Website Themes — Why You Should Avoid Them at All Costs

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website-themesWhen you need a new website built, it can be very tempting to go for the option which will save you time and money. Many people simply choose to install WordPress and select a pre-existing theme, perhaps customising it to their own preferences. This can have its advantages, but there are a number of reasons why you should avoid using themes at all costs.

Code bloat and page loading time
Many themes are made to look glitzy and glamorous with no thought for page loading times. They’re updated every few weeks with extra features, but this tends to mean extra code — and often bloated code. This means that your site will become slower and slower to load, and with recent studies showing that the vast majority of website users won’t wait more than 2 seconds for a website to load, this could remove huge swathes of potential customers.

Negative impacts on SEO
Themes can be disastrous for SEO, too. There are rumblings that Google will recognise large amounts of the code and see that you’re using a pre-designed theme, which will send signals that you’re not all that serious about your business. In Google’s eyes, if you were a serious player you’d be paying a web design company to create a proper site. The code bloat mentioned above can also have negative effects on your search rankings, which could spell disaster for your online marketing plans.

Inconsistency in design
A design needs to be balanced to suit your brand and style, as well as your content and the function your website is meant to serve. Simply using a template or theme means that you’re using a design which hasn’t been created for you or your business, which will result in confusion amongst customers and a sense that somehow your website doesn’t quite fit your business. Anything which makes a potential customer feel uneasy when on your website is a very bad idea; you want your customers to feel safe and that they can trust you and your company, else they’ll go to a competitor instead.

Third party reliance
If you’re using a theme created by a third party and simply customising it for your own purposes, you run a number of risks. Firstly, you don’t know who’s created the code and there’s a chance there could be security flaws which could put your business and your customers at risk. Then there’s the reliance you have on the original theme designer (who’ll you’ll likely never have met or spoken to) to update the design around new developments. Only a direct working relationship with a proper web design company will allow you to have that safety with regards to security and future support.

Things to ask your web design company
You might be tempted to think that using a professional web design company will automatically mean that you’ll have a website designed from the ground up and that there won’t be any themes or templates anywhere near your site. Unfortunately, you’d often be wrong.

There are a number of web design companies who try to save time and money by simply taking themes and templates and customising them (sometimes so much that you wouldn’t know at first glance) rather than building you a custom website design. Needless to say, this can have negative impacts on your business and you’d often be just as well off installing a template yourself and saving even more money. Of course, saving money isn’t always the best way to go about things.

A custom website design is the only way to ensure good loading times, adherence to SEO best practice and a truly unique design which will serve you and your business well for years to come.

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