Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Web Templates or WYSIWYG Editors
By Jaya Kumar Patchala ; April 8th, 2007
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Template based web page development:
A lot of people get tempted by good looking web templates. Some template vendors even offer do-it-yourself kits to their customers. Web templates are designed by experts, using the latest designing software. They look stunning, compared to web pages developed by other means. While readymade templates offer several advantages, they have some disadvantages too.

Advantages of using templates:
1. You know how your finished site looks. You can choose the template that appeals to you. You need not rely on a web developer to get a good looking website.
2. Faster turnaround. You need not spend a lot of time on getting the colors and layout right. You can go straight to changing text and proceed with programming.
3. Templates are much cheaper than hiring a web developer. There are several sites that offer free templates as well.
4. Templates look much better than sites developed in traditional HTML programming. Templates are designed by professionals that are creative and competent and experienced.
5. Templates can be customized by anyone with basic HTML knowledge. You can customize the template yourself using a text editor.
Disadvantages of using templates:
1. You can get web templates for free or at a low-price. But these templates are not unique. Several people may have already bought or downloaded the template you have chosen. If you cant change the colors or layout a bit, your site looks like a clone of several sites. If you want a unique template design licensed only to you, you need to spend a fortune on it.
2. Often, templates don’t look good if you stretch them a bit. For example, if there is space for 100 words in a block and if you try to insert 200 words in that space, the template layout may change. And this may not look good. This puts limitations on text you can place in a template based web page, thereby restricting you from optimizing text or being descriptive about your business. It is well known that the more verbose in a page the more attention it gets from search engines. A template doesn’t come with Meta tags. You need to insert these meta tags.
3. Templates are good for static pages. If a site needs dynamic pages with a huge database to built, you need to opt for simpler templates.
4. If you are doing customization for yourself, always work on a copy of the template files. Templates are often done with simple HTML. But if you try to edit HTML tags instead of text between them, you might end up with bad page layout.
5. If there are template files with .tpl extension, locate the files where variables are defined. Then try to establish the logic behind the file system.

Using WYSIWYG editors:
Nowadays, several WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors are available for creating web pages. With these editors it is possible to create good looking pages simply by dragging and dropping objects on the page, without any HTML knowledge. They come with a lot of menu options. If you are familiar with windows objects or windows based software, you can create a web page in time.

Advantages of using a WYSIWYG editor:
1. Its great fun to create web pages this way. You can do it yourself, experimenting with colors and layouts. The web page is likely to be unique, unless you are trying to clone another web page. You can stretch your imagination.
2. It’s faster and easier to create web pages. You can make changes to a page layout by simply dragging the objects to their new positions.
3. You can make changes to content (text or images) in WYSIWYG editor, instead of searching for and inserting between HTML tags, or using a complex content management system.
4. WYSIWYG software runs on any windows computer.
5. you can also create background images on fly.

Disadvantages of using a WYSIWYG editor:
1. A WYSIWYG editor produces files of large sizes. The web page may take a bit longer to download.
2. The HTML code generated may not be compliant with existing web standards. Some of these editors are meant for web sites to be hosted with particular servers. Some WYSIWYG editors even produce files with their own extensions.
3. You need to fill in a lot of details, such as Meta tags and link colors for each page. Some WYSIWIG editors support CSS while editing and some don’t.
4. You need to preview the page in different browsers more often to see if the page is shaping up as you intended.
5. Web pages designed using WYSIWYG editors are rigid. They do not stretch if you put more text or images on a page. Instead they overlap on each other. Some WYSIWYG editors produce excessive div tags. It is difficult to edit these pages in an ordinary HTML editor.
6. Often these web pages are difficult to optimize for search engines.

I believe this article will help you in deciding the tools to use for your next website. If your site requires a huge database and pages need to produce dynamically, it is always better to opt for traditional programming methods. If your site is static, then a great looking template or using WYSIWYG editor will be a good option. Another factor you need to consider is SEO. If you want to rely on traffic from search engines, traditional HTML, CSS gives you the best results. If you can promote your site by spending huge amounts of money, you can go for flashier and visually stunning templates without much regard to SEO.


The author is a web hosting provider and web developer. Author sites and .

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