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Are web templates or web designers better for your ecommerce site?

September 5, 2014 • By

Designing your own website for ecommerce is a lot easier than you might first imagine. There are web-building tools and programs available everywhere that allow you to create a full website without knowing a lick of programming or coding. But while building a website on your own using pre-built templates and themes will make the whole process simpler and faster, is it really worth it? Or would hiring a dedicated web designer be a better route to take?

1. Templates

Pre-built templates are nothing more than web designs that have already been completed and are awaiting someone to plop in some text and pictures. Many web hosts and ecommerce providers like Shopify offer templates to their clients to use in creating their ecommerce website. This is a great resource for more Shopify reviews.

Pros

Cheaper, Easier, Faster: Using a web template is incredibly easy. All you need to do is find one you like and fill in the blanks. Adding text and images is all you really need to do to get your website ready for the Internet, although resizing the images might be required and that could take a little more work. As for price, you can’t beat templates; Entheos Web mentions that most templates will cost between $30 and $65 where a custom built site could be thousands. If you are using templates offered by your ecommerce or web host, then you might not have to pay anything if they are part of your package.

No Programming Know-how Needed: Arguably the best benefit, using a web template doesn’t require you to have experience in CSS or Java. You don’t need to learn how to code and program to build a site using a web template, you can just find one you like and add in your info. Templates are even good for beginner web designers as tweaking them can help teach how the code works, states CSS Tricks.

Cons

Not Unique: Since templates are easy to use and inexpensive, it’s almost guaranteed someone else is using the same template for their website. The Web Showroom says there are templates you can purchase and choose to block other people from buying, but any who purchased it previously will still have it to use.

Limitation on Customization: Customizing templates is certainly possible, but the level of customization available is limited. The more you want to fiddle and tweak a template, the more coding experience you’ll need. The Web Showroom also mentions that some templates use old code that isn’t optimized for some browsers. This means your website might not load properly for some people.

2. Web Designers

Hiring a web designer might be a better choice for your business, especially if you want something custom and you don’t have any skill in coding or programming. There are a lot of designers out there to choose from though, so put some thought into it.

Pros

Custom Built and Unique: If you want a unique and different website, a web designer is capable of creating whatever you want. If you ask for A, they can give you A. If you ask for Z, they can give you Z. They’ll also make sure your A and Z stand out from anyone else’s. Web Page Mistakes mentions that a custom built website will also be optimized for search engines, meaning Google and the like will pick it up easier and place it higher in their results.

Grows with You: Adaptability and scalability are important. Times change and your business needs to be able to change with them. A custom built website will be able to grow with you and your business. As priorities or needs change in your business, your website can be updated and shifted to make sure it always matches what you need.

Cons

Time and Money: Unsurprisingly, a custom built website is going to be a lot more expensive than building one with a template. Depending on what you want, the costs can easily reach into the thousands. Building a custom site from scratch will also take time. Don’t expect to see a completed product for a while, coding and debugging is time-consuming work.

Managing Your Site: A template based site will most likely be small and unobtrusive, something a web host can deal with on its own. But a custom built site will have more data and require more maintenance so you’ll need to figure out how to manage it. Web hosts usually offer options, but Web Page Mistakes suggests requesting a content management system be implemented on your site.

Conclusion

Using a web designer and using templates can both be your best route depending on your situation. Do you want a really fancy website with a lot of bells and whistles? Or are you just looking for something simple and functional? You need to think about what you and your business need in an ecommerce site and pick the route based on that.

header image courtesy of Can Bilgay Şahin

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