Just because you can... doesn't mean you should.
I recently gave a seminar about website design and SEO to a local group of entrepreneurs in New Jersey. Although the presentation was mostly about what to watch out for when hiring a search engine optimization agency, there were a lot of questions about good website content versus bad website content.
One of the attendees started explaining her recent difficult experience with website design and a WordPress template. She's an established copy writer and content creator that was hired to help flesh out the information for a new website.
It turns out that her difficult experience is quite common when it comes to new website creation, and it's something that we can all learn from.
Although you might not realize it when you go through the process yourself, many business owners will indeed go through the same steps when setting up a new website.
Those steps are:
1. Realize you need a new website
2. Ask a few people what type of software to create the site with
3. Choose the software that's highly recommended
4. Find a fancy looking template to use with the software
5. Struggle to figure out how to flesh out the template
It's that fifth step that many people have trouble with. You see, your website designer will probably give you a list of potential templates to choose, and you'll probably choose the template that you think looks the best. You might choose a template design that resonates with you, or with the merchandise you carry in your store. Whatever the reason, you're choosing the template based on the demo content that comes with the template.
Let me explain what I said in a little more detail... You might choose a website template based on the photos or images use in the template, but those photos and images need to be replaced by your own content.
I've lost track of the number of times someone chose a website template because the large images on the home page demo were vibrant and compelling to look at. Some of those templates also had a few other boxes of photos on the home page. Sadly, many times the final "design" of the website is a disappointment because it doesn't look the same as the template chosen.
The ultimate realization is that the "design" only looked appealing because the photography used in the template demo was amazing. In some cases the website client had a budget set aside for the same style photography, but the final results were still disappointing. In other cases, the demo photos were replaced with stock photography.
It's difficult to make a real choice when you're faced with many website template design options. It's hard to imagine what a website would look like once you replace all the demo content with your own.
Your website will never look like the original template demo.
Another common problem that website owners experience is a confusion of what content to put in their chosen template. This usually happens when the template is chosen because it looks nice, without considering how exactly it will be used.
You might think that a template with 5 slider images and 3 home page boxes must have a total of 8 photos on the home page. In reality those 8 photos are placeholders for whatever you want to use. You're not required to have 5 slider images stacked on top of 3 boxed shaped photos.
There's no need to struggle to figure out what content to place within the assumed confines of a purchased template. Simply use the features that you need rather than trying to use all the features because they came with the template.
In closing, let me say that you should always design your website to meet the needs of your customers. Make sure to include important content, but exclude built-in template features and pages that have little or no value for them.