The days when flashing banners, neon text and glossy icons ruled the Internet have come and gone, paving the way for a more modern Web. Today, anyone who purchases a domain with the hope of setting up a website can do it almost instantly. Web hosts have prebuilt templates ready to go, and most have WordPress integration with a one-click installation. If the host doesn't have what you want, you can always find abundant free and pay templates scattered across the Internet. However, the question is: Should you really use a template in the first place?
HTML5, WordPress, Bootstrap – you name it. You can find a premade template in the exact format for your site. Whether you're running a retail shop, reporting the news or blogging about fashion, there's a template out there to suit your needs. The problem with templates isn't their abundance; it's their visual similarities. Almost all templates appear similar in style and interaction.
It makes sense if you think about it. Template authors make money by selling themes, so they have a limited window of time in which to create and release their product. Because they create the templates so quickly, they can charge less and then make up the loss by selling similar templates in other categories. Though a developer may design a sports template, it will have similar features and style elements as a store template.
The theme market grows larger every day. As new developers sign on, they mimic the look of the best-selling themes as a way to make quick money. Unfortunately, every website starts to look the same as more and more people buy templates. Though it's easy to buy a theme and get your site up and running, you lose out on the important things like branding, customisation and a uniqueness that sets you apart from your competition.
Slapping your logo or business name on a site and calling it finished doesn't make good branding. Your site should look as polished as the business you operate and incorporate your style without saying a word. Template developers boast about the customisation of their themes, but you're really just switching out the logo and adding your products. Though some templates give you options for changing colors and fonts, others come with limitations and the developer's name in the footer.
A template, no matter the style, was not created with you in mind. The developer designed it in a generic way so that it could appeal to a large audience. When a thousand people purchase and use the same template, it hardly makes your business or what you offer stand out from the rest. Branding shouldn't stop with your company name and logo at the top. It should reach into your website's core, circulate its design throughout every page and provide a pleasant, user-friendly interaction.
A good user experience, or UX, also defines your brand. Users are more likely to return to your site if it's easy to use and find what they're looking for. Having an interactive user interface, or UI, built with good UX in mind will propel your site above others in the same category and give you an edge with consumers. Though you can add your logo to any template, you can't add quality UX to something that's already set in stone.
Marketing is all about knowing, keeping and satisfying your customers. In this way, marketing and UX have a lot in common. Just as bad marketing gets in your face and doesn't sound appealing, bad UX aggravates users and makes them exit your site in haste. Good marketing and UX go unnoticed as both deliver what you want without making you really think about it.
Quality and price – you sometimes get one without the other. It's only natural to look for the best deal, which is why so many people gravitate toward free and cheap templates. However, you don't always get what you expect. Take the construction industry as an example. Less-established businesses lower their prices to compete with reputable companies, but this tactic comes at a cost to you. To make a profit, those businesses often use low-grade and less-expensive materials. In the end, you'll end up paying more money out of pocket for repairs and wishing you had chosen an established company.
It's the same thing with template designers. For a cheap price, they offer a cookie-cutter layout with some animations and a few customisable options like changing the colors or the number of columns. They may also offer limited support via the comment section on the theme website. The difference between Quantum and theme designers is like night and day. You get what you pay for with Quantum, and that's actually a good thing.
People are so quick to get their sites up and running that they forget to focus on what's important. A generic website does nothing for your brand and only helps to give you a rushed presence on the Web. It doesn't make you stand out, get attention or enhance the usability in any way. Though a template looks good on a budget, it's only a matter of time before you realize its limitations.
The current state of Web design is stagnant, generic and complacent. Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to have websites look identical to Airbnb's. Your site, however, should have it's own unique qualities that appeal to your target users. Those users should feel at home on your site, navigate it with ease and find things where they're supposed to be. When you have all these things, you have good UX design.
The words "custom" and "theme" don't belong in the same sentence. After all, it's hard to have a custom theme when hundreds or thousands of people have the same installation. To template designers, having the ability to change font colors or images makes something custom. To Quantum, it means something entirely different.
We work with you to create a custom design that's unlike any other site on the Web. In addition, we design it in a way to give your users an engaging experience on the desktop and mobile devices. We believe in true customisation and breaking free from the shackles of templates and copycat website design.
Contact Quantum on 1300 3888 11 for more information about our UX design services and how they can increase user experiences and bring a higher return on investment for your business.