In today’s digital world, being able to connect with your customers online is an essential part of any organization’s strategy. Fortunately, there are more options than ever when it comes to content management systems (CMSs), from enterprise-level platforms that are hosted on-premises to cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
One of the key benefits of SaaS-based platforms like HubSpot (which we consider to be a best-of-breed solution) is the ability to download and install preconfigured templates (or groups of templates, commonly called “site packs”) from an online marketplace, such as the HubSpot Template Marketplace. Ideally, these solutions can expedite the time to market for a website redesign.
While these templates and site packs can seem like an ideal way to provide a quick and simple visual update to your website, we suggest proceeding with caution, since, as we’ve mentioned previously, trying to “lightly redesign” your site can have less than ideal results. Here are three things you should consider when you’re planning to invest in HubSpot templates:
1. Does the Template/Site Pack Contain All the Modules You Need for Your Content?
Preconfigured templates and site packs will generally include space for the basic components of your site pages, including header images, menus, and body text. But what about any other modules that you use on your site? Do you want to be able to add rotating slideshows or accordion panels? What about photo or video galleries? Are there any other custom modules that you’ve created?
Any of these modules that are not included in your selected template or site pack will need to be added later, either by customizing the settings of the template(s) or by having a developer build the functionality. This will incur additional time, effort, and development costs, and it will end up complicating your site’s configuration, which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish by purchasing templates.
2. How Will Your Existing Content Adapt to the Provided Modules?
Templates often look great in the screenshots provided in the marketplace, but you should consider how your content will fit into the modules that are provided in the template. If your pages have more or less text than what is included in the examples, will this cause any appearance or readability issues? Are you able to easily add new images? Do you need to worry about image sizing?
The last thing you want to happen is to purchase a new template and then discover that your site’s content will be unreadable when using this template. Understanding whether you will experience any issues when trying to adapt your existing content to a template will help you avoid any headaches down the road.
3. Will the Modules You Need Be Available Where You Need Them?
When purchasing a template or site pack, people often make the assumption that any included modules will work anywhere on the site, but this isn’t always the case. What if you purchase a template expecting to be able to include a banner image, slideshow, right and left sidebars, and call-to-action (CTA) modules on interior site pages, but you find that some of these modules are only available on the home page?
In order to avoid wasting time and money, you’ll want to map out all your existing content and determine what will need to be included on each page type. Understanding exactly what you need and where you need it will help you ensure that you don’t end up paying for a template that doesn’t provide the functionality you expect.
Creating a Workable Site Blueprint
Ultimately, buying a theme, template, or site pack for your website is just like trying to build a new house. You might see a design that looks great from the outside, but you’ll need an architect to make sure that the design is structurally sound. The same is true of a website; no matter how great a template looks on the surface, it needs to be able to provide the right structure for the site’s content.
One thing that often happens when an organization purchases a template is that they find that it doesn’t meet their needs, so they end up purchasing additional templates and combining different pieces of them until they are able to approximate the results they were looking for in the first place. To take the analogy further, this is like hiring four different general contractors and putting them all to work building your house at the same time. As you can expect, the results from this process are likely to end up unwieldy and unworkable.
When you purchase a template for your site, you’re looking to streamline your site’s design and make it easier to use for both content editors and end users. The last thing you want is to make it more needlessly complex. Understanding exactly what you need and how your site will work before investing in a template or site pack can make the difference between a successful site and one that never gets updated because doing so is too complicated.
If you’re looking to determine the best path forward for your site’s redesign, we’re here to help! Whether you’re looking for templates that will provide the functionality you need or are planning to redesign the site from the ground up, our experts can give you the insights you need to make your project a success. Please contact us to speak to a Solutions Engineer. We look forward to helping you create a successful digital strategy!
Image credit: created using vector designed by Freepik