When looking to get your own website, there are many factors to consider. How you will host your site, which CMS to use, and who (if anyone) you will hire to build and maintain your site. One of the most important decisions you must make when it comes to your website is whether you are going to use a template or create a custom web design. With a custom website, you start from the ground up, using HTML, CSS, and PHP to craft a site that caters specifically to your needs and your brand. When using a template, however, you are able to choose from hundreds of pre-made site skeletons which you can adjust to fit your needs. While each of these options has its benefits and drawbacks, the decision will be determined by your individual needs. Here are some of the benefits of using a web design template:
When creating a template, developers keep in mind that it will be used to perform a variety of functions, and that it will be used by people with all levels of development experience. As a result, your template will usually come with large amounts of built-in functionality, widgets, and options which will make your job of setting up the site much easier, in addition to providing you with flexibility in creating your design. If you are a beginner, templates provide you with a framework into which you can plug all of your site’s content with ease; those with more development experience can use a template as a jumping-off point for slightly more complex adjustments.
Website templates are not only relatively easy to set up, but they are also cost-effective in many ways. While the price of the template itself is typically quite low (usually between $60-$120), the cost of setup and development is diminished by maximizing the potential of the template’s built-in features. Whether you choose to hire a web design company to assemble the site for you or not, the time saved in using website templates as opposed to custom web designs will save you a lot of money on development.
For more information on the typical costs of custom and template web designs, see our blog post What Does a Website Cost?
Abundance of Choices
If you Google “Wordpress Templates,” you will instantly find thousands of results. When using a template, what you see is typically what you get, so there are no surprises when it comes to your final product. With such an abundance of choices, the hardest part of using a template is finding the one that best suits your design needs.
Website templates typically come with an abundance of built-in functionality, from SEO features to WYSIWYG editing abilities, which will help to save you time, money, and hassle in all areas of website management.
Finally, when you purchase a website template, you often receive theme updates and support for the future, which will help to keep your website running and minimize bugs along the way. Updates to CMS platforms such as WordPress can often cause theme problems, and knowing that you have access to support from the theme developers in such a scenario is one of the greatest benefits of using a website template.
While there are many benefits to using website templates, there are certain drawbacks to be aware of. When considering a template for your website, be sure to keep these issues in mind:
Difficult to Make Custom Adjustments
If you are hoping to create a more custom feel for your website than the template you have chosen allows, you are going to run into higher development time and costs, sometimes making it more trouble than it’s worth. Although templates are very easy to use out-of-the-box, making custom adjustments to them can be costly and time-consuming, in addition to compromising the integrity and reliability of your theme if done incorrectly. In order to combat this, make sure to spend some time choosing a template that will truly fit your web design needs, instead of assuming all aspects of the selected design will be easy to change later. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the developers on the theme’s support forums before purchasing; and if you don’t receive a response, move on to a theme with active support.
Updates and Compatibility Issues
If possible, find out when your theme was created and when the last update was. If your theme has not been updated in several months and the support forums have gone quiet, it is likely not receiving continued support and will likely cause you issues down the road if you choose to purchase it. If a theme’s developer is no longer active and ready to provide support when CMS updates and compatibility issues arise, the trouble you will encounter will not be worth the low price you got for the theme.
Building a website can be a complicated process with many decisions to make, but the decision to use a template or a custom web design is one of the most important ones you will make. Consider these issues before beginning your web development project.