In this episode, you’ll learn why consulting website templates actually hurt your business more than help.
The template I analyze in this episode is Wix’s “The Consultant” template.
Welcome to Consulting Website Design 015: The Problem with Templates.
One of the first things consultants do when they’re interested in building a website is looking for consultant website templates on a platform like Squarespace or Wix.
Designers will tell you that templates are useless because they will make your website look like all other consulting websites, and you’ll end up with a useless website that you end up neglecting and you’re embarrassed to show it to your prospects.
Template builders will tell you that there’s no need to spend thousands on a designer because you can just install this great looking theme and write the text yourself – so there’s no real need to get a custom website when you can DIY for free.
The truth, as it often does, lies somewhere in the middle.
I believe I have a unique perspective on this because I’ve built and sold templates as well as five-figure website projects.
Templates are the right fit for some consultants, and a custom design is a right fit for others.
In this video, I’m going to talk about some of the problems with consulting website templates, and why you should be cautious about using them.
So here’s a template from Wix called “The Consultant.”
And on first impression, it actually doesn’t look that bad.
But when you actually break it down you learn that it traps you into creating a brochure website.
The design is basically a brochure website design, and when you look at the text, it says:
This is a great space to write long text about your company and your services. You can use this space to go into a little more detail about your company. Talk about your team and what services you provide. Tell your visitors the story of how you came up with the idea for your business and what makes you different from your competitors.
This is the exact opposite of what you actually want to do with a consulting website.
There’s no place for articles, case studies, resources – anything that actually provides value to your prospects.
And when we dig deeper into the website, the problems with it become more apparent.
- The about page makes it all about you and not your prospect…
- The service page says “book now” as if five or six-figure consulting projects are bought with an “add-to-cart” button…
- The “projects” are very short and all listed on one page…
- The client’s page prioritizes logos – the weakest form of social proof — instead of testimonials and stories from your clients…
- And the contact page does nothing to offer value to your prospect other than a generic contact form.
Ultimately, this template traps you into creating a “brochure” website that makes it very, very hard for any consultant to generate leads. I’m not surprised in the slightest when someone using a generic boilerplate “consultant” template generates no business from their website.
If your goal is to generate leads with your consulting website, then this template and its template does not help you achieve your goal – making it a poor design.
This quote from David Kadavy’s book Design for Hackers really illustrates the problem with using templates:
The point is that to truly be adept at designing something, you have to understand how it works. You have to understand the nature of what you’re building, how what you’re building is perceived, and how you can use your tools to make your vision happen. Otherwise, you aren’t designing. You’re creating a veneer.
When you use a template, you’re creating a veneer. You aren’t designing. And if you aren’t designing with a specific problem to solve, you can’t expect your consulting website to solve any problems for you.
Today’s action step is, if you’re using a template, question the design decisions that the designer made when designing your template.
Ask yourself questions like…
- Why does this go here?
- How does this provide value to my prospects?
- What does this do to help solve my problems?
If you question your template, you’ll find that there’s not much to say to back up of the design decisions with one of these templates – especially if your goal is to educate your prospects, generate leads, and develop new business.
And you should question your designer the same way you question your template. A good designer will give you persuasive arguments for every pixel and word on your consulting website.