Part 3 - 4 Disadvantages of Using a Website Template
This is the third blog in our series on the elements that make up an outstanding, effective and engaging homepage for your company.
There are three basic elements that make up a homepage that works best for your user:
In our first blog we discussed the design aspects of your homepage and how important they are in creating the overall message that you want your company to convey. In many cases, it is ultimately to promote yourself as a brand and sell a product or service.
Our third blog is going to focus on the technical components that actually make up a homepage; the parts that exist inside your website and deposit your content onto the World Wide Web.
It may seem like a simple process, but the world of coding, wire framing and designing a homepage for a website is much more complicated than it seems. It is actually probably the most important part of your homepage.
WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS TECHNICAL STUFF?
Without getting into the entire realm of creating an all-inclusive inbound-driven website, it would be good to understand just a little bit about how a website works.
The first step is to have an idea of your company’s overall goal for your website. Knowing what you want to achieve BEFORE you go about the construction of your company website can save a lot of money later on.
Gather your company stakeholders and make a few decisions:
- Do you want to sell a product?
- Are you going to represent your services?
- Will you be showcasing your talent?
- Who are you marketing to?
Having a clear idea of what you want your website to do, and who you want to attract will have an enormous impact on how it is constructed.
After you decide the purpose of your website and your ideal audience, gaining an understanding of what a website truly does is also important. It is more than just a few interesting pages a visitor goes to on their computer to see something they are looking for. A website is also a communication device and a technological tool.
A COMMUNICATION DEVICE
Your website is going to communicate information to your:
- Buyer persona
- Ideal buyer
- Website visitor
A website is also designed to communicate with the online world:
- Search engines
- Social platforms
- Analyzing data
Designing your website and homepage for communicating first with your buyer persona in mind, and second, with your online technologies in mind is essential in a good experience for both sides.
A TECHNOLOGICAL TOOL
Your website is also a highly technological tool that is designed using html code.
In general, once you understand the goal of your website you put together a wireframe; a blueprint of the website. When your website is in the coding process, make sure
you get approval from your stakeholders on how your website looks during the wireframing process. It is easier to make changes before the coding starts.
Once the wireframes are done, a sitemap needs to be developed to understand how the site will interact between its pages.
Everything begins to come together when the coding meets images and other graphic design elements and takes their proper places within the wireframe.
It might be good to point out that no one gets it right the first time. In fact, there will always be changes and elements that do not work together.
Most people don’t consider the technological aspects of a homepage. They want to know:
- Does the page look good?
- Do the buttons take the visitor where they need to go?
- Is the content engaging and valuable?
However many people overlook the backend. It is here where everything must work together. This is where the search engines crawl. There are many reasons why your homepage may never be found:
- Broken links
- Invalid meta tags
- Incorrect page titles
- Damaging SEO components
The problem is, if your website looks great but no one finds it, does it really matter?
4 DISADVANTAGES OF USING WEBSITE TEMPLATES
Many website designers out there are using templates and template sites to create websites.
Consider your website a container that holds all the information that your company chooses to put in it. This container is opened whenever a visitor chooses to come to your site. When a stranger comes to your homepage there are many components that come together to send them the message you want to convey.
If you don’t think you need a webmaster to create your homepage, much less the rest of your website, you might want to think again.
Disadvantage 1 - No Maneuverability
Templates are great for content heavy sites with no real product to sell; they are primarily static. However, websites created using templates are considered “heavy” in the tech world and the code used to create templates make maneuvering throughout a website via CTA’s and using things like retail shopping carts very difficult.
Disadvantage 2 - Making Changes Is Difficult
In addition, when using a template to create a website, making basic changes to the website’s design can be difficult and limiting. When you use templates you also run the risk of having the same basic design as another website out there – even one of your competitors.
Disadvantage 3 - Less Crawlability
According to a whitepaper written by VisualIT.com, using templates also decreases your website’s searchability by Google, Bing and other search engines. They simply find it harder to crawl template-based designs that are weighty and code heavy.
Disadvantage 4 - More Load Time
One of the other things that is important to search engines is load time. If you have too much unnecessary code it will slow the load times way down. In addition to not getting any search engine crawls, your visitors aren’t going to stick around long enough to wait for your pages to load.
GET A WEBMASTER & CREATE A WEBSITE USING CODE
Using coding language and wire framing to create a website you, the business owner, are in charge of what your site looks like and how you want to operate it. The complexity of the website you want will determine the kind of webmaster you will need.
It is very important that you pick one with a specialty in the type of website that you are designing.
For example if your website will be database heavy, you most likely will need someone who understands MySQL or the database you choose.
MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS MOBILE READY
Today, according to a Pew Research Study, more than 55% of adults in the United States who own a cell phone use it to go online, up from 31% in 2009. These statistics don't include teenagers who have cell phones.
More and more people are accessing websites via their mobile devices. It is critical that your site be mobile responsive. Some templates claim to be mobile ready, but be very careful to make sure that your website renders as you want it to on a variety of mobile devices, as well as a variety of web browsers.
There are many technical elements to a website, including your homepage. They are a challenge even for an experienced coder. Like working on an automobile, you can get yourself into trouble quickly if you do not know what you are doing. While I encourage everyone to learn how to code, it is important to take it in small steps and work your way up to a full website design. Do not be afraid to ask an expert for help.