There’s something wrong with a lot websites that we can all spot a mile away, but unless you are a web designer you probably can’t quite put your finger on it. The site doesn’t look right. It should look right, but something about it is off, and this affects the way you perceive the entire business.
This happens when the web designer or business owner has bought a beautiful website template and made a few small changes which happen to have ruined the whole damn thing. The logo doesn’t match anything. There’s a big white space where a side navigation used to be. It’s like a Hugo Boss suit with one of the jacket buttons torn off.
I call these detrimental improvements. The layout is tweaked and modified a tiny bit at a time so that no individual change seems to have an impact, but by the time you’re finished, the design has lost the charm that made you like it in the first place.
Whenever you buy a template, you feel you have to work on it until it fits with your businesses’ vision. In contrast, a custom designed site is built from the ground up around your vision. When the designer built the template in the first place, she started with certain themes and balances and designed each element accordingly. When you modify a great design without understanding what about it actually makes it great, chances are you’re going to ruin it.
Now I can hear you all asking the key question; how can I avoid launching a terrible website without realising it? If you are a novice who has decided to create a website using a template, take a minute at the start to write down everything you like about your chosen design. Whenever you decide to change something, make sure it’s not going to ruin any of these things.
If you are thinking about hiring a web developer to use a template, check some of their existing work. If their sites look almost great, but perhaps like the logo and the text content don’t sit correctly, find someone else.
To avoid this conundrum entirely, you will have to approach a web company to design something that perfectly fits your goals. Unless your business card has the word ‘designer’ on it somewhere, your time is probably better spent doing your own job, and letting the web experts of the world do theirs.