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Why Not a Template Site?

--Posted 6.12.09

If you run a business and need a website, or an upgraded site, you may be excited when you first learn that there are numerous companies on the net that provide "template websites" for a minimal fee.
Don't get excited just yet
, though.
Template sites aren't recommended if you are serious about growing your business into a successful venture. Yes, some of them are attractive, and they are usually easy to update. But there are many points that make them a poor decision for the long haul--and if you want to be successful in business, you should do it right the first time to save time and money!

5 Top Reasons to Avoid Template-Based Websites

  1. Your website design should reflect your business--not someone else's, and certainly NOT thousands of others. It should include your logo, and colors that both complement your logo and your business. For example, a black and red color design can look great on a web design for a new model sports car. But even though those might be your personal favorite colors, if your business is a day spa, then you really should have a relaxing color scheme such as gentle blues and lilacs, or soft greens. A professional web designer knows what colors evoke certain moods, and can work with you to find a color scheme that you are happy with--but more importantly convey your business approach.
  2. "I just want a simple site, so a template site is fine for me."Not so. Even "simple" websites require more planning behind the scenes than you might think. They aren't more expensive because us web developers are trying to make a fortune off of you (actually, most of us are starving artists :) !). We (most of us, anyway) charge a fair price for our time and expertise. Let's face it, you are probably a highly intelligent business person to have been this successful thus far. Would you rewire the electricity in your office building because it will save you money? Unless you have the training to do so, probably not! You would call an expert electrician to handle this for you. Sadly, many businesspeople do not use this same principle when it comes to developing a website that represents their business. Yes, nearly anyone can purchase the cheap template site and add content (text, photos, etc) themselves. But will it be professional enough to make your site's visitors really want to hire your services or purchase your products? Probably not. It doesn't mean you aren't smart. But you're not a web developer, you're an accountant, a real estate broker, a physician, or a pet sitting service. Whatever your business, without the proper training and experience, you will not have the knowledge and tools needed to be able to make the most out of your website and drive the most business to your doorstep.
  3. Most template-based sites *look* like template-based sites. Many of your potential clients may not be web-savvy enough to understand or realize this, but most of the population is spending more and more time on the internet every month. If your site looks like lots of others they've seen, it won't make as much of an impression--and remember, your website is a direct reflection of your business! You want your site to stand out from the crowd, and wow your visitors! When you make a great impression with your website, that person is left with a great impression of your business--and you may have just found one more customer each and every time.
  4. When you need professional help, most developers won't touch template sites.So let's say that you are moving forward with your template site, but one day you need something done that is beyond your abilities. You try your template site's tech support, and discover that your subscription does not cover this type of service. So, you start to inquire amongst local web developers to see if you can hire someone to handle that one feature you need to add. Many developers won't touch it with a 10-foot pole. The template sites simply don't have the flexibility for a developer to make certain changes as needed, and that makes them frustrating to work with. Then you are stuck with a website you've spent much time and money on, only to learn that you really do need a customized, professional website to meet all of your needs--both now and later.
  5. I have a new template website--what now?Your template hosting company will not guide you through this, and most business owners think that once their site is released, their work is done and they should leave their website alone unless some piece of information about their business changes dramatically. Not so! Websites should be optimized for the search engines to allow potential clients to find you on the internet. Your content should be updated at least monthly--this also "scores points" with the search engines, as well as making your site look more active, and therefore more professional, to visitors that may check it out a few times before deciding to retain your services or purchase your products.A good web development company can guide you through this process, making recommendations as to what types of changes to make, how often to make those changes, and of course to perform the original search engine optimization for you when the rest of your site is complete. For that matter, many web companies either have a copywriter on staff, or one that they work closely with, who can write your content for you--making your site more professional in its presentation, and also streamlining the search engine optimization when the site is released.

So, the bottom line is--don't use online hosting templates! They may seem like simple, cheap ways to obtain a good website. But they are simple, cheap ways to obtain a cheap website that will not be a valid reflection of your business. Unless of course, you have just another cheap cookie-cutter business!

*The "template websites" we are referring to here are NOT the templates that are designed specifically with your business in mind, specifically for you. We aren't even referring to those that can be purchased for your developer to tweak to personalize for you. These are sites that you purchase along with hosting (in most cases) that come with their own design, and you just upload your content to them--with little or no control over the design, and little or no control over the layout.