The market in Web Design templates is changing, its becoming ‘free’.
I recently did a site for someone who had paid for a template, which, whilst ok was only as good as the average template available from the Open Source Web Directory.
I have seen a few people ‘reselling’ templates for commercial companies, and to be honest think they are wasting their time. I don’t believe these businesses will exist in a few years time, certainly not for static templates.
The reason? Traffic and exposure is a commodity easily exploited with a free template. I recently wrote about a free template I found, the authors of which claimed to have around 200k templates in use around the world. They generate a lot of interest in their activities by distributing a small number of good quality templates.
There are now thousands of free templates available, designers are competing to get you to download them, for free!
Similarly, there is a growing industry in WordPress templates with many free designs available, though, there are still relatively few high quality functional designs available.
For those that are successful, i.e. produce a good template the exposure they get is invaluable. Take this site for example, the template it uses has over 40k downloads, and at the bottom of the page you will see a link back to the author.
So, that is how web designers make money with templates, they get free publicity, showcase their work and get paid commissions for high value bespoke work.
On the other site, it is possible to make money deploying these templates. Many are complex and require an understanding of CSS and (XX)HTML to be able to work with them.
This is an opportunity for deployer’s of templates and software to earn their crust, and is really how I see the market going, deployment and configuration with a much smaller design / development element.
Why not build the site from scratch?
Well why re-invent the wheel, using templates gives the following advantages:
- Lower cost to the customer
- Faster turn around
- The ability for the customer to choose a ‘starting point’ from thousands of free templates
There are already a number of companies making good profits deploying open source applications and templates. I have done this myself.
If you are going to do this, in my opinion you just need to be honest, tell the customer what you are doing, let the price reflect you are using a template as your starting point, and leave the back-link to the original author.
I have seen a few people claiming to be designers, checked their portfolio and realised they are using other peoples templates, not good when their customers find out!
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