Content Marketing, Publishing

Don’t Spend a lot on Your Web Design

Web Design

Many of my friends are web designers – and I hope they don’t get upset at this post. First, let me start by saying that great web design can have a significant impact on the type of clients you attract, the response rates of prospects clicking through, as well as the total revenue of your company.

If you believe a great product or great content can overcome poor design, you’re mistaken. The return on investment on great designs has been proven over and over. It’s absolutely worth the time and expense.

rockettheme.pngThat said… great design doesn’t have to cost you that much, though. Modern web content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Django, Joomla, Magento (for commerce), Expression Engine, etc. all have extensive theming engines. There are also many web design frameworks, like YUI Grids CSS, for sites made from scratch.

The advantage of utilizing these systems is that you can save a lot of your web and graphic designer’s time. Professional web designs can cost $2,500 to $10,000 (or more depending on the portfolio and references of the agency). A lot of that time may be spent on developing the page layout and CSS.

woothemes.pngRather than paying for layouts and CSS, why not choose from thousands of themes already constructed and simply have your graphic artist work on the graphical design? Breaking up a great design built in Photoshop or Illustrator and applying it to an existing theme takes a fraction of the time than designing all from scratch.

An additional advantage of using this approach is that the layout can impact search engine optimization as well as usability – something that theme developers are typically cautious of before they publish and sell themes online. Since many of my readers are WordPress users, one of the sites I love for this is WooThemes. For Joomla, the RocketThemes has a fantastic selection.

One additional piece of advice, when you subscribe or purchase these themes – be sure to get the developer license. The developer license on WooThemes is about twice the cost (still only starting at $150!). This provides you with the actual Photoshop file to provide your graphic artist to design with!

4 Comments

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    Sometimes webmasters don't count on how much is the time of recreating the wheel. Using templates and ready to go Themes is a great and sometimes FREE opportunity. Just use it!
    Great Post. Will back for more update.
    Cheers AdWooz

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    I think it depends on what company the site is being designed for.

    I agree that there are many great templates out there that can make it possible to create a nice-looking website on the cheap. Heck, my own blog is 100% template and I love it!

    However, a template may not always work for a larger, more specialized company or one with specific needs that a template site may not address.

    Naturally, I am biased since my agency creates "expensive" custom-designed websites 🙂

    However, we have tried in the past to use templates for our clients and most of the time, they want to tweak it, change it, and "make it unique" and it ends up being a custom design anyway.

    Additionally, we take great care to ensure that the company's brand is properly reflected in the design of the website. This is not easily accomplished when using templates.

    Finally, most of our clients are using specific web applications on their site like event registration, complex product catalogs, and marketing tools to manage campaigns. The marketing departments in companies like this are depending on us to design a website that is a seamless extension of the existing company brand. Sites like this require craftsmanship and polish to ensure that these components are seamlessly integrated and I don't feel that a template will satisfy in these cases.

    Is an "expensive" custom site for everyone? No. However, just be sure to know your client. Sometimes a template is fine. Other times, it's well worth the extra time and investment to craft a unique site that properly reflects the company's brand.

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