If you have ever dabbled in graphic design or tried to build your own website, there is a pretty good chance you're familiar with templates. Usually created by web developers, church website templates are premade and include everything the site needs in order to function. Pre-designed website templates can be a great option for those who have little programming experience, but while there are many advantages of using templates, there are also disadvantages as well.
So what does this all have to do with you and your church website? Well, when picking out a layout for your church website, using a template will be one of your options. Your other option will be to create a tailored site (a template that has slight modifications included), or a custom-built website. When making your decision, it's good to understand the differences.
The main difference between a template and a custom site is that a template has already been pre-designed, and a custom site is built specifically for you. Templates tend to be much more restrictive. For example, on some templates the header, footer, sidebar, and content all go into pre-determined spaces. A custom site gives you more freedom to place these elements wherever you want to. A tailored site lives in the middle of a template and custom site. It takes a template and makes slight modifications (like adding custom features or additional pages).
Now that you have a better understanding of what a template is, here's the next question you'll need to ask yourself: "Is a template a good option for my church website?"
Yes, If the Template Covers All of Your Website Needs
There are some instances where a template will work great for your church website. If you absolutely love the template and you think it fits with the mission of your church, then a template is a great choice. When it comes to templates, it would also be beneficial if someone on staff can code and change things just in case you want to customize past the standard.
Here are some more benefits of having a template:
- They offer a quick turnaround time and because most of the coding is already done
- They are generally much less expensive than custom websites
- There are some really well-designed templates that allow for some customization
- Many website templates come with some built-in SEO features, which can help others to find your website more easily
- Templates make it possible to easily add content
As you can see, there are some good reasons, and some benefits to using a template for your church website. That being said, if you do have the budget for a custom website that could end up being a better solution.
So when asking the question, "Is a template a good option for my church website?"
No, If You Don’t Want To Experience Some of the Drawbacks of Templates
While there are some instances a template may work for your church website, there are many instances where it won't work. Here are some of the major disadvantages of having a template:
- Your website might end up having the same design as everyone else - even though it looks different, they will have many similarities
- There is a major lack of flexibility and you may become frustrated by not having the ability to change certain features
- The graphic design can be quite limited - for example, there may not be a lot of different icons or color combinations from which to choose
- The navigation is limited as well and it might not function the way you would like
So, along with the benefits, there are also plenty of drawbacks to templates.
If you are still deciding whether or not to go with a website template, here are some benefits to having a custom church website:
- It allows you to customize your church website to your brand
- You can build a website that is unique so that it stands out from other church websites
- You can customize your layout so that it looks and functions the way you want
- Your website will be much more flexible and can grow along with your church
- If you can imagine it, you can build it
When trying to decide if your church website can get away with a template, or you should go with a tailored one, discuss your priorities with your team. Evaluate your needs, abilities, budget, and your timeline. If you’re unsure about which type of website would suit your church best, download our Buyer’s Guide or contact us. We will help you evaluate your options and help you create the best website for your church.