Today, if you want to build a website, you’ll have countless tools available to you to make that dream a reality, ranging from free to expensive, with every option in between. There are platforms dedicated to online shopping, and for artists and creative types, but one of the most accessible options is the archetypical model of the modern website builder. The idea here is to use a platform’s native tools to customize a pre-selected template for your business; it’s accessible to newcomers and helps your site look professional.
But there’s one major downside to relying on templates from a website template; you’ll look the same as everyone else using that template.
Why It’s Important to Stand Out
Looking the same as everyone else means copying the style of websites that are already respected and already successful—so where’s the downside? Let’s review the importance of standing out from the crowd:
- First Impressions. Your design is often the first thing people notice about your site. If they don’t see anything new, they might start off with a negative impression of your brand, which will decrease their chances of buying from you.
- Branding and differentiation. Next, standing out is important for differentiating yourself. If a visitor can’t tell you apart from your competitors, there’s no chance for you to build brand recognition and loyalty.
- Memorability. A strong, differentiated design will also help your brand become more memorable, which is vital for securing strong customer relationships and spreading the word via word-of-mouth.
How to Stand Out With a Template
Templates pose an obstacle to standing out from the crowd, but you can overcome that obstacle with these tips:
- Tinker with the template. As long as your template is in HTML or some other format that allows for user experimentation, you can tinker with the backend code to make your own modifications. Be careful here, especially if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, and don’t take anything live until you’ve tested it. However, with knowledge of the fundamentals, this can be an easy way to make your website stand out a little better.
- Use integrations and third-party apps. Most website builders offer a host of different integrations, plugins, and third-party apps you can use on your site. For example, you might use an add-on that allows you to automatically draw the content you’ve posted on social media recently. These small tweaks can give users extra features and give your site a more recognizable, unique overall design.
- Prioritize your branding. One of the biggest goals of a website is to successfully display your brand. Incidentally, one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to show why your brand is different. Tailoring the color scheme, images, and layout of your template to match your brand image and standards is one of the best moves you can make; it will help you stand out and simultaneously better acquaint users with your brand.
- Focus on content. Instead of pouring all your effort into design, work on making the content as high-quality and engaging as you possibly can. If you have clever headlines for all your pages, high-quality videos, and a resource library full of helpful blogs and whitepapers, your visitors are going to remember you no matter what the rest of your site looks like. Just make sure you’re targeting the right audience.
- Keep things fresh. Don’t let your site become stagnant. Work on adding new content and tweaking the layout regularly or people will start to see you as stable and unchanging. Aim to refresh your site at least once a week with something new for users to see.
With these strategies, you can build a template-based site and still stand out from the crowd. You’ll have to put in some extra effort, but it’s likely worth the tradeoff if it means you don’t have to pay for a professional designer. Once your initial design is complete, don’t make the mistake of thinking your job is over; moving forward, it’s in your best interest to keep things changing and interesting, so don’t get complacent for too long.