Having a website is fundamental to business in 2021, however, for many new and small business owners the prospect of getting a website is daunting. There are many different website builders available, offering pre-built design templates for a quick and easy online presence. However, this article is going to focus on why you should avoid design templates to improve the success of your business’s website.
What is a Design Template?
A design template is essentially a pre-built website, you use the template as the basic design, in which you swap out the logos, images and text to directly relate to your business. Whether you are using a WordPress theme, or a builder such as Wix, Weebly or Squarespace there are numerous free and paid website templates available. Templates are available for all different types of business from construction to beauty services, personal trainers to financial advisors. Using a template often allows someone with no website design experience to create a nice-looking website quickly. However, there are many drawbacks to this approach.
Drawbacks to Using a Design Template
It is true that by using a pre-made design template you can quickly and often cheaply launch a website for your business. However, in the long-run more time and money spent will likely improve the performance of your website and ultimately the success of your business. The top 6 reasons for not using a design template are as follows:
- Loss of brand identity
- May look the same as your competitor’s website
- Limit’s customisation options
- Often poorly designed for mobile responsiveness
- Potentially poor SEO
Loss of brand identity
Your brand is unique, even if you offer the same services as many other businesses in your sector the ethos of your brand is unique to you. Your unique selling point (USP) in a crowded marketplace is what may make the difference between making a sale or getting a new client in comparison to losing out to your competitor. Your website is, in many instances, the front door to your business; and, as such it needs to make a great first impression and sell what your company has to offer.
A generic website template cannot possibly convey the uniqueness of your business in the same way that a bespoke design can. Here at Tinks Digital, we never use a template, every page is built from a blank canvas and the design is unique to your business. See some recent examples of our work here.
From the colour scheme to the choice of font, the layout, images, text content and other features your website should be designed with the ethos of your brand at its forefront. Your website is a window into your business, and should reflect that, and its design shouldn’t be constrained by a template that doesn’t necessarily match the ethos of you and your company.
Similarity to Competitor Websites
Website templates are usually searchable by industry type. So, for example if you are a construction company your WordPress theme or chosen website builder will have several different construction themes to choose from. The issue here is that you pick one of these themes, but so have the majority of your competitors. Meaning that potential customers or clients are looking at your website that is pretty much the same as another; how can they be expected to differentiate, see your USP and choose to give you, their business?
We have even seen examples where professional website design companies have used a template and created a site almost identical to their client’s biggest competitor. Whether designing yourself or choosing to work with a professional web design agency, do your research, know what you like and dislike, be clear about your company’s USP and know what your competition’s sites look like so that you can ensure you don’t get a copycat template.
Lack of Customisation
Depending upon the platform you opt to use for your website the option of customisation can be limited. You can always change the colour scheme and font; however, some features may be set such as page layout, which is limited factor in creating a bespoke design. Another issue with pre-built website templates is getting dragged into the design. You may install a template as a starting point, particularly if you are a novice website builder; however, once the design is in place it can be difficult to deviate from it and try out different ideas.
Poor Mobile Responsiveness
In 2021 mobile search dominates the internet. Google now uses mobile first indexing; therefore, your website needs to look great and work well on a mobile phone. However, most website builders even WordPress themes are designed with desktop at the forefront. Scroll though web design templates and you will see what they look like on a desktop or laptop, they rarely show you what they look like on mobile.
Website design has not yet, in my opinion, caught up with mobile first indexing. Even in our website design process we design for desktop then optimise for mobile, as this is how the technology is set-up. With many years of experience, we consider mobile responsiveness as we go along, and avoid features that would not translate well to mobile. However, for new and small business owners launching their own site with a pre-built template mobile responsiveness is unlikely to be a major consideration.
Search Engine Optimisation Issues
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge and multi-faceted topic. Most website design platforms allow some element of SEO; however, their efficiency is widely variable. You may love the look of your new website, but if no one can find it online it is no use to your business. SEO needs a professional, and getting your website built to include at least basic search engine optimisation will give your business the best opportunity to succeed online.
Design Templates Look Cheap
It is true that oftentimes website design templates look cheap, they are widely repeated across the internet and offer a poor user experience. Savvy internet users can often tell a design template, and that then cheapens the image of your brand. Spending a little more on a bespoke website is cost effective in the long term, both in terms of the site’s performance and your brand reputation.
I am reluctant to write the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ in respect to a website, as it is not always the case. Here at Tinks Digital we offer great value website design; we are honest and genuinely care about the businesses that we work with. It is unlikely that we would be the most expensive, does that mean you shouldn’t choose us? Of course not, the important thing is to do your research, ask questions and get a feel for whether the website design company will deliver a website that meets the needs of your business.
Bespoke Website Design
You may be tempted to get online quickly and cheaply with a pre-built website design template; but in the long run this would be detrimental to your business. Contact us today to get a quote for a bespoke website, designed with your business’s ethos at the forefront. For long-term success, a website that you are happy with, and ultimately helps to bring in new customers clients believe us when we tell you to avoid design templates and contact professional website design services; time and money well-spent now will be of long-term benefit to your company’s success.