Avoid using free templates

Sander k

New member
Website templates are free a lot of the time, they save you a lot of effort and time when you want to create a new layout for your website. However, a lot of people make mistakes in the process of choosing and using a web template and end up with something that was unlike the image they had in mind. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid those mistakes.

The first obvious mistake you should be aware of is using a template that is very popular. If many people use the same template, your website will not appear unique at all and your credibility as a solid, different website will be tarnished. In other words, you will appear generic just like your next-door neighbours.

To whole point of using a web template is to save time and effort. You just change the title and appropriate details and you're done. The biggest mistake one makes is to customize the template beyond recognisation. While that may be good in the sense that you're creating a unique graphic, you're defying the very purpose of using a free template.

However, on the opposite side, if a template you downloaded is suitable but some changes must be made to suit your site's theme, then you will have to take some time to make the changes. For example, you can find a very nice template that suits your hobby site except the original designer has put an image of stamps in the header. You can find images of garden plants and spades to replace the stamps for your gardening hobby site. However, do only make the necessary changes and don't redesign the whole template.

In some circumstances, some people simply make the wrong choice of templates. This is a very subjective issue but you have to be careful in selecting templates to suit your audience. Do not choose templates just because they are pretty, choose them because they serve your purpose.


I'd say an important point would be to only download templates from a reliable source. To make sure the code is clean and to use the W3C Validator to check everything out before one uses it. Also to make sure that there aren't copyright issues involved, i.e. there is an official permission for using the template.

If it is a completely new business that one is starting, and one wants it to be different and stand out from all points of view, I'd go for extra bucks to get someone to design a Website from scratch as well as do the initial SEO on it as well.


Staff member
I create free website templates myself and setup a dedicated website to provide free templates and themes? Great way to earn backlinks :)

Personally I have nothing against using free templates as they can save you a lot of time, effort and money.


New member
I think the best to do is change the template so the site will have unique identity but don't recreate the world!! For example if you want to use a fullscreen website just peek a template which support this feature. Don't try to add it.

Dark Shadow

New member
I haven't used free templates yet. When I look for a design, I'll probably use that as part of my searches however. Am looking for something for my classic car discussion forum. May turn it into a combo blog discussion forum.


New member
Well depends on paid templates too, because some paid templates are over done. All those themeforest and woo themes are so overly used that they're not worth the price tag.


New member
I'm new to code and webdesign, I manage my fathers website, I downloaded a real nice template (which was a trusted source) and worked on changing all the graphics, I edited the header and banner slightly too as it seemed more suitable.

I can't deny that I'd prefer to create a design myself and code it, unfortunately I only know the basics of HTML and changing CSS, I'm yet to really study coding in general. I think my knowledge carries me enough just to do the template thing and editing colours and images in photoshop and uploading etc.

I'd find it difficult to choose over a pre-made template over one you've designed yourself, it'd have to be pretty impressive in my opinion!


New member
Yes, with free probably will come some commercial coding and you will stack with some banner or add on your site. Stay away for sure.


New member
You can use any free wordpress theme. There are so many wordpress themes. When choosing a wordpress theme is that it should be responsive.


Aha! Now I understand. You mean the theme will automatically adjust to the platform you're using, i.e. designed to open up to specifications in all platforms. Agreed. Seems to becoming standard for all professionally created Websites now to open up in desktop, ipad and mobile phone platforms..


New member
I was a fan of free website templates when started learning as they saved me a lot of time. After a considerable amount of time I learned how to code(not design) my own. Now I use free website templates only by customer demand.

Since I am not really of a designer I tend to use ready to work with CSS frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap, Foundation.
Is there anyone using them?