All that glitters isn`t gold – Website templates


Many small businesses might feel that purchasing a web-template “off the shelf” and adapting for their needs is a cost effective solution. However you need to be aware of what you are actually getting in such cases. Buying a template without a reasonable knowledge of web design principles is actually a bit like buying a used car on faith. Here are some reasons why:

Template designs may cost you more in the long run

We all know that times change and your business will evolve. So your website will probably need to evolve with it. Unfortunately, template designs can be inflexible and difficult to scale. For example, if you want to add a new product range or add some new media like a demonstration video, it may cost you considerably more to try to re-engineer a template design than it would to custom design a web solution that allows for these possibilities up front.

FLASH templates aren’t search engine friendly

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo use automated “searchbot” programs to crawl the world wide web and index the pages they find. At the present time, search engines are incapable of indexing content that is written in FLASH or only index it badly. The bottom line is that FLASH template designs might be invisible to Google and Yahoo.

Not everyone has Javascript enabled on their computer

Many of the templates available employ fancy animated navigation menus. There is nothing wrong with this in itself however it does create problems when the animated effects rely up the user having Javascript enabled on their browser. Latest statistics on browser usage indicate that around 5% of users do not have Javascript. Effectively this means 5% of your potential customer base is shut out from using your site. Furthermore, it creates problems for search engines trying to index your site.

Poorly coded templates can give unpredictable results on different browsers

At some point in the past, Microsoft Internet Explorer in its various versions accounted for more than 90% of the web browsers in use. In recent years however, Microsoft’s share has been declining with superior browsers like Firefox rapidly becoming adopted by web users. Good web designers are conscious of employing techniques that will deliver the same web site appearance across many different browser environments.

It’s not unique

It`s highly probable that some other company will be using the same template design. It can look unprofessional to have the same web design that other companies are already using.

It’s like trying to put the square peg into the round hole

In most cases, you will have a hard time finding a template that exactly relects the kind of impression you want to make. Most templates have a “generic” feel about them for good reason. They need to appeal to a mass market. But the world wide web is a crowded place these days so without some unique design planning, your site could easily become forgettable.

When choosing a web designer for your project, be sure to select a consultant who understands the implications of choosing a template based solution.