templates are so easy to use that many web designers also use them for their clients’ websites.

Coding is involved in editing a template’s layout and design. This part of the job requires the services of a professional web designer. Another advantage of using a template is that editing it is much faster than creating a website from scratch.

Types of Website Templates

A template’s design can either be static, responsive or adaptive. They can also be specifically configured for mobile application. They can have html, htm, php or asp file extensions. But they are all written in CSS and HTML.

Features that can be Included in a Web Template

A web template may offer any or all of these features:

  • Text with predetermined font and jpg
  • png or gif images
  • jQuery & CSS3 animation
  • Shopping carts
  • Contact forms
  • Dynamic image galleries and different slideshows
  • PDF download links page
  • Video players that include embedded YouTube movies

These features vary in design and appearance from one vendor to another. When choosing a template, take into account the scripts, functionalities, and applications your website needs.

You can use your own photos, scripts and third party plugins to add to the pages.

The Pros of Buying a Template Site

The internet is replete with sites hosted on popular frameworks such as Joomla and WordPress. Many individuals and businesses built their websites on these platforms. Others also use pre-built websites offered by hosting providers. There are good reasons for this.

1. Much Lower Cost

One of the main reasons for choosing web templates is the budget. Building from scratch would require the services of a professional web developer. But with a template, you can easily build your site without expert assistance.

Many businesses that require simple websites have saved on costs tremendously by using WordPress or similar sites.

There is a good chance you’ll find a free or open source template that fits your needs. Still, if you decide to buy one, it is likely to be considerably less expensive compared to hiring a web developer.

2. Saves Time

Time is a valuable commodity. Many use a template to save time. A template allows you to set up a website at a fraction of the time it takes to develop a fresh one.

Web templates are normally ready to go. All they need are a few tweaks to fine tune them to your needs.

In contrast, designing a website from scratch can be tedious and error-prone. You will need to work closely with your developer to get exactly what you want. All this involves coding – which takes time.

Templates on the other hand provide you with the opportunity to pick what you like and use it. No groping blindly in search for the best outcome. You preview a template and pick what you like.

3. Easy to Set up

Templates make it easy for anyone to set up their own website. Even with no technical knowledge at all, it’s easy to use a template.

If you’re a novice web designer, templates are good for you. All it takes to customise a template is basic web design knowledge. Suppose you bought a web template with HubSpot already installed, the landing page analytics for your account will show up immediately. These templates are ready for you to plug in your content.

4. Bonus Features, Colours and Layouts

What makes web templates so appealing is that they come in various colours, designs and themes.

WordPress is mostly popular because of its beautiful themes.

Also, a web template lets you preview of your site. Basically, a template gives you a clear starting point for building your site, minus the hassle of the high cost and complexity of coding.

The Cons of Buying a Template Site

Despite their advantages, web templates have a dark side to them. That is why a good number of users still prefer a custom website to a template.

1. Limited Customisation

Template sites limit you to what has already been created. The design and layout changes possible with a template may be too limited for certain purposes. While it is advantageous to be able to preview your site, it also means not being able to change certain features to meet your requirements.

2. Some Templates are not SEO Friendly

Some templates are not Google friendly. For example, if you’re using a template that’s not mobile ready, then that could seriously hurt your ranking. Preview your template on various types of computers and mobile devices to be safe.

3. Some Templates do not Work on Certain Browsers

If your template is written in antiquated code, you can be certain some browsers will have trouble displaying it properly.

4. Template Sites Don’t Stand Out

If you find a certain template appealing, chances are others will too. So you end up owning a website that looks just like hundreds of others.

5. It is hard to differentiate your brand

Building a new website from scratch gives you the freedom to create a design that suits the personality and branding of your business. If you use a template, you lose this advantage. Well-designed templates may offer some degree of customisation. However, they still lack the full flexibility of a custom website.

Conclusion

There definitely is no single right answer here. It all depends on how you evaluate the pros and the cons of website templates. In general however, these facts should be enough to guide even a newbie to make informed decisions regarding the type of website to build.

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Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.
  • It saves you indeed a lot of time and money if you purchase a template. If you need customisation, there are always companies like eTraffic that can do the job at a good price. I would not recommend people to build their website from scratch not just because of the time it takes, but also when it comes to maintenance, the web developer who set it up might be the only person who knows the website and may have set their own script to lock it from other people to do some customisation or such. Great article again!

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