I find it funny that some companies state “we don’t use templates”, as if there is something wrong with template-based websites.
Let’s talk about websites in general. How many of you actually know if the website you are visiting is a template or is a full-blown custom website? Do you have any idea of the average length of time a visitor spends on your website? Statistically speaking, it’s not very long. Users often leave web pages within an average of 10 to 20 seconds; however pages with a clear value and proposition can hold a visitor’s attention for much longer. So…you have 10 to 20 seconds to grab someone’s attention to try and get your message across or sell your product or service.
Let’s talk about web design firms. You have some firms that do nothing but templates. Then you have others that consider themselves boutique firms that only do custom websites. Lastly, you have companies who produce websites in either form based solely on the needs and wants of the client. (Mayer Branding does both).
Templates in general are cheaper because most of the labor-intensive coding work has already been done for the designer. Sure you may want to modify the colors, images, and certainly add all of your content. Templates can even be customized to give more of a personal look and feel and be tailored to the client’s specific taste. Templates can even be completely custom-designed (which leads more to the custom website design arena).
Custom websites (whether they are based from a template or completely hand coded) take much more time and subsequently cost more. Just to put things in perspective, the website you’re on now is based from a template. Sure there are some custom features and things we added, but it’s still a template nonetheless.
The question you need to start asking yourself is, “Do I care if it’s a template or not”. From a business owner’s standpoint, I could care less if it’s a template or a custom website as long as the website looks good and displays the content I need. Even if a template is used, it’s not going to look identical to someone else’s.
Sure, I could blow thousands of dollars on a huge custom website, I could… But again, you have 10 to 20 seconds to reach your audience. That’s it. Just because you pay someone to build a custom website and spend thousands of dollars on it, doesn’t mean the website will be liked more or increase your 10 to 20 second average. Keep in mind that some companies claim they do “custom websites” and really just build themselves a template and reuse it over and over again claiming it’s custom when in fact, it’s not. You may also find that your “custom” website doesn’t have the same features or cool effects that a template does because of inexperienced developers.
I’ve seen the portfolios of many companies who claim their work is “custom” and guess what? More than 50% of the sites look like garbage. Just because it’s “custom” doesn’t mean it will look good and gain any more attention than a template.
Costs.. yup.. it’s all about the money. In this terrible business climate we find ourselves in, cost comes into play – big time. As I stated, templates tend to be cheaper while custom websites cost a lot more. At Mayer Branding, we give the customer plenty of options. Based on the budget that is presented, we show the client the different directions we can go and ultimately let them make the decision about how much money they want to spend. I think it’s better to give customers the option rather than sticking with one certain path… I know if I were the client, I would appreciate that.