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Blog: article

Website Templates - why we don't offer shrink-wrapped websites

05 2012

by Nigel Harding

It sounds easy doesn’t it? You choose a website template, insert your logo and away you go. We don’t knock out websites based upon templates and here’s why…

Your business is unique, your website should be equally unique

Your business is unique and, we think, is deserving of a unique website. You should be looking at something that represents your uniqueness and sets you apart from the crowd. This should be a part of your branding, how others perceive you and your products or services. If you use a template or predefined theme then (a) someone may be using that exact same theme and (b) you are immediately constrained by that theme.

What kinds of templates or themes are we talking about?

WordPress is the most popular Blogging/Contenet Management System. There are free or paid for themes. Other systems are Joomla, Drupal and there are many more out there.

Surely it’s cheaper to use a theme?

At face value it seems that alot of the work is already done for you. However, in our experience, every client that we have worked with has requested some very specific changes to our original design concept or has some very specific features that are not catered for by a templated solution. Even seemingly small requests (I’d like my enquiry button to be moved, to use a different colour, to be bigger on the contact page than it is on the home page, to send you to another enquiry form page etc) start to move away from the out-of-the-box template system. It can take a considerable amount of time for your web developer to make simple amendments in a complicated or unfamiliar template framework, much longer than if it were coded from scratch in the first place.

Don’t the plugins do all of the work for you?

Ideally yes. However the biggest issue for your web developer is balancing the security risks of using older versions against upgrading to later versions and running into compatibility issues. We used Joomla for a client’s ecommerce website and used the VirtueMart plugin for the ecommerce functionality. We went to the trouble of making 3 installation attempts of Joomla with VirtueMart and had to roll back to earlier versions to get a working combinations. That 3 to 4 hours of head scratching could have been better employed using another solution (such as Magento where ecommerce is already integrated into the system). At the end of the day time is money and anything that results in a more efficient and reliable route to a solution will be cheaper, in the long run, for you.

Can’t I just choose a cheap theme and adapt it?

This is certainly possible but, as above, this can often create more problems. Cue another client story “I want my website to look just like this template”. However the client later wanted a bespoke gallery, a change of design and structure and we were then working within the constraints of a template system to achieve all of this. It all became very time consuming and, again, time is money.

Our Approach

We are not in the business of just churning out websites. To us, that simply isn’t good enough, it’s a lazy approach and there is alot of mediocrity out there. We want to add value to our clients’ businesses by helping them have the best websites possible. That is why we generally steer away from templates and produce unique designs that really support our clients’ business needs and help with their branding and image.