Web Templates: Replacing Designers?
I've seen articles (and websites) that suggest you can buy a website template and skip the expense of hiring a professional website designer. Recently, I read several testimonials from the very satisfied customers of a website template vendor that mentioned how quickly they were able to get their sites done. The template vendor commented that he/she had known people to complete their websites in around two hours.
With experiences and statements like these, it not surprising that more and more people are attempting to build websites themselves. I think that's great in a way. For those of us who are concerned about the trends in the web industry and community, it's great to see more people becoming web oriented and involved.
However, I think there is a misunderstanding by many of these people about what a website template really is ? and is not. At this point, I think it only fair that I should mention that I am a professional website designer (the person you supposedly don't need anymore). I should also mention that this is not my sole motivation for questioning this idea of templates replacing web designers. As a matter of fact, I think website templates are extremely useful. I recommend using them to my clients as a way of getting a great graphical look for their site. What I hope to convey is that template consumers need to know what they are and what they aren't getting with a template.
Consider an analogy for templates: pretty boxes for very important gifts. If you buy a pretty box, and put all the right stuff inside it ? won't everybody want to open the box and use the contents? Doing it yourself will save time and money ? so why not? Sounds good, and the people who wrote those testimonials would certainly think it was a good idea ? right?
But let's consider the contents of the box. Aren't you the best possible source for information about your company, organization, product or service? Of course you are! So the content of your box is bound to be great ? right? Well ? yes and no. Good web designers know that their clients are the best sources for the information that needs to be presented on their websites. However, they recognize that not everyone can organize that information in the optimal way for inclusion in a web page. If the contents in the box are wonderful, but jumbled, or hard to get out of the box, people may not like the box (or worse yet ? the owner of the box). Just as a badly considered gift (even a beautifully wrapped one) may offend someone, a poorly organized site can actually harm your efforts.
Take the analogy a bit further. Assume that all concerns about the content are dealt with: it's perfectly organized and you've got a knack for writing copy that would make most professional journalists green with envy! Voila: great looking presentation, content and organization! Now you've got it made ? or do you? Where is the box? Your audience needs to find this incredible box before they can open it.
A website template, no matter how beautifully designed or filled, is a box in the middle of a desert. Without adding content and description meta tags, titles, alternate content, proper use of text links and alternate navigation and registering the site with search engines, directories and obtaining useful links (to name but a few of the technical considerations), your pretty box may remain in the middle of that desert. It does no good for anyone if it isn't findable on the web.
A website template is a pretty box. Pretty boxes make a difference or we wouldn't all spend so much time wrapping all the gifts we give. Some people make their own boxes and wrapping paper ? and that's really great. But most of us buy mass-produced boxes and wrapping paper. It saves time and money. So do templates. But none of us would assume that boxes or wrapping paper would make up for a poor gift. Website templates make sense if they are kept in perspective as a specialization of labor in the production of websites. They are not however, a substitute for the experience, knowledge and judgment of professionals who have a vested interest in your success.
About The Author
William T. "Chip" Lane is the owner of Lane Web Design (http://www.lanewebdesign.com) a full-service web design and consulting firm located in Mebane, North Carolina.
You are welcome to republish this article as long as the link is kept active.
Website Sales: Discover 10 Mesmerizing Insider?s Tricks To Ignite Your Sales
Marketing is not an easy skill to acquire.
Tableless Web Designs: Why I Switched
Since I made the switch 6 months ago to a tableless design on my main site, I've noticed some interesting things: My search engine rankings have dramatically improved My bandwidth usage has dropped about 50-75% I can now make changes to the look and feel of my site easily by just changing the one file, the stylesheet. Let's look at why my search engine rankings improved. Now that I have less un-indexable code on my pages, the search engines can now spider my site quicker. Less code, more content, therefore a better ranking. Makes sense, doesn't it? Bandwidth costs money, and unless you have a really good hosting plan with lots of bandwidth, then your larger files will take up more room on your server, and take a lot longer to load. Tableless designs use up considerably less bandwidth and are more accessible. Every once in a while I may want to alter the look of my site. I like to change font colors, link colors, menu items, etc?Before I started using tableless designs, these changes took me hours to do. Now I just open up my stylesheet, make the changes I want, and in a few minutes I have my site updated with the new look and feel. It's so easy! For a client who wants to make their own changes, tableless designs could literally save them thousands on tech costs. Most of my clients still want sites with tables. I now give them the choice of either style. After all, the customer needs to be happy, right? Some people have the misconception that utilizing tableless designs means having a boring and less graphical site. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a look at one of my favorite websites: http://www.csszengarden.com/. At that site you can really appreciate what can be accomplished through css-based tableless designs. Beautiful! Make the switch to a more profitable, usable, and accessible website! Copyright 2005 - Karen Blundell
Creating A Quality Web Site Design!
