I remember back in the day when Internet was dial-up and things were just starting to get interesting (and virtual); one of the biggest trends in school hallways was a blog, usually hosted by angelfire, where we’d share our not-so-secret secrets (those were reserved for our best friends).
I remember learning html language so I could create several pages, each with a different background, header gif, and a multitude of buttons. I spent hours researching codes and re-formatting my blog, which contained zero information – honestly, I loved tweaking the appearance of it more than I did writing stuff in it.
Woosh fifteen years and several blogging platforms into the future. I’ll be honest, I’ve completely forgotten my angelfire log in and password because I discovered blogspot and, a while later, myspace (and then after, wordpress). Now, what these later platforms have in common is that they offer the user the possibility to choose from several different appearances for their website and the choice of editing the text with a tool bar or through html.
The whole amount of templates made available by the website platforms reflected a demand for easily set up webpages, since a lot more people were online and actively using the web, from bored angst teenagers to fashionist as to business getting in contact with their customers. The problem is that these templates could only be modified to a certain extent, and pre-formatted platforms could only offer a limited sophistication to websites – so if you wanted more you’d pay for a subscription.
Whoever had a better grasp of coding was able to tweak the available templates more easily; if by chance you happened to be a mere mortal there were loads of sites offering other templates/codes you could apply to your page and make it a bit more personal (myspace didn’t provide us with all those emo themed backgrounds that *really* let our personalities show).
Things haven’t changed much nowadays; when you subscribe to a blogging platform you have the option of upgrading it to its own page (for a fee, of course) and with the upgrade you also get more templates to choose from. Even if you’re starting with your own domain there are thousands of templates you can download for free on the Internet – you simply add your content and publish.
So I guess my big question here is if it’s worth to customise your page when there are so many choices out there. And I’m afraid my answer won’t be that great either: it depends on various factors, but mostly on you.
You see, most templates come with a certain leeway: you can change colours, fonts, the position of image and text boxes, and things like that. If you can make it work for you, fantastic. Now, if you want something very different from what’s out there, or want to make major changes to any theme you’re working with, then you’ll have to customise it.
There is something you’ll need to know, though, if you’ve never done it before: it involves coding; if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to know at least the basics of html or css (you do have the alternative of plug-ins, just remember they can slow your page down). If you need to customise your page (your business’s page, for example) but don’t know how to do it, hire someone to do it for you –because while it isn’t very complicated, it is time-consuming, and you might not want or can’t spend so much time on it.
If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll find there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing all those hours of coding transformed into the website you’d envisioned. There are loads and loads of pages on the Internet that can help you with the codes, from learning the basics (an I mean very basic) to putting it all in motion. Have fun and good luck!