The Pros and Cons of Using a Template Website

December 20, 2022
Example template website on laptop on table with coffee, phone and notebook

In any industry, templates are used to simplify processes, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

In recent years, the amount of services that provide website templates has expanded considerably, 

By using these various template designs, these providers make the argument that companies and business owners no longer have to invest time and money building a custom website. Instead, they can simply use one of their templates to easily build their own site to save time and money. 

While this option sounds tempting, template websites are far from perfect.

Below, we’ll offer an overview of template websites, highlight some of their advantages and disadvantages, and explain why investing in a custom built website is still the best option. 

What Is A Template Website? 

Rather than build a website from scratch, website templates offer you an array of pre-designed layouts that you can use to build your website. 

Available in both free and paid versions, these templates range from basic designs to layouts with themes that match specific industries (restaurants, boutiques, various service providers, etc). 

Some of the most popular providers of website templates are Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy. However, WordPress leads the industry with first-rate web template designs while Shopify is often the go-to choice for ecommerce website template designs.  

What Are The Benefits Of A Template Website?

As with any template, those used for websites do allow businesses to enjoy quite a few benefits that are not offered by the custom website design methods. 

Among the advantages that template websites have over traditional web build options, these are the most enticing: 

  1. Less Expensive – Since the website framework is pre-built, there’s no need to hire an internal or external developer to build a site from the ground up. 
  2. DIY Approach – Rather than hire a developer to design the website, these templates often feature simple drag-and-drop interfaces that let anyone act as their own developer. They can simply drag and drop images, copy and add logos into the designated areas and easily build their own site. 
  3. Responsive From The Start – When building a new website or overhauling an existing site, developers have to create a design that is formatted for any device. In other words, it has to look good and work well for desktop, smartphones and tablets. Website templates from some providers (like WordPress) are often built to be responsive for all of these devices, so no extra steps are required. 
  4. Expedited Launch Time – Custom-built sites often have bugs that need to be fixed before the site is launched. Using a template essentially removes the testing element out of the website building process and allows companies and business owners to launch their new website almost immediately. 
  5. Additional Third-Party Applications – Rather than have a web developer write code to add additional functionality to a site, many template websites can be enhanced with third-party applications for form submissions, chatbots, etc. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Template Website?

Although all of the benefits listed above seem cost effective and more efficient on the surface, all is not what it seems. 

Some of these same perks may turn out to be quite problematic in the long run. Unfortunately, these problems may result in additional expenses, poor user experience, website downtime, and potentially loss of conversions and revenue.

A few of the most common problems with website templates are:

  1. Limited Branding Potential – Although templates eliminate the need to build the site’s framework from the ground up, they also offer little room for customization. This lack of customization can impede a company’s branding potential. Without customization, the finished website may not capture the organization’s look, tone and overall appeal.  
  2. Not Unique – Since these templates are often not very customizable, the finished site looks similar to all of the other businesses that picked the same template. While the messaging and color may be different, the overall layout is boring and doesn’t stand out from the rest. 
  3. Lack Of Support – Things can and will go wrong with any website. The quicker a company can react to and resolve the issue, the less of an impact it will have on their user experience and conversions. However, when problems occur with a template website, there is no immediate support system established to resolve the issue quickly. That means the site can be negatively impacted for extended periods of time, resulting in a poor user experience and possible loss of conversions and revenue. 
  4. Slower Site Speed – As we previously mentioned, website templates easily integrate with numerous third-party applications. Unfortunately, those same apps may slow the site down. If the site takes a long time to load, users become frustrated and leave to visit a competitor. Also, a slow site could impact a site’s search engine ranking as site speed is a Google consideration. 
  5. More Vulnerable – Another problem with template sites is that their reliance on third-party applications makes them more vulnerable to hacking, malware and other cybersecurity threats. This can not only affect the site, it may also compromise the privacy of customers who have previously used the site. 
  6. Not Structured For SEO – Although themed templates may make it easier to design a nice-looking website, they are often not structured for optimal organic SEO capabilities. As Google’s John Mueller mentioned in a recent interview, website themes can impact SEO if they are not properly structured with the appropriate headings, alt text for images, security certificates, mobile responsiveness, etc. Unfortunately, many of the themed templates offered by providers lack the components necessary for SEO best practices. 

Why Build A Custom Website? 

As you can see, building a template website is a great idea in theory – but less so in execution. 

To avoid the potential pitfalls stated above and enjoy a website that truly reflects your company’s messaging, meets its business needs and delivers a satisfying user experience, we recommend investing in a custom website. 

Unlike the “cookie cutter” approach that template sites offer, an experienced agency that designs custom sites understands that each company needs a unique site that meets their specific needs. 

Some of the many advantages of a custom website include: 

  1. A built-from-scratch site that takes into account both the needs of the business and its customers. 
  2. A framework structured to adhere to industry standards (responsiveness, faster site speeds, etc) for SEO best practices and improved search engine ranking.
  3. The expertise and knowledge of a skilled web development team that consults with your organization throughout the entire development process, performs exhaustive testing and quality assurance before the site launch, and provides continued support after the site goes live.

A “one site suits all” approach can’t deliver those current and future benefits. 

Yet, a custom website can. 

Results Repeat Specializes In Custom And Semi-Custom Website Designs 

If, after reading this article, you see the value in choosing the custom-built option for your new website or existing website redesign, you’ll be happy to know that Results Repeat specializes in custom website designs

Our team will discuss your business needs to get a better understanding of your website’s goals and ensure that it appeals to your target audience as well. 

They’ll communicate with you frequently to keep you updated during the entire process. And before the site is launched, they’ll walk you through the backend of your website so you and your staff are familiar with every facet of your website. 

In addition to our custom website services, we also offer a semi-custom website service. This service streamlines the development process by using templates. Unlike the template website providers, our semi-custom option offers more customization to reflect your branding and meet your business needs and user expectations. 

Our semi-custom sites are structured to adhere to SEO standards for improved ranking and be less vulnerable to security threats than those non-customizable template websites. 

Plus, you’ll know who to connect for website support in the event of any issues or questions. 

To learn more about our custom and semi-custom website development options, please contact our team today!

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