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  1. #1
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    While I defend using free templates for your website, I still want to hear both sides of the argument. Here's why I'm in favour of the act.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    "It's not yours, and it's not unique". It's really the only argument necessary when it comes to a commercial website.

    Everything else is just white noise.
    Ronald Roe and Fireproofgfx like this.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    If you want to use that for your own site, I say go for it. Your lack of effort will speak volumes. What pisses me off is when people A) ask us to review sites where they're passing off a template as their own work, or B) when people give a template to a paying client and actually charge them money.

    There seems to be a bit of a rise in the number of people half-assing web design and charging for it. These threads with the same arguments for/against templates and WYSIWYG editors are showing up on a dishearteningly more frequent basis. "It's easier/faster", they say. Actually, it isn't.
    Ron Roe
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    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  5. #4
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Only amateurs use free templates.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    I know I've said it before in these forums... Using free templates on a personal site is fine... Using free templates to see how hey "made it" is fine

    Using free templates "even for clients on a tight budget", shows that you are either design challenged " in which case you probably should choose another profession", or you're lazy in which case you won't be in this profession very long anyway.

    Do yourself and your client a favor... Learn how to do the work for yourself or at least find someone that can and partner with them...

    I've had so many clients in the past that have walked away from people want to learn while doing thier site... Or clients finding out that they paid good money for a web site only to find out that their site looked like hundreds of other sites... It makes the whole industry look bad...

    People in general that want a web site for their business are not going to take the time to learn web design ( its just not value added for them or their business ), they rely on "professionals" but really have no way of discerning if who they are using is a professional or someone pretending... Just because you know how to "tweak" a template, doesn't make you a professional...

    Web design is so much more than just the "visual design" part of it... And if you're not even going to take the time to learn that... How much more are you missing...

    I guess I should be thankful for idiots that use templates... Most of my client base at one time or another has dealt with them... Once referred to me... And we have a chance to discuss things that the template tweakers didn't even bother talking about... They don't have a problem with my fees...

    Template tweakers are like the "cousin, friend, friend of a friend " that will do electrical work for $8.00 an hour... Sure, when they leave.. The lights work just fine... But when the house burns down later because this person didn't see the need to make sure the grounds were properly connected...

    And yes I was an electrician in a previous career...

  7. #6
    WDF Staff AlphaMare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webzarus, post: 235130
    I know I've said it before in these forums... Using free templates on a personal site is fine... Using free templates to see how hey "made it" is fine ...
    Using free templates "even for clients on a tight budget", shows that you are either design challenged " in which case you probably should choose another profession", or you're lazy in which case you won't be in this profession very long anyway.
    I know that once I decided to ditch tables as layout, I used free templates for a long time, to tear them apart and study the structure and see how things worked - basically taught myself CSS that way, along with tutorials online. I still like to do that sort of thing - I may see a nifty javascript effect and take a look at the code to see how it works. In fact I'm currently trying to pick apart a slider and figure out how to make it do exactly what I want, instead of just close enough.

    I do have clients with small budgets, but I always try to explain that a truly custom site will pay off in the long run. It always turned out one way or another - either they decided to go custom, or they decided not to go ahead with it at all.

    On another note - I did once have a client who wanted me to re-create one of my own previous custom sites they had seen. They were adamant about it and finally I did it - I was really tight for cash at the time, and had it been a client's site they wanted to copy I would not have done it.

    I changed the colour scheme and all the images were different and as the site has grown over time it has become much more individual - but the home pages of the two remain the same layout and it bugs me to this day. One day when I get around to it I'll go ahead and change mine.
    Good design should never say "Look at me!"
    It should say "Look at this." ~ David Craib


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  8. #7
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMare, post: 235196
    I know that once I decided to ditch tables as layout, I used free templates for a long time, to tear them apart and study the structure and see how things worked - basically taught myself CSS that way, along with tutorials online. I still like to do that sort of thing - I may see a nifty javascript effect and take a look at the code to see how it works. In fact I'm currently trying to pick apart a slider and figure out how to make it do exactly what I want, instead of just close enough.

