Thinking of Using a Template to Build Your Website?

Why cheap or free usually costs much more in the long run.

To me there are two definitions of a template. One is the kind that experienced developers build that is used to construct the design of an entire site. This is useful when you want to make a change to the site. There’s only one file to make a change to the entire site versus the “old school” page-by-page way. The other type of template is the one you can buy inexpensively or get for free online from companies that help promise to save you time and money. There’s a reason they are cheap or free. They are built page-by-page, usually for aesthetic reasons, and really don’t save any time or money for people that have busy lives and/or are running companies. I recently worked on a site that the client requested that we use a template they found. It had a nice design and used a Photoshop document and Flash file. To say it was a bit messy is complimenting the builder of the template. None of the layers were labeled, there were not any notes or comments included in the files, no supporting file, and no programming for functionality. Sure, everything looked nice but once loaded on a server, it couldn’t do anything. Due to the fact that all of the pages were built independently, in order to make a simple change to something like the information within the footer of the site, you would have to go page-by-page to make this simple edit. While it may have seemed cheaper to go this route, I mean why not…you don’t have to pay a designer/developer to build it; in the long run it took more time to clean up the mess than it would have taken to build the site from scratch by an experienced designer/developer. What could be worse than having to work in someone else’s mess? Explaining to a customer why this didn’t save them the money they thought it would and why the site has so many limitations. Lesson learned on this…may the buyer beware – if it seems like it is too good to be true, than it probably is. It’s always a good idea to pay professionals to do what they do best.