Gasp… you’re not considering a template are you?!?
A website is definitely a huge asset to those who want to promote themselves, their company, or their wares. People from all over the world use the Internet (1.8 billion to be exact) to find all kinds of things — every day; providing a highly manicured website is a great way to capture their attention.
As with all things of importance, there are a few difficult choices that must be made during the process of getting a website up and running. The first decision that should be made about your website is whether you should have it custom designed and developed or if you should use a website template.
Full disclosure: I am the owner of a pretty darn good web firm so take my comments in stride. I only speak the truth though.
Templates Aren’t All Bad
What is a template? Templates are pre-designed and pre-built websites that you can find on many a site. They range from “I wouldn’t use that if you paid me” to “Wow — that is one awesome site”.
They would make a perfect choice for those who want a website based more around functionality without all the bells and whistles of a custom design. They are usually much less expensive than sites built by a web designer. However, the low price does not mean that style is out of the question. There are literally endless numbers of templates to choose from and you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and taste after a bit of looking. With template designs, what you see is what you get; there is not much room for flexibility.
Using templates can also save a chunk of time. There’s no day dreaming and brainstorming with a hired designer, just a site that’s ready to be slightly edited. All that you have to do is find a design that you like and fill in the desired content, then put it up on the web for everyone to see.
Though there are many useful benefits to using templates, it’s not the right choice for everyone. One notable downfall of using pre-made layouts is that it is entirely possible that another person is using the same design. Any number of people are allowed to buy and use the same template, that is unless the “unique” price is paid, which is then getting into the realm of what a web designer would charge in the first place. Another thing to be wary of when deciding to use a template is the amount of website knowledge you may have. If you’re limited on the subject, you may have a tough time setting up and maintaining the site, let alone trying to get search engines to pick it up so others will find it.
Those who want a very specific design for their website are bound to be disappointed, since they probably won’t find exactly what they are looking for.
Just Hire a Designer
Another choice to keep in mind when trying to get a website running is to hire a web designer or a firm such as us. We specialize in designing, coding, and writing content for our clients’ websites. A good designer can really give your website a cutting edge that you don’t usually see with templates. This is a great option for those who want an elaborate, impressive design that won’t be seen anywhere else. A lot of designers have a good grasp on how the Web works and making good impressions on those who visit their sites.
They are also skilled at taking your specific requests and making them into a functional, user-friendly system that is designed to attract attention from search engines. Web designers are beneficial to those who expect their website budget to grow, since they are usually happy to add new sections, pages, graphics, and more later on. Hiring a professional also comes in handy for those who don’t exactly understand websites. Web designers will deal with getting the website up and offer maintenance services if something were to go wrong.
Hiring a designer can be a great option for some people, but a few things should be taken into consideration before making the decision. The most obvious con to having a designer build a customized website for you is the price. Initially, a designer puts a larger dent in the bank than a template, but whipping that cheap template into shape is going to require lots of patience and a bit more cash than anticipated.
If you have a specific image in mind, be sure the designers you speak with have a portfolio showcasing the design style you’re looking for. That will definitely get you started on the right foot.
If you are looking for a designer, you must have knowledge on how to find a skilled professional who can be trusted with such an important project. Failing to do so would likely result in a major loss and a major headache. Don’t like the samples in our portfolio? Check out Sortfolio.com for a rather large listing of designers across the country. Those with a very specific design in mind should understand that a good designer will argue any requests that could leave a bad impression on the site’s visitors, which will benefit their clients in the long run.
The moral of the story: if you have a very limited budget and are not very concerned about your brand, go for the template. If you have some money to spend and you want to supply your visitors with an experience unique to your brand, hire us or find another firm that will make you happy.
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