    I do have clients with small budgets, but I always try to explain that a truly custom site will pay off in the long run. It always turned out one way or another - either they decided to go custom, or they decided not to go ahead with it at all.

    On another note - I did once have a client who wanted me to re-create one of my own previous custom sites they had seen. They were adamant about it and finally I did it - I was really tight for cash at the time, and had it been a client's site they wanted to copy I would not have done it.

    I changed the colour scheme and all the images were different and as the site has grown over time it has become much more individual - but the home pages of the two remain the same layout and it bugs me to this day. One day when I get around to it I'll go ahead and change mine.
    probably not a good example, but I've heard that one before, difference is, they used that "their budget was tight" as a justification to just tweak a template without explaining anything to the client...

    You did explain it to them and why using a template is not the best business choice.

    I was speaking in reference to those that make their primary business out of creating websites from templates that they modify, never informing the client that is what they are getting.

    I should probably track doen and thank some of these guys, because it only makes me look better at what I do. On the other hand, it incenses me that THEY are also the one that have turned a lot of businesses off from using the web for advertising, because they got a crap product that did nothing for them or their business, and many of the businesses that are using them can never see the real potential out there for them becuase they dealt with template tweakers in the first place... so they are standoffish to invest in a real web site that can do something for their business.

    I had a potential client once tell me that they couldnt justify my rates, I tried explaining the process and how things worked, but he would hear none of it. After he hired a "friend of a friend" to do his site, I ran into him, told him I had noticed his new site and asked if he was happy with it... he said yeah it was great, told me he got it done for one third the price and it was just as good an any of my work he had seen...

    I laughed and said, you get what you pay for.

    That night I went home and created what I would have before and published it with the content from his site, tweaking the words, using his images ( but renaming them ), building out the content, making the keyword phrases more relevant to the pages, etc...

    5 weeks later, the guy is calling me wanting to know how the site I had created was showing up on the search engines but his wasn't...

    I told him "you get what you pay for"... and took the site down.

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Wouldn't be that hard to track down. Just search for the phrase "WordPress", followed by "Theme by", followed by "Powered by". That's a lot of "by"s in one sentence, b'y.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  10. #9
    Senior Member DanExcell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justinfh2, post: 235083
    While I defend using free templates for your website, I still want to hear both sides of the argument. Here's why I'm in favour of the act.
    Before I learned how to properly design and code a simple markup (html) and CSS I used a paid template. The problem began when people started saying how nice it looked and then asked me if I designed it myself. Every time I said no, their tone changed and it was not hard to notice.

    It might not bother some like yourself and other will outright lie. I prefer to have ownership over anything that I publish. By ownership, I mean creating the thing from scratch. It's not that hard to design a functional layout. Dreamweaver does not speed up the process if you are developing a layout correctly. It does not make you a better designer neither. It's just a tool. The only thing I can agree with is the fact that the client does not care most of the time.

    I can't justify the use of a free or paid template if you've titled yourself "Web Designer". A hardcore Programmer that does not want to spend time creating a design, because it is not their thing. I can understand, they simply have their priorities in order. For a "Designer" that is just wrong.
    I have gotten into the habit of not judging other designers/developers work, but this is my Microsoft Meandering time so I'm MEANDERING...

    Oh, almost forgot: spammers are gender-less parasites...

  11. #10
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    I should clarify a few things. First off, about 99% of your criticisms are legit. I will admit (hey, that rhymes!)

    Secondly, this video was aimed towards beginner and intermediate web designers who run their own websites and companies that are too cheap to hire a professional. So if you choose to use somebody else's template, then customize it the best you can.

    Finally,I still stand by what I said, content management systems, programs such as Dreamweaver, etc, are designed to make web design faster.


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