To Use a Template or to Not Use a Template: That is the Question.
I don’t know about any of you, but that was MY biggest question this entire semester: Do I want to use a template? I sat there for a good week or two simply asking myself this over and over (I might sound crazy, but I really did). I listed all of the pros and cons to each, and ended up with something like this:
Pros to Using a Template:
- My website will look awesome. Some of those templates out there are very professional looking, so my site won’t look “homemade”
- It will function well. I don’t need to be worried about one of my links disappearing or some other crazy thing that I didn’t code correctly.
- If I love how it looks, but don’t like something small (like font or color scheme), it’s a really simple fix.
Cons to Using a Template:
- Not having total control over everything. I like to be in charge of my work, and sometimes it’s easier to just make it yourself and not have to mess with a huge part of the template.
- Feeling like I wouldn’t learn the in’s and outs of it all. Would I really remember how to do something if I just made one of the simple changes that I considered one of the positive aspects of the site?
- Feeling like I wouldn’t get as much out of it if I didn’t do it myself.
After all of that, I decided to try both. I searched through the pages of templates to find something I liked, and of course I did. I loved every aspect about it: the color, the cool widget for a content box, the video in the sidebar, all of it. But then I sat there and really didn’t feel good about it. Sure it looked great, and I sat there clicking on my site almost every five minutes just to see it. It was MY site.
But, when I thought about it more, it really wasn’t mine.
Sure, to an extent it was. Those wonderful creative commons licenses said it was. But I didn’t agree. I tried changing huge aspects of the template to make it feel more like my own creation, but I still didn’t feel comfortable with it. So, I started looking at tutorial after tutorial to finally make MY website.
After compiling a bunch that gave me a very bare bones wordpress theme (I used one tutorial especially because they didn’t let you copy/paste the PHP. The author was very adamant that you wrote in each piece yourself, and that’s what I did. I need to go find it again, but when I do I’ll post it in the bookmark area), I fianlly had something to work with. Once I got through all of that, I was free to take control of everything. That video box that I wanted? I got it. And I could put it wherever I wanted. The size of the content area? The amount of sidebars? How the entire navigation area looked? I could change it all. My site may not look as flashy as the other ones that the templates could have provided, but with a little more work, it can get close!
In no way am I saying that using a template is bad. I think they are great. I bet if I knew more about how html and css worked, I would have used one of those and changed it up entirely. But I personally made it my goal to try to do as much as I could on my own. I wanted to see what I could do without a template. Maybe I’m just masochistic, haha. Who knows. But I do know now that I have a greater appreciation for my work so far, and a greater appreciation for almost any website I go on now. Who would have thought that one question would lead me to look at something that seemed so familair in such a different way.