In this article, I will attempt to cover the basics of creating a great quality web design template for your site. Now it's a known fact that the layout or "eye candy" as I put it will determine whether your visitors will stay more than 15 seconds or they will just become another statistic.
Free Online Tools to Design (and Maintain) Your Website
These days, it seems that everyone has a website. Unfortunately, many of these websites are either bland, or sloppily designed by people who don't understand how to use HTML effectively or are intimidated by it. And, they don't have the money to spend on a good page editor, so they limp along using the page templates that their website might provide, or they attempt to use programs like MS Word, which offers conversion to HTML. Yet, there are many free tools available that people can use to give their sites some extra polish that will put them a cut above most sites on the WWW. Here is a listing of three of my favorite online tools that will help you create and manage your site:
Why Not To Use Web Design Templates For Your Website
In today's age of fast food and high-speed Internet, a business may be tempted to take the "more convenient" route in launching a website ? buying a template and customising it.
Building a One-page Website
You've designed your logo, and you're ready to print your business cards and other marketing collateral materials. You want to include your website address (also called a URL) to build your credibility. However, you're not quite ready to write and design a full website. At the same time, you don't think it's a good idea to distribute your new printed materials showing your website URL and to have only a blank web page waiting for your potential client's inquiries. What to do?
Web Design for Dictators
No question about it, web design is an art.
The Technology May Change, But Human Nature Remains The Same
Let me repeat that..
Top Six Ways To Make Your Visitors To Hate YOU!
We will take a look at why your visitors may hate you maybe already do! There are many things that make YOUR visitors dislike you, but we take a look the top sex things that make your click the back button on their browser.
How To Give Your Business Credibility
Let's face it. Buying products and services from the Internet can be a bit intimidating.
Marketing Basics for the Webmaster
What is the relationship between Marketing and Web designing? How can a better understanding of Marketing help the web designer manage his business more profitably?
Creating a Basic Web Design Template
A "template" is simply a design format which you can apply to all (or most) of the pages in your web site. The first advantage of using a "template" system is that it allows you to make your most important design decisions at the beginning, and then just focus on content. The second advantage is that it allows you to quickly create new pages based on your standard design.
How to Convince Your Visitors to Return Often
One visit does not make a sale. Be sure to make your Web site attractive to your visitors so that they want to come back. You don't win their trust right away. It may take 4-7 visits before they buy.
A Landing Page is Not an Order Page (and why it matters)
To explain my point I need to first confuse the issue a bit (you'll see why): While a landing page is not an order page, it can, and in many cases should, contain the order form.
How To Get A Pay Raise From Your Web Site
How many of the visitors to your web site take the action you want them to take? Whether you want them to buy something from you, sign up for your newsletter, enter your sweepstakes, or give you contact information to follow up on, you want them to do something. The percentage of visitors who actually do that something is called your "conversion rate."
Affordable Web Design In Birmingham
If you have a business, big or small you may be thinking of getting yourself a website.
A Crash Course on Graphic Philosophy 101
Novice and professional graphic designers, we are aware that you know the basic principles of graphic philosophy. But then, as workers of art ? though digital and graphic art already borders in commercial arts, there's no harm in continuously improving our craft through constant study and practice, is there? Really great graphic designers I know have come to their status because of painstaking application and study of their past works.
Graphic Terms- The Basics Part I
You're almost set. The content of your website, e-book, or software is complete. Ready to put together your e-book or software on the market. In order to turn your prospect into buyer, the look of your e-cover is just as important as the content. What to do? If you're adventurous and seeking the how-to's of self-design below is a short list of terms you'll need to know. If you're considering having your e-cover professionally designed (smart move) the terms below will help you talk intelligently about your project.
An Ideal Home Business Home Page
From my personal experience of around two year as home business website operator as well as owner, I have spent enough time learning and unlearning. Observing other sites and constantly reading and contributing in online forums about managing a website.
Web Design: How To Get Your Visitors To Stay
Remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come"? In the world of Internet marketing, you not only want them to come, you want them to stay.