Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pros and Cons of Using a Template-Based Website

When you set up a website for your business, or decide that it's time to do a complete overhaul of your existing site, you'll be faced with a number of design decisions. Much of the focus will be on how your new site should look and how people will interact with it, and rightly so. As the internet "face" of your resume writing business, these are very significant issues.

But you also need to decide how your website is going to function behind the scenes, and choose the structure and framework on which your website will be built. If you are using a popular framework such as WordPress, Joomla, or perhaps using one of the pre-built websites that your hosting provider offers, you'll be using what is known as a "template." Using website templates provides a number of pros and cons that you should carefully consider before going forward.

Most resume writers equate the word "template" with "bad" -- i.e., a Microsoft Word resume template. Templates are really much more than that, however. They're simply structure. If you customize the template, it can simply be a good foundation upon which to build. In my book, "Write Great Resumes Faster," I talk about using a template that simply has placeholders for the information you want to include in the resume (often, advanced formatting tricks -- like section dividers.) In the same way, a website template can offer advanced customization features as well.

By the way, "Write Great Resumes Faster" is the October special report offered in the website. Join the Bronze level for just $10 a month, and you'll get access to the $14 "Write Great Resumes Faster" book as just one of your membership benefits for the month.

"Pros" of Using a Web Template
One advantage of using a web template is that you can get your website up and running much more quickly than if you were starting from scratch. A web template is usually ready to go right out of the box, or very close to it -- you still need to customize the template for your business name, contact information, and the like, but you're starting from framework.

Because they save you time, templates are also likely to save you money. There's a good chance you can find a free or open source template to fit your needs, or that is already included in the cost of your web hosting package. But even if you decide to purchase a template, it is likely to be significantly less expensive than either hiring a website programmer to build your site from scratch, or trying to learn to do so yourself.

Templates that are in wide usage by other websites are also likely to be stable and less likely to break down. Any bugs or defects in the code are likely to be discovered and possibly remedied by other users. Some popular templates even have discussion board communities on which you can find tips on maximizing the effectiveness of the template.

I've managed (but not built from scratch) Joomla and Wordpress-based sites, and although there is a learning curve, I found it fairly easy to edit existing content (especially changing out existing text) and even adding new pages.

Cons of Using a Website Template
On the other hand, popular templates suffer from a significant disadvantage because when a template is popular, it means that there are likely a number of other websites that look quite similar to how yours would look. Many businesses know that their success is going to depend, at least in part, on their ability to stand out from their competitors. Sometimes trying to start with a template and then undertake significant modifications winds up breaking a template, so you're back to square one.

In addition, although there are many reputable and trustworthy sources for website templates, there are also some sources that could wind up significantly damaging your business. Hackers and computer criminals have been known to take templates and add short snippets of malicious computer code, then offer the template for free. The code is often very hard to see, and wouldn't be found by anyone unless they were digging deep trying to find it, and could compromise your website or let the hacker potentially take full control of it. WordPress and its templates (known as "themes") are common targets, due to the popularity of the WordPress framework. Avoid downloading any WordPress themes or other templates that you see offered for free but which are offered for a fee from the official source.

I had a resume writer contact me just yesterday and mention his site had been targeted by a hacker. (Just like Windows folks are more susceptible to viruses than Mac users, just by virtue of the large user base, the same is true for Wordpress sites. I'd especially recommend changing the default passwords, as this is the easiest way to prevent being hacked!)

Consider all the factors outlined above before deciding whether to use a template for your website.

1 comment:

  1. Pros are more than cons so i don't think there is significant issue while using template for new design or redesign of website.