If you’re ready for an author website but don’t know anything about building websites, you might look for the easiest options. Premade designs available from website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are often promoted as easy, one-stop solutions, and they are very popular. But the tech experts know these premade cookie-cutter themes and templates could have a negative impact on your writing career. Here’s why premade designs aren’t the right choice for your author website.
Why Premade Designs Aren’t The Right Choice For Your Author Website
Limited designs and no individuality
Fifty percent of all websites currently online have been built on WordPress — so if you choose a popular WordPress theme, there’s a very good chance there will be thousands of other websites that look exactly like your author website. And when your website looks like lots of other websites, it’s hard to be memorable and stand out in a crowd.
With a default template, you can’t incorporate images or topics from your writing or genre as design elements, because one-of-a-kind customization options aren’t available. Premade themes and templates are purposely designed to be very basic in order to accommodate as many websites as possible. But as an author, it’s important to showcase your unique style and genre so your website visitors can engage with you and your writing.
No flexibility and few options
Premade website designs offer you prebuilt, prepositioned boxes where you insert your content. This means you can’t move content to exactly where you want it, and you may even be restricted in how much content you can actually have on your website. Website themes are created by open-source programmers sharing with the online community — they weren’t built with your content in mind. It is also possible your writing and images may exceed what a theme can handle. And if you outgrow your current website theme, you’ll have to purchase another one if you want to include additional writing projects or information.
When you have a custom design, your website can grow with you. Your designer can add new content, pages, and design elements when you need them.
Also, with predesigned themes and templates, you’re often locked into using the provider’s hosting service.
Lack of support and resources
When you use a premade design, you essentially must become the web designer. Although the aesthetic aspects have been predetermined, you still have to build the actual website yourself — with little to no technical support. This can be frustrating if you aren’t tech savvy or the end result is something you don’t really like. It can also be time-consuming — so you’ll spend more time finagling website configurations and codes and less time writing.
Premade designs might not work well on different devices or browsers if the programmer didn’t take those into account. In fact, most popular themes are made exclusively for blogging, so other important content like events calendars, mailing lists, and more might not work properly, if at all.
Unexpected security issues
It’s common for web developers to stop updating a theme they’ve created after a year or two. If your author website is built using that dead theme, there is no guarantee the website will continue to be safe or work as expected. And you won’t be able to add any new features that may become available from WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.
Premade designs also often have limited security options, which can leave you and your website visitors vulnerable. You may not be able to use CAPTCHA-protection or spam filters if the theme does not include or support these options.
Make the right choice for your author website
While using a premade design may seem like a quick, easy solution, these templates lack the ability to reflect your unique personality and genre. Since it acts as your online business card and information hub, your author website should stand out and be memorable.