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Why you should run away from website templates!

By Stephanie Zahalka | April 21, 2015 | Design for Web + Print

It’s a word that gets thrown around the net a lot and a word that all professional designers hate… TEMPLATES.

Website templates are like off-the-shelf websites and are targeted at people who believe that launching their own, unique and differentiated website is costly and time consuming, which need not be the case.

Good designers delve deep to understand your business and online needs. we plan a logical, well organised and accessible information structure and use graphics that aid comprehension.

But what happens when you buy a website template or a wordpress theme?

You may be able to make some changes, like placing your own logo, but you are ultimately building an online presence that sums you up as: cookie-cutter; unoriginal; cheap; AND undifferentiated.  This is definitely bad advertising and that is something you should do your best to avoid.

Here’s Another thing to think about ….

Imagine a potential client or customer is looking up type of business on the web.  They look at your competition’s websites and find that they are using the same template as you!  How incredibly embarrassing.

or

They get to your website and realize that they’ve seen it somewhere before and it was for an entirely different type of business.

Stock templates can offer a nice window dressing, perhaps with a sexy flash slideshow or scripted gizmo, but will not guarantee your business will stand out.

At Jungle design studios, we develop custom-designed, custom-branded web sites. That means that every web site has a unique look and feel that is designed specifically for the client.

In contrast, many do-it-yourself web site tools offer web site templates that you can use.   Lots of companies on the internet offer packages for as little as $50, but many have hidden limitations, are hard to use and have ‘upgrade’ options that will blow out your costs.

They say that you can insert your logo, and choose a dominant color scheme, but the overall design—graphics, layout, typography, etc. is not branded for your business.

They will sell you the idea that they are “simple to use”, when in fact they are quite difficult and time consuming to use and you will need very expensive design programs to use them.

  • do you have these programs that cost $1000′s of dollars?
  • do you have the experience and knowledge to use these programs.
  • do you know what do with it when your done?
  • do you understand concepts such as resolution, pixels, compression, directories, ftp uploads and css
  • and do you, with no design or programming experience, actually have the extensive amount of time it will take customise this template?
  • And once your done ‘customising’ it… do you know what to do with it next?

Professional designers go to school and are educated for years to learn this stuff.  Do you think that a cheap online template will allow you to achieve the same thing in a short amount of time with no knowledge?

This is why templates are something that I counsel business owners to avoid. Choosing a stock template to build an online presence does not allow you to build your brand identity. It couldn’t possibly speak to your target audience — because it is, after all, stock content.  You’re building one of your most valuable branding elements with a look that may not be unique to you and you may not even own the rights to.

This is another major reason why you need to be careful of choosing a pre-fabricated template for your web site.

You will not own the copyright to that design.   Unless you pay for the exclusive rights to a web template for $1000′s of dollars (with which you could have a custom made website), you do not own it.

And… even if you do buy exclusive rights, you will still have everyone who bought the template before you still using it.

I’ve had this happen with several clients.

Before working with Jungle Design Studios, they used a free starter type of web site and used the hosting company’s templates and graphics to build their initial online presence. For many companies these days, their web site presence is their primary brand identity piece. So, by starting with a stock template, they’ve defaulted into a brand identity that is not their own and was probably designed by their web host (probably not the best designer!). Then, as they outgrew the limitations of the site they could not transfer the graphic look because they do not own the rights to it.  They couldn’t even switch hosting companies and take the website with them.  what a waste.  Now they have to go and start over and spend even more money doing it all again.

Also understand that templates and stock content will kill your chances for top search engine ranking someday. Search engines demote the value of websites with unoriginal content found elsewhere on the Web. And stock content, by its very definition, is normally found on multiple websites.

Ever heard the saying “poor man pays twice”.

By cutting corners in the beginning with something so important, you are setting yourself up for extra costs and will end up spending more than twice the money and having it all take twice as much time to get done.  Do it right the first time. Dont lose credibility with substandard design.  Potential clients and customers will see right through it and you will look cheap and unprofessional.

Get a  professional designer to create your brand, your image and your website.  If money is the issue, we do offer payment plans to make it easier for you.

Remember, your website is not an expense, its an investment.

We take great pride on customer service and superb quality.  I have very high standards for design so be assured that your design will be the absolute best!

At Jungle Design Studios we believe that… IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!

::Stephanie Zahalka – Jungle Design Studios::

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