Are Template Websites Worth the Time and Money?

Website templates are very accessible. There are many companies offering quick and easy websites to new businesses looking to create an online base for their customers where they can sell their products of advertise their services.

What are Template Websites?

There are many packages out there which are aimed at those who are starting their own new business. Some of these website templates include, Mr Site and 1&1. These templates are designed to be an easier way for new business owners to develop their own websites quickly and easily.

You can sign up to different package which suits you, and you simply add your own content and images into the designated sections. You are able to choose different layouts, color schemes, fonts, patterns, and menu options. The benefit is that it can be instant, designs are all prepared awaiting your branding input, and the coding is all in place. Website templates make it easier for you to choose your domain name and input your content and get you website up without a lot of hassle.

The Good….

A template website can suit you if your budget is limited and you have basic knowledge of websites. Setting up your own site can be difficult and require some knowledge of coding, SEO and Photoshop, so these templates remove this hassle.

Not all templates offer e-commerce, so it is best to research your options depending on what you are looking to gain from your website. They can be easily updated also, so if you have some changes to make, then you can log into your admin section and update any sections yourself without having to rely on a developer which can cost extra.

Many companies tend to use these website templates. They are certainly quite instant, and if you are looking for an initial website while you establish your business, they could be the perfect option to secure a web presence as soon as possible. When using a web designer and developer, it can take months to get your website launched as there is a lot of going back and forth to approve layouts and designs. Template websites have pre made layouts for you to choose from which is instant and can save you a lot of time and allow you to focus on other aspects of your business

The Bad…

Some website templates remove too much control from you. They can limit what content you might want to add, and can be more trouble than they are worth.

If you want to add videos to your website, make sure the template supports videos. Do you want to add a certain number of images to one part of the website? Does the template allow enough room to upload as many images as you require?

Plan out what you want from a website before hand, as many of the cheaper website templates are actually quite limiting and you will find you can’t add as much content as you would like to. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by a template. You want your business to stand out online and attract customers, so make sure it is a website that they will find it easy to navigate and enjoy using.

Also be aware that most template websites don’t always support SEO. Some templates are built mainly using flash images which look good, but can’t be picked up by Google searches, as Google can’t ‘read’ the site.

Really research the market. There are several template companies available which make it look so clear and simple. However, there can be hidden monthly fees, charges for any major problems, and some of the technology on some sites could be harder to set up than initially advertised.

Template Tips…

See if you can get any feedback from people actually using these sites. What was their experience using the template they chose? It is your business budget you are investing in, and you must make sure you won’t end up throwing money at your website unnecessarily when you could have gone to a web designer and web developer in the first place and got a completely original tailored website to suit you.

If you visit a website which you like it’s always worth contacting the website owner, and asking if the company that built their site was value for money, and if they would recommend their services.  It could be within your budget just to get a site professionally made from the start.

If you plan for your business to mainly have an online presence, it is more important that you really invest in a strong website. It might be best to invest in a developer who can build you your own personal website. Template websites can be a good start, but if you plan to sell online predominantly, a developer can tailor features to suit your particular customers better, which in turn will most likely impress your customers making them recommend your website, and could increase your profits massively.

An example of this is ASOS. They sell clothing online, their website has been built with video features showing how each garment look when worn, unlimited photographs of products, drop down box features, blogs, sale options, and as a customer you can select exactly what item you are looking for and at what budget you can afford, so you can instantly find what you are looking for. These features can’t be achieved by using a quick template. Their business is so successful due to their tailored web design and developed features allowing a pleasurable experience for shoppers, who constantly return because of this.  Their profits are incredible!

Kirsten runs her own jewelery business Kirsten Hendrich Jewelery. She specializes in making handmade silver jewellery. She has developed her own website and spent years building up her small business.

Featured image courtesy of miitchm.

Filed in: Business, Feature Articles, Website Development
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