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Custom Websites or Templates?

Let’s face it, everyday more and more of these “template website distributors” are popping up all over the place that basically have the same templates for sale at different prices. Is there something wrong with this picture? Don’t get me wrong, the templates themselves look great and all, but what customers don’t realize is there is a catch to these “templates”.

– The price. Yeah is says “Only $65 for this template!” but what people don’t realize is that there is still a lot of work involved. I myself have seen a few of these “flash templates” in my time and I will tell you first hand, they aren’t as easy as they look!…

– Are they Unique? NO! They are exactly what they are called: Templates. Woulnd’t you image that if the template was such a great design, that you aren’t the only one who purchased it? There is no real way to tell how many people before you really have the template.

– “It says Unique/Custom Template for $2500” – What that really means is that they will stop selling it on “Their” site. Who knows what other websites will continue to sell it.

– “So now I bought my Zipped up Template, now what?” – Now the fun begins! First you need a domain name, then hosting (which if you are doing any sort of credit card processing or merchant account, now you will an SSL Certificate on top of hosting), next you will need to either learn how to design, programming, CSS, CMS, etc…. or hire a website development company.

  1. Andrew Long

    Couldn’t agree more – nothing is a cheap as it seems. The templates are cheap for a reason; they’re either not very good or they’ve already sold 10,000 of them!

    Why you want your online identity to be the same as 10,000 other people!!?

  2. Andrew

    All true but it has to be said the target market is really small local businesses who just need somewhere to put thier name & telephone number. You don’t need a lot of features for that.

  3. Tomas

    Hi that’s true,

    all the templates really look great, but they are SAME! Also as it was mentioned in the article, you need a professional designer/programmer to make it run.

  4. Allen Zuk

    If you are going to go for a template-based site, and a unique design isn’t important to you — for example, an author site, or a topic-related blog as a promotional piece for a non-fiction title — this should not really cost you anything. You can set up a free blog at various sites, such as Wordrpress.com for example, and for a small fee they will allow you to use your own domain name. With that service, you don’t get the capacity to add all the available plugins for advanced functionality, nor can you customize the design, but you do get a limited range of features as well as a choice of free templates.

    Once you’re ready to move up to a site with a custom design, you can export your content from an existing WordPress.com site to a custom WordPress installation if you wish. This does cost money to set up, but you should NOT be getting a template that has been used on other sites. A reputable site design/development company will involve you in the design process so that you are getting a unique design that suits your purposes.

    A final note: the term “template” is often used even for custom designs, because this refers to the template that is used on all site pages as the overall design for a content management system installation (like WordPress or Drupal). It doesn’t necessarily mean that the design has been used before. But be sure to ask the company about this in advance!

    Hope this helps!

  5. Andrew K

    Agree, in the early days we used to buy these and customize for the small clients but by the time you work around the table layouts add more css it would have been cheaper to make an original one. It also becomes a total nightmare when the client want to move some areas around.

    The flash templates are a best to edit, hard and when the client has more or less text than shown in the template it becomes a real pain.

  6. Venzano

    I think is a good thing….there is an offer in the market for people to have more, easy an quickly website solution….sometime web designer take so long to create something unique (nobody is unique in internet) and not practical, for some companies is the right solution

  7. Ann Padgett

    There are also a lot of template systems out there that can be purchased, which don’t require any necessary skills or knowledge to implement because the company that it was purchased from handles all that. However, those systems tend to be very bad for search engine optimization and if they are using masked domains you may even have problems setting up pay-per-click campaigns. Cheaper is not always better, you get what you pay for. Have a strategy and know what goal you are working towards.

  8. Hayley

    Hi, I’m an affliate for Global Domains International, I’m not here to sell, just to point out the simplest templates ive found are through GDI, they also provide the URL and host the site for just $10 per month, with no tie in. So perfect for a small business user with no knowledge of website hosting etc, it’s all there in one place.

    I agree, the templates aren’t unique, however a lot of small businesses just want an online presence and somewhere to send their customers to!

  9. Joao Da Silva

    This is as simple as if you are serious about your online presence you will hire a designer and create something from scratch with the need of your users in mind, your goals will drive the development and the final product will not only much better but something you will get proud off.

    @Hayley i agreed with that small business may just want a quick site to send customers somewhere, but web designers/agencies nowadays are more like a partner in this web market not just the “guys” that know css and html which can put something together.

    I always try to guide my clients through the process of getting an online presence, but also something that their business will grow on a long run.

    Anyway, good post

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