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Advantages and Disadvantages to Using Web Templates

By: Melanie Kanis at Synaxiom Media Group

Submitted on Mon, Nov 20th, 2006 12:00 am

In todays booming internet market, there are so many companies competing for every single user that what ends up making or breaking the deal almost always has directly to do with the website design of the company. The user usually decides within the first 5-15 seconds whether or not they are going to remain on that site, making first impressions imperative. So, as the owner of a company, you ask yourself what type of website you need to make you stand out above your competitors and if going with a template is the right answer. Youve heard a lot about templates and how much time and money they can save you. In this article we will examine the use of templates and their advantages and disadvantages. Of course, ultimately, it is up to you; these are just suggestions, but remember, the internet is growing daily and in order to remain competitive in your field you must place a high priority on your web presence.

Firstly, for those of you not too familiar, a template is a pre-made layout, usually designed for specific themes, that has a set color scheme and outline. The basic look of the website will always remain the same, but the user can purchase this template and modify the information on it to directly represent their company. If the template is set up properly, the time and effort required to do this is very minimal compared to the amount of time it takes to design and implement a unique website. However, if the template has not been set up properly the time it could take to rectify this and obtain the desired result could be much, much longer and usually requires the help of a certified programmer.

To examine templates more closely, let us look at their advantages. Firstly, templates usually have a good basic design and layout, making them very user friendly. Second, they are very cost effective and will save you a lot of time. Third, the person who designed the template usually has quite a bit of experience and a good idea of what colors to use and how simple to keep the site to make navigating easier. Fourth, the designs are usually relatively the same on each page making your website more consistent and less confusing to the user. Fifth, updating your website is fairly quick and straightforward. Finally, most templates have a section that is un-editable, making it impossible to destroy or change the basic design, which can be a big plus for those of you that are less experienced with web design basics.

On the other hand, there are many disadvantages to using a web template. First and foremost, it is not original. Because it is readily available to purchase on the net, you can assume that if it is a design that appeals to you, it appeals to many others as well, and has probably already been purchased and is being used by many companies worldwide. This tends to happen a lot, if you have ever noticed; while browsing through the web, you come across many companies of the same genre that have almost the exact same layout. I noticed this recently while browsing through some online florists. So many of them looked exactly the same making it rather repetitive and boring, on top of which, the user will no longer be able to remember which site is yours. Yes, it looks nice, but with all the competition on the web today, the idea is to stand out, not to blend in. Therefore, originality is a must. Second, many of the templates available were created before all of the information was out on how to maximize your website and how the search engines worked, therefore many are database driven, and therefore are not recognized by search engines, which means that although your site may look nice, no one will be able to find it. Third, many templates are very rigid in that they have many sections that you cannot edit, making the modifications very frustrating. If you have a text box that has a predetermined size and your text does not fit within that area, you are at a loss. Also, if there are specific details that you do not particularly like in the template, you are often stuck with them and unable to modify them. Fourth, you are on your own. Working with a template means that once you purchase the template, it is up to you to decipher how to edit and/or add information to it. You dont have the advantage of being able to call your developer and ask him/her any questions or for some help if you get stuck. Lastly, unless a template has been created with the last few years at most, it is often outdated and will not be optimized for todays internet market in order to make your web presence noticeable.

In conclusion, it is really up to you, as the owner, to decide which route you want to take. If you want to browse through some online templates to get some ideas of what you would like in your website, they are very helpful, but in terms of actually creating your website, you will realize that if you go with a reputable company that has a knowledgeable staff who is constantly updating themselves on the latest internet trends, that your website will generate a lot more interest and present a much more defined and sophisticated image. Since the internet is becoming, more and more, the place where businesses are looking to find new clients and/or sell their products, it should be looked at the way you examine your office and/or store. How much money is spent every day on businesses redoing their offices, renovating their stores, buying new furniture, dcor, etc..? If this type of money was being invested into presenting a better online image, the margin of profit in regards to money being spent / earned would increase exponentially. It is your decision, but if it was up to me, and I had the choice to design a store that would look identical to my competition but cost me very little, or spend the money to create my own, unique look and appeal, I would go for the latter. You want your company to stand out and create an image of its own, one that can be remembered, and to do this, you need to go with the experience of a qualified web design company.

Melanie Kanis

About the Author

Melanie Kanis
Synaxiom Media Group
I grew up in Montreal Quebec and became part of a growing web consulting firm called Synaxiom Media Group. This company gave me the opportunity to explore my talents and expand my knowledge. I have done a lot of research on the internet, common search engine optimization techniques and web design. I hope that my articles will be able to guide others when making educated decision on web projects.

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