7 Reasons NOT To Use A Website Template

7 Reasons NOT To Use A Website Template.png
It has never been cheaper to build a website. It is now possible to get yourself online for a negligible monthly subscription, using any one of a growing roster of template services. Companies such as Squarespace, Wix, One and One, Freestart and Moon Fruit are doing a roaring trade among sole traders and small businesses. These providers offer their services for a small monthly subscription, or sometimes for free if you are prepared to host adverts from their sponsors. Their services are both quick and cheap: most users can be online within hours of signing up.

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Also, for aspiring website owners who don’t want to pay a monthly fee, there are hundreds of cheap, ready-made Joomla! and WordPress templates available from independent developers for as little as £25.

BUT…

On paper a website template might seem an attractive option, especially if you’re working to a tight budget or need fast results. However, for B2B businesses there are some serious drawbacks to using these template services. In our opinion these negatives more than outweigh any potential gain. Here are the main reasons we feel you would be better off working with a professional web development team, such as our one at JDR.

1) Ownership Versus Rental

If you build your own website with the help of an agency, it is your site and you have complete ownership of it. Therefore, if you are unhappy with the service you receive from your web host, such as with their charges or load speed, then you can simply transfer the site to another provider. You can’t do this with most template sites, as you only rent the website, rather than own it. If the website loads slowly, or looks bad on mobile devices, or crashes each time you get too many visitors, then there is nothing you can do about it. If you choose to change providers then you have to start from scratch.

2) Bad Impression On Website Visitors

Unfortunately, as nice as template websites sometimes look, they still look like templates. Your template website will be similar, if not identical, to tens of thousands of others. For an SME this can give the wrong impression about your business, as templates are usually associated with individuals and small traders. You offer a unique service and USP to your customers, so your website should be individualised to reflect this. To make a good impression on your website visitors, you would be better served with a bespoke web build that expresses your unique company brand. Learn more about business brand with this great article - Learn The Importance of Creating a Strong Online Brand And How To Implement It.

3) Design Limitations

There are frustrating technical limitations to how far you can customise a website template, even with good services and some coding knowledge. Sooner or later you will hit an obstacle that prevents you implementing the functionality you need. So you either make do without, or try to fit your requirements to the capacity of the website – which is an upside down approach to web design.

4) No Benefit Of Experience

Working with a web design agency is a learning process, even if you are unfamiliar with code. In the process of building and marketing a website with a company such as JDR, you will become familiar with how websites are built, the principles of design and what constitutes a good website. The principle of dialogue and reciprocity is built into our consulting process, so that the result is a website that meets all your requirements. There is no equivalent process with a website template company. In most cases you will simply select from a catalogue of templates and never have personal contact with a web designer at all.

5) You Have To Write Your Own Content

Your new template website will probably come with boxes filled with generic ‘Lorem ipsum’ text that you will have to populate with content yourself. If you are a competent writer you may wish to do this, but many business owners simply don’t have the time. Furthermore, online content needs to be optimised correctly in order to boost conversions and search engine visibility. While it might take you days to write copy to fill the template’s pre-ordained boxes – without guaranteeing it will be suitable for web use – a professional copywriter could produce engaging marketing copy for your website in a matter of hours.

Poorly written copy leaves a bad impression with visitors and can affect your ranking on Google. At JDR we offer professional copywriting as part of our web development and marketing service (something that not all of our competitors do), so you can have high-performance content without the worry of sourcing it yourself.

6) No SEO

Template websites come with little or no on-page SEO options. This will negatively affect your ranking on Google, as an important part of SEO is the ability to adjust Meta Tags, page URLs, CSS images and other technical details. At JDR we are a marketing, as well as a web development agency, so we build all of our websites with technical SEO in mind. We can also make quick, on-page adjustments further down the line if you need to improve your search rankings or conversions. You won’t usually be able to do much with the underlying code on a template website, so your SEO options will be limited.

7) Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

CRO describes a group of activities designed to increase the chances of a website visitor converting to a lead and subsequently to a sale. An important part of this is optimising your written content, as we discussed above. It also involves making the website navigation easy to use, including prominent calls to action (CTA) buttons, and designing intuitive enquiry forms.

Unfortunately, the layout restrictions inherent in template websites tie your hands on what you can achieve. You won’t be able to place your CTAs and contact forms where you want them, and you are limited to text boxes for where you place your copy. Moreover, template website navigation trees are generic to all users, and will not be tailored to your own requirements. Visitors may therefore find it difficult to find the information they need when visiting your website.

The purpose Of A Website

These drawbacks of website templates shed some light on the purpose of having a website in the first place. Simply having an online presence is not the point. Your website is nothing more than a tool you use for gaining more customers for your business. It therefore needs to be part of a web marketing strategy in order to be successful. Template websites, no matter how professional looking or attractive, cannot provide the strategic approach, and therefore will not make you money.

For a website to attract visitors and then convert them into leads, attention needs to be paid to design, written content, technical SEO, call to actions (CTAs) and other factors. Working with an agency such as JDR will not only yield you a great looking website, but a hard-working site that brings in new customers and gives you a good return on your investment.

Could Your Current Website Be Giving You A Better ROI?

Whether you currently have a website based on a template or a bespoke design, it is a useful exercise to check how well it is performing. We have written a free Website Conversion Checklist to help you assess if there is room for improvement. Click here to claim your free copy today.

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