With businesses trying to cut costs to remain profitable it can sometimes be tempting to take a Do It Yourself approach to designing the company website, especially with the amount of free web templates available on the internet these days. However, this is route is not necessarily the most appropriate and effective route to take.
Firstly unless you have extensive knowledge of web programming languages like HTML and CSS then making changes to your website or adding elements to the site is going to be a somewhat difficult task. Say for example that you wanted to add a Facebook widget or integrate a shopping cart with Paypal payment, even with documentation, it is going to be difficult to make this work for your site. A professional web design company will be able to integrate these functions into your site seamlessly.
One of the main problems in using a pre-made web template is that you will not get a unique design, tailored to promote your company brand and image. Most free web templates are extremely bland and, because they are free, your design will look the same as hundreds of other sites on the internet (potentially causing confusion between your site and another in the same business area). The terms of service that come with these websites can also end up being a problem, a lot of free templates stipulate that you can use the template but that there are areas of the code that you cannot change. These areas usually include links out to the makers of the template, or can sometimes contain links to sites who have paid the makers of the template to have their link there. What this means is, your company website, often the first thing a potential client will see will contain links out to sites that you have control over.
Free web templates come with no technical support, attempt to change something and end up breaking the layout of the site and you will need to contact a web designer to help you put it right. There is also no guarantee that the site will render correctly across all modern web browsers, which means your site may not even be usable for percentage of your visitors. There is also next to no chance that a developer putting out a free web template has taken the time to make sure the site is usable on mobile phones, with many people now using mobiles to access the internet (particularly to find local businesses) you really need your site to be usable on them.
Lastly, and most importantly, a free web template is not going to very well optimised for the search engines so if your main purpose of having a website is to attract new customers you are wasting your time. It is extremely important that your website appears at the top of the search engine results when users are searching for products or services that you offer, for this you will need a professional website design company who specialise in Search Engine Optimisation.