It’s common practice in the digital marketing industry to approach clients with a one-size-fits-all template. But does this actually work? Many people simply assume that the guy selling this website template to them knows what he’s talking about. But as with everything in life, one needs to make an informed decision to get the best out of a project.
What are templates and why do people use them? CMS (content management system) platforms are in common use – Joomla and WordPress being the most obvious. They’re easy to implement, cheap, and offer a simple solution to a complex task. The problem, though, is that the template solution doesn’t offer effective results. The approach taken for an industrial B2B company, for example, should be very different to one for a B2C clothing store. Why? Because people expect different things from different companies, and respond accordingly.
This situation is comparable to Henry Ford’s production line in the 1920s. In order to optimise his production line and reduce the cost of a new car from USD2000 to USD260, customisability needed to be cut. In other words, every car was the same – a Model T Ford in black. But as the world advanced, this approach lost Ford the domination it had held over the auto market for years. Eventually people got fed up with having the same car as everyone else, and other manufacturers began biting away at Ford’s market share. Mass production is all fine and well, but sooner or later it doesn’t achieve the goals anymore.
Templates aren’t only applied to websites though. The same approach is often applied to SEO services, advertising, social media, and so on. It’s everywhere. And yes, it makes life cheap and easy, but does it deliver the ROI needed? Ultimately, it may cost more to develop a custom website from scratch, or a more targeted SEO strategy, but the returns are exponentially more.
Consider this. If you were the marketing manager of Coca-Cola, or Apple, would you use a WordPress template? No? Ask yourself why not.