So many web designers are disheartened at the moment. With the explosion of free site builders and free templates many wonder why they chose this field. You still have a lot to offer, you just need to see it…
Instead of seeing these free templates as ruining your chance of work, embrace them! It is rare that a template will do exactly what the client wants, or where they need the content to go, or have everything on the template the client needs.
As I’m typing this I’m customising a website template for yet another client who wants several modifications to the template he likes. The initial template was close but it needed several changes and a couple of new sections not covered in the initial template.
As an example, They wanted a F.A.Q section for a lot of text and the template had nothing for this. The job description for this part was “Make this wall of text not look like a wall of text”.
Although he found a template it still needed a fair bit of work and I find this happening all the time. The client may have saved some money by choosing the template but I am still working on it so it fits their brand and their content.
Online site builders
Free sounds good but there are so many limitations when it comes to site builders like Wix. Unlike the free templates, these sites are very restrictive and won’t allow you to make the tweaks you want.
If someone on Wix comes to me wanting to change the styling I say you can’t but I discuss another option – Find a free template you like and I’ll style it however you want. This is cheaper than a custom built site and they will more likely choose it over a bespoke template.
What to be careful of!
If you’re tempted to try and do things on the cheap, trust me when I say it causes a LOT of problems. I’ve posted before about clients from hell and I’ve learnt that there are some things you need to stay clear of…
The “Outsource your work to us” people
There are a lot of them out there. I get approached at least one a week, asking me to pass on any extra work I have to them.
99% of the time they are not keen to show me their website or portfolio. Those that do normally have the most basic mistakes in the HTML like having the first two lines of code opening and closing the <head> tag and then putting the rest of the HTML below it.
They are using the same templates as others, but they have little to no clue on how to modify the code. They don’t understand header structures for search engines, usability or any kind of CSS. Be wary passing on your clients to these people. Your own reputation is far more important than you realise!
They are competition but I’ve not found one that I would be happy passing my clients on to. I have had clients that have come from these people because of content breaking, responsive pages rendering weirdly and because they couldn’t do the styling tweaks needed. Fixing broken websites is another good source of revenue for you!
The “Build me amazon.com on a £5 budget” people
My father brought me up with a saying; “You get what you pay for“. There are people out there that expect you to build their site for next to nothing. These people are looking for you to spend days or weeks worth of your time on their project but they will only pay you the price of a couple cans on RedBull.
With this type client you want to stay well clear. I will happily pass them on to Wix or the £5 a website people because it has never, not once, been worth the time having them as a client.
So yes, there things out there that can take work from you but equally there are new opportunities to be made from them.