Web development has come a long way since the internet was created. Sounds of dial up still haunt my dreams. Web developers that build from scratch have some seriously mad skills. They can make amazing things happen. I’ve been learning to code myself this past year and it’s truly amazing what code can do.
Sometimes, a built from scratch site can be a bit over-complicated. As I said, I’m learning to code on my own, so why is my website in Squarespace? Well, because templates have their advantages, too. Here are a few reasons to give a template some serious consideration.
1 // No Surprises
With a template, you’re able to view the layout and see it in action so you know what you’re getting upfront. Plus, it will help you visualize the content and graphics that you need to create to make the site your own.
2 // Built-In Functionality
When you’re using a template, you know that all of the basics will be included. Responsive site, check. Blog sidebar, check. Call to action buttons, check. Some elements are template-specific, but again, you’ll know up-front what is included.
3 // Simplicity
Templates are built with simplicity in mind. If you need to edit copy, change graphics or add products, it’s all very easy when using a template. Plus, everything will be consistent across the website and it will be easy for your customer to navigate. Win / Win.
4 // User Experience
Templates take the most common website elements and put them in an organized layout for consistency and good user experience. They are tested by the creators and used by many. So, you know that it’s been built with the user in mind and that it’s a layout that will work.
5 // Customization
Okay, not everyone will agree with this one. I’m a firm believer that you can make a template your own by using unique content and creating your own style. Sure, you might be able to tell that my site is a Squarespace template. But, I don’t mind one bit. Because I’ve made it my own by creating custom graphics and a style that fits me. Plus, there are always workarounds to customize even more with a little CSS knowledge.
In my last link love post, I called out an article from Kissmetrics on the importance of simplifying your website. As a user, couldn’t agree more. I want to find something quickly, without flashy things distracting me. If I can’t, I’m leaving. The most important point from this great article:
Read the full article for all 13 tips to simplify your website.
So, is "template" a dirty word?
Perhaps to some, yes. But only you can decide what's right for you and your business. Don't let the template hates get you down. If you’re ready to redesign or build a new website, don’t count out templates. Keeping it simple will be good for you and your customers’ sanity.