If you're using the Joomla! Content Management System, you have several template choices when creating a new website or facing a website redesign. The Joomla CMS ships with 3 default templates, but most business websites won't find these very useful unless you want to look like hundreds of thousands of other sites already on the web.
With the Joomla! CMS nearing 15 Million downloads in the past 4 years, that's a lot of similar looking sites for those that still use the default template.
So you want your site to look different? You basically have 2 choices.
Template club Joomla template
- A good choice if you're on a seriously tight budget.
- Free templates are available if you don't mind a link at the bottom of your site.
- Easy to change from week to week or month to month.
- Support on forums from other users like you.
- Great for the weekend web warrior or do-it-yourself techie types.
- Keep in mind, thousands of other folks still use the very same template as you.
- The template incorporates a lot of extra code (code bloat = slow pages) to make it work for everyone.
- Paying to have Template Club templates customized can ultimately cost more than a custom design.
- Support for changes and bugs can range from good to quite lacking.
- No direct contact with original developer for customization.
Custom Joomla template
- Unique template design created specifically for your website.
- SEO can be incorporated to meet your specific needs.
- You have direct input and final say on the layout, design, colors and typography used.
- Normally the code is leaner with a custom template, making pages load quickly.
- Support directly from the designer/developer if changes are needed or bugs are found.
- Additional customization is possible since you are working directly with the designer.
- The design can incorporate styling for specific extensions your Joomla website uses.
- Cost is a factor. Custom Joomla templates cost more because they are built from the ground up.
- It can take a month or more to design and code a template from scratch depending on the design.
- Layout changes may require additional design and coding to incorporate later on.
Roberts Web Design creates custom Joomla templates for 95% of our client's websites. We have used the default template with customizations only twice in 4 years due to budget constraints of the client. We have customized a template club template for a client only once, and that turned out to cost the client more than if we built it ourselves due to the extensive code bloat that needed to be removed and what the client wanted the final product to look like.
When you make the choice of what type of template you want to use for your website, you should discuss your ideas with the developer of the website and weigh the pros and cons for your specific needs.
Clearly I'm biased in my assessment above, but I'm looking at it from a developers perspective, and your mileage may vary.
What are you experiences with different Joomla templates? Have you used template club templates for Joomla sites in the past? Have you paid to have a custom template designed and developed for your website?
We would love to hear your experiences and ideas in the comments section below, and if you would like to discuss your specific needs with a professional Joomla website developer, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.