A lot of the work we do is to help businesses move beyond their first generation website, usually created my themselves, a family member, a neighbor or a student. One of the questions that comes up frequently is, can the website owner use a purchased template to upgrade their website or do they have to go with a custom website design?
Review the Template Carefully
The reason a business owner would use a purchased template would be to either save money or time on the website redesign. The question I would ask is: are you really going to save time and money with this template? The best way to make this happen is to make sure you can use the template you have purchased as is, with minimal changes.
Before you purchase the template, I would check a couple of things.
- What type of website was it created for? Don’t buy a template for a Joomla or a WordPress site, if your website is not one of those platforms. You will end up paying for a lot of extra programming time to clean up the code. Try to find one to match your website platform, if you aren’t finding anything you like, stick to an HTML only template, they are easier to adapt to other platforms.
- What is included in the template purchase? I would make sure the template gives you some kind of source file for the graphics they use. This would be a Photoshop file or maybe an Illustrator file (.psd or .ai). Otherwise, if any graphics need to be tweaked, you will be paying for extra time to touch up photo files like jpg, gif or png and they will never look as good as the original.
- Asses the navigation. Print out your template and relabel the navigation or clicks to match your current website content. Lay the piece of paper down on your desk and pretend your figure is your mouse. Try to click on links that currently appear on your homepage. Does your current content fit? Can you visualize how the content will fill out the template with your companies’ information? Is there room to add more or change things out as your business grows?
If Can’t Use As Is, Go Custom
The minute you start changing your pre-made template is the minute you loose all your time and money advantage. The template could actually cost you more money if it does not adapt well to your current website platform, because you have just created a scenario where your web developer is now editing code written by someone else. Sometimes it can take less time to create brand new code then work with code from an unknown source.
Do you have a template your are considering? We would be happy to take a look and it and let you know if it will work your site. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and taken advantage of our initial free consultation.