By Emele Maisey
Some small businesses find that using a template design to get their Web site up and running is like a godsend, but for others it can turn into a hassle.
Take into account all the pros and cons below and see if you think a template Web site is right for you. There's really no right or wrong answer; it all depends on your business needs, experience and how you see the site growing in the future.
Advantages of a Template Site
Choice of Designs — There are hundreds of template designs to choose from online. You don't have to envision the kind of Web site you want created and then describe it to the designer. Instead, what you see is what you get. Because the template is premade, you can also “test drive” the design beforehand to see how visitors will navigate around your site and how it all goes together.
Ready to Go— You can start building your Web site more or less instantly. You don't have to wait for the designer to build the site. Instead, with a template, as soon as you have paid, you get a download link and can then get started adding your content and images. You could have your site up and running in a matter of hours!
Inexpensive— Some templates are free, others you have to pay for, but compared to custom Web site design, template design is an inexpensive way to get your business online.
Disadvantages of a Template Web Site
Limitations— As your business grows, you will want to expand your Web site. With a template this may be difficult. Let's say you choose a Web site template that has limited space for navigation links. In the beginning, those seven spots were fine for linking to your home page, contact, about and four product pages. But as you add more pages and sections where are you going to link to them?
Unoriginal Design — Some Web site templates are plain and unoriginal; they generally don't have the “wow factor” of a custom-made site. Plus one template design can be downloaded multiple times. Sure, you can add in your own logo and change the colors, but the design is not going to be unique to you and may look similar to John Doe's.
Knowledge — Do you know how to optimize images, how to make a HTML link and how to add shopping cart buttons? Do you have a Web site building program such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver? With custom Web site design the designer can insert all your images and content into the site as well as get the shopping cart up and running. With a template design you will have to do all of that yourself or hire someone else to do it.
About the Author
Emele is a Web site designer and small business owner. She first started her small ecommerce Web site selling handmade cards and gifts back in 2004. She then opened her own Web design and search engine optimization business in 2008 to help other small business owners succeed online.