Why Using a Website Template Isn’t a Good Idea

head scratchIf you’re starting up a business or looking to revamp your existing website, what will you go for – a custom build or a template?

For many of us cost is everything and a template design is undoubtedly cheaper. But is it always the best choice?

Yes you can download them and stick in your content and a few images and, hey presto, you’ve got yourself a web presence without forking out fees for a web designer (or copywriter). But web designers exist for some very good reasons:

  • They understand the web
  • They understand how it works
  • Basically, they know what they’re doing.

Eric Brantner has written an interesting post on seohosting.com’s blog giving 5 Reasons Not To Use a Web Template. Although he does admit to having used them, Eric goes on to explain why they aren’t always a good idea.

1. You still have to be customised

Even though many of these templates are downloadable and ready to go, most of them are still going to have to be customised somehow to suit your design needs.  Unless you happen to be a whiz at HTML coding you’re still going to need a web designer.

2. Not the best for branding

You brand has to be recognisable online. If you use a template, that’s going to be tough because you’re just going to like thousands of other sites out there.

It will be much better to get a custom design that will make your brand stand out.

3. Restricted zone

The template isn’t going to be easy to tweak, plus you’re probably going to be tied to licensing agreements with the template designer which will govern how you use the website. You will also probably have to have a link back to the designer’s own website somewhere.

4. You’re not alone

Hundreds, possibly thousands of people have downloaded the same template as you. Do you really want to be seen as a generic design rather than as someone with your own identity?

5. Bad news for SEO

Many templates aren’t designed with SEO in mind so getting the search engine spiders to crawl your site could be difficult, and as for ranking…if it can’t be crawled you’re not going to rank.

Eric’s tips are very valid and if you’re considering downloading a template design it’s well worth holding fire and reading through this list again.

If you’re serious about marketing your brand online you’re going to have to make a serious investment. Cutting corners now will not pay off.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


#1 Martin on 04.27.11 at 11:06 am

Not sure I agree with this one as it really depends on where you source your template.

There are many companies that provide excellent templates that can be used with WordPress, Joomla, MT, Mambo etc etc that have been designed with SEO in mind and don’t require you to be a HTML whizz to make the necessary changes in order to use them and don’t require link backs to the design company. You can also stamp your own particular brand onto them, thereby making them unique.

The advantage of using a templated site that sits on a CMS is that you can get a very professional site at low cost, which can be ideal for startups and many small businesses.

So whilst perhaps in and ideal world it would be great to have a site designed for your own particular business, a templated site is a good option for many.

#2 admin on 04.27.11 at 11:26 am

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your comment, some very valid points. It’s always great to hear a balancing argument 🙂

I think you’re right – if you shop around you will be able to find a good template but you just have to be careful as there are a lot out there that don’t offer the features you mention.


Leave a Comment