The Proper & Incorrect Approach to Use Templates

The Proper & Incorrect Approach to Use Templates

I’m an enormous fan of templates. They’re a necessary a part of any productive designer’s workflow they usually will also be actually useful in boosting your model’s id by means of better consistency and professionalism.

Mission administration templates are one such instance of templates that undoubtedly belong within the workflow of an internet designer. They free you from having to deal with tedious mission and time administration duties and, consequently, allow you to focus extra in your work.

I additionally actually like design snippets, mockups, and themes (like those you may discover in WDD’s Freebies). Whenever you use the identical sorts of design parts again and again, it is smart to have a dependable base of templates to tug from.

What I’m not significantly keen on—and also you shouldn’t be both—are design templates that take away all creativity and technique out of your course of.

The explanation I carry this up is as a result of I imagine there’s a proper method to make use of templates in net design, and a incorrect method.


The Incorrect Approach to Use Templates in Internet Design

I just lately attended a WordCamp occasion to be taught extra about what’s taking place in WordPress and, particularly, what kind of traits I needs to be looking out for in net design.

There was one session I attended referred to as, “Quick Monitor Your Design Course of”. I used to be excited for it as I’m all about productiveness hacks that assist you to work much less whereas engaging in extra.

Nonetheless, I walked away from the session extremely disenchanted by what I heard; the speaker instructed the room of about 50 designers that they need to be constructing shopper web sites utilizing templates. That suggestion I had no difficulty with. I imagine that WordPress themes are an awesome time-saver for a lot of net designers—particularly in the event that they’re seeking to begin with a robust, responsive base that they’ll customise.

The issue, nonetheless, was in the remainder of the recommendation given. It principally went like this:

1. Discover a theme that matches your goal area of interest properly

For example, should you design web sites for actual property firms, buy a license for an actual property theme.

Be sure you’re very acquainted with the theme you select.

2. Determine the important thing pages that your typical shopper wants on their web site

Dwelling, About, and Contact pages are a given.

Much like how a theme developer may present a couple of web page layouts or design choices to select from, you’ll do the identical. You can use the templates out of your theme or design your individual. Then, create not more than two or three template choices for every web page.

3. Save all of your templates for future use

These are for nobody to see however you.

4. Signal a brand new shopper to your net design companies

Clarify to the shopper that you will construct the right web site for his or her enterprise. Have them signal the contract and give you any branding data or pictures you must use.

Then, use this restricted set of templates to construct each web site you’re employed to create. You continue to have to decide on which of the web page template choices make sense for every shopper and add customized content material to the pages. However that’s about it.

The purpose right here is to make as a lot cash as potential from every job.

5. Don’t interact with the shopper in regards to the net design

Somebody requested the speaker how he defined to purchasers that he was utilizing templates to construct their web sites. (Which is a legitimate concern.)

To this, he instructed them that the shopper didn’t should be concerned within the course of. Internet designers are the consultants they usually know greatest, so purchasers shouldn’t have any say in what goes into the web site and don’t must see it till the work is full.

My Two Cents on the Matter

At that time within the lecture, I raised my hand and introduced quite a lot of objections:

  • It’s a horrible observe to not contain the shopper of their web site mission. It could result in expensive rework and in addition has the potential to harm your corporation by means of destructive critiques; individuals love to speak about unhealthy experiences.
  • Whenever you restrict net design to a couple templated choices, you run the danger of making lookalike web sites—particularly should you take a distinct segment method to your corporation. This might damage your corporation if purchasers begin to discover that you simply’re not placing any time or effort into the work. Additionally, how will you anticipate to construct a formidable portfolio if each web site seems the identical?
  • This might additionally damage your purchasers’ companies if their guests notice there’s nothing distinctive to the positioning because it’s only a copycat of one other.

My enter was not well-received, however I’m hoping you possibly can recognize the logic right here.


The Proper Approach to Use Templates in Internet Design

I’m not against utilizing templates in net design. Heck, I feel that should you don’t use templates in your corporation, you’re making an enormous mistake.

I perceive the need to wish to lower corners so you can also make a better markup in your web site tasks. All of us need to earn more money. However I don’t imagine that eradicating all technique and creativity, and offering purchasers with a canned web site is the answer. There are different methods to utilize templates and increase earnings within the course of.


Themes that pores and skin your complete web site are an awesome choice. You continue to must customise them and work on crafting search-optimized content material (written and visible) for the web site. However they’ll prevent lots of time.


Sectional templates are a great way to shortly replicate the identical design parts throughout a web site.

One other method to make use of them to your benefit is by turning them into wireframes. Use the naked bones of a sectional template to shortly bootstrap the construction of a web page on one other web site.

WordPress Template

There’s a multi-site administration device referred to as ManageWP that comes with a WordPress Template Builder.

In the event you construct web sites with WordPress, you need to use this to save lots of time with new installations. Merely create your template WordPress set up and add the plugins (and themes) you utilize usually in your shopper web sites.

Mission Administration Checklists and Templates

Maybe the easiest way to save lots of your self time is to simplify as a lot of your mission administration work as potential. (That’s the a part of working a contract design enterprise that you simply dislike probably the most anyway, proper?)

Create checklists for your entire net design and enterprise processes. Develop templates for communications you ship to purchasers, contracts for brand spanking new tasks, and directions you present to freelancers or different workforce members. Even templatize your invoicing.



There’s a distinction between adopting templates for the needs of optimizing your design workflow and adopting them so you possibly can keep away from doing any actual work. I feel that is what results in the supply of poor web sites and provides purchasers a solution to speak designers down in worth.

You’re a net designer and also you’re being paid to supply a inventive service. Whereas 100% of the weather you placed on a web site don’t should be handcrafted by you, you possibly can’t anticipate purchasers to pay you nicely if no thought or consideration was put into the event of their design.


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