4 min read
Did you know there are 1.9 billion websites out there? This number is increasing by the second. With so many websites on the World Wide Web, your company needs a completely custom site to feature your products and services in the best light possible. Your home builder or developer business is unique, and your website should be too.
Developing a completely custom site takes an experienced developer, a team of creative designers and your personal input and direction. For your website to meet and fulfill your needs, you need to participate in the design and functionality phases of programming. You simply cannot achieve a custom website when using a website template.
A website template is pre-built system for web designers to automatically generate web pages and sites. They use a predesigned code or a set of HTML webpages that anyone can use for their website. Although they require no extensive knowledge of programming, templates can cause serious issues for you down the road. Let’s take a look the issues you might face…
The most concerning issue website templates can bring you is impacting the security of your website. Many templates can be customizable through the additional of plugins. However, both templates and plugins are built by all different kinds of programmers.
It’s best practice to use as few plugins to your website as possible because plugin security can potentially be compromised and can open doors for hackers. The same goes for templates if created by unskilled developers.
The next big concern website templates may have is slow load time. Milliseconds are everything to a website and a website built on a template can cause a site to load slower than custom, clean coding due to bad coding or the use of too many plugins. In fact, a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7%. In addition, a two-second delay can increase bounce rates by a whopping 103%.
Website templates impact speed and load time because the entire template has to load before the user can interact with the website. Even the aspects of the template which aren’t in immediate use have to load before someone can fully view your site.
You might love the way a template looks and functions on your site, however, there is nothing stopping your competitors, or anyone else for that matter, from also using the same template. If your target audience notices your website looks strangely similar to another website, you may have a bigger problem on your hands.
Future development limitations can be another potential problem for your website. Each website template has been built by a web developer and each web developer has a different way of coding. By not having a uniform and clean code in the backend can cause costly problems in the future.
In order to adjust a website built on a template, your developer would need to understand the coding process of the original creator of the website template in order to learn ways to work around it.
The developer must adapt around the template to fulfill your needs as the client. It’s an unnecessary step which causes more time, more energy and more money on your part. If your website has custom code from the beginning, limitations would be reduced.
If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Some website templates might be appealing to implement but you need to consider your goals for creating the website to begin with.
I understand that you want your company’s website to be professional, on-brand and can be used to generate sales. The last thing you want is to take the “easy” route using a template rather than making the worthwhile investment in a professionally designed and built site.
We live in an ever-evolving world, especially in the technology sector. If the original creator of the website template doesn’t take the necessary steps to keep the website template updated, then the template has the potential to break.
This is due to ongoing updates to the basic site platform such as WordPress. If your website templates breaks, then it could take an extensive amount of time and money to fix correctly.
There might be hidden fees associated with website templates which weren’t advertised when you first downloaded it. For example, if you have new content you would like to get uploaded to your site, then depending on the template you use, it might cost extra. It would definitely cost extra for your programmer to even understand the template before uploading your desired content. These can also be annual usage fees associated with a template.
If you are currently running a SEO program for your business, then you know how valuable it is. Unfortunately, website templates can be bad for SEO because templates built on a poor structure can confuse search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!. This is because when search engines crawl the web for content, they may encounter issues if there is poorly developed code behind the content.
Don’t get me wrong, not all website templates are poorly structured. However, also keep in mind website speed also impacts SEO and like we discussed earlier, website templates may be affected by slow page load time. You want to give your company the best possible chance of ranking high on the SERP with SEO and that’s not possible if you’re using a poorly structured template.
Overall, I do not recommend using website templates for your website. If you currently have a template functioning on your website, then maybe it’s time to consider a new website. Websites become dated after roughly 3-5 years, give or take.
So, when you know it’s time for a new website be sure you hire a team of experts to develop a custom design and development for you and avoid the potential problems templates can pose.
Are you using a template now or have you in the past? If so, did you encounter any of the issues I’ve covered here in this article?
About Terry Zelen
Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications
Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.
He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.
Fill out the form below to subscribe for the The Punch List Newsletter. We'll send our latest news & industry insights, directly to your inbox.