Are Website Templates Making Web Designers Irrelevant?
Pre-made websites are starting to flood the internet. As a business owner, you don’t need any experience in web design to promote your product through a cloud-based web development platform like Wix. Even some YouTube videos, which argue against generic web templates for their lack of innovation, start off with fifty-five seconds of ads encouraging you to “Create Your Stunning Website Today.”
So, with thousands of ready-made web templates at our disposal, is the market for freelance designers losing demand? No – and here’s why.
The payoff for being a freelance designer is drastically different depending on your skill level and the service you provide. I want to emphasize the word service here, because it is a major aspect of what separates a web designer from a low-cost, standardized template.
When a business owner is only willing to spend $50 on their website start-up, they are looking for the cheapest way possible to establish an online presence. These are people who have a small marketing budget to work with and need to stretch it as thin as possible.
On the other side of the consumer pool, there are business owners who have a sizeable enough budget to invest in web development. They understand that when they hire a web designer, they are not just getting a product, but a service that is specific to their needs.
They aren’t just looking for a landing page that is aesthetically pleasing, but a fully operational website that is user friendly and interactive. Serious business owners understand that if they spend the money to build a solid online infrastructure now, their ROI will ultimately be greater in the future.
Web designers aren’t losing their relevance, because they shouldn’t be working in that first category of business owners to begin with. If you want to make a living as a freelancer, you will seek out the “big fish” in the market who are focused on building their brand, aim for great ROIs and convert traffic into sales.
These people will have already planned out exactly what results they want on their site, and retain a freelancer to execute their vision and achieve an ROI. They have to create web solutions that convert and achieve real results if they want to keep up with competition.
Someone who spends $50 on their website might save money on upfront costs, but they will never drive in the same traffic or conversion numbers as those who value hiring real professionals to take care of this part of their business.
On top of that, you will never get the level of functionality from pre-made templates that you do from a web designer. As a leader in UX/UI design, I know that the pros in my industry are only limited by their imagination.
Every project I take on is specifically tailored to the client’s needs. I do not just provide a means to an end – I offer value with each solution I provide. The truth is, you can pay that $50 and get a product immediately that is attractive and significantly cheaper than the cost of a web designer.
But what happens when you realise that it's not achieving the business goals and and that the needs of your business change over time?
For instance, you might wear several different hats in your professional life. You are a blogger by day and a web designer by night.
As my aspirations grew, I knew I needed to have a website with the capability to grow with me. I needed a design that could be altered and expanded over time. This type of growth and development wouldn’t be possible if I opted to use a basic template that I bought off the web.
I would have been stuck with the one I chose from hundreds of other generic designs from a third-party service provider.
We live in a tech-driven era where it has become increasing more important to have a unique online presence. We rely our computers and phones to research who provides the best goods and services all over the world.
As consumers, we make our judgements based on the company’s website and reputation. Front-line business owners know that digital marketing is crucial to their long-term success.
That being said, I don’t want you to think that there is no purpose for these pre-made templates. If you are a freelance web designer, you don’t need to start from scratch with such an abundance of tools at your disposal.
Whether you are just starting out or an industry expert, you can repurpose these templates to meet the needs of your client. Just because you aren’t putting every piece of the puzzle together yourself does not mean that you aren’t an innovative designer.
Each one is fair game, but the most important part is that your solution will drive solid results (aka: conversions or brand awareness) to your client.
Remember: you are not just providing a product, you are providing a service. Templates are just a readymade, fit-for-all solution that only work in a limited capacity.
A real company that is focused on growth and development will invest in creative minds to specialize their user experience. Make sure you are focusing your energy on this side of the market.