had the chance to sit down and chat with Erich Vokral, CEO of Allwebco Design Corporation
. We looked closely at the features that make them stand out as a website templates provider, and how they plan to improve their services in the near future.
Tell us about yourself and how you got involved with web development.
Allwebco Design is located in the North Chicago suburbs.
In the late 90s I created a parody website called Bud Uglly Design, which had an interactive bungee jump. It received quite a bit of press, the Internet being the wild west at that time, and I got write-ups in paper magazine editions like Yahoo! Internet Life, Internet Underground, PC and Windows magazines and a number of other hard copy magazines as well as winning numerous “site of the day” website awards.
I started Allwebco Design Corporation when a friend of mine started a web hosting company and needed his hosting website designed. This was in 1998.
After the hosting site was created I started doing custom web design. But custom design was not very cost effective at that time. I saw that pre-built website templates were being offered from various websites and I created about a dozen to offer on my new design website https://allwebcodesign.com/ . This was in 2003. They started selling pretty quickly so I expanded the selection, concentrating on offering free support to all my clients. I filed to become a corporation in 2004.
Fun fact: I have always been interested in art and design and have shown paintings in downtown Chicago fine art galleries in the past, but am not showing in any galleries at this time.
What types of templates does Allwebco currently offer?
Our templates are responsive for all browsers and devices and are mobile friendly RWD designs. We offer templates for small business, photography, small stores with Paypal shopping carts, video media, sites for families, as well as starter web templates and designs for musicians.
. This includes fully functioning drop menus, animated slideshows, dynamic galleries, FAQ sections and other features.
Fully functioning scripted website templates were something new when I started in 2003 but they are more common today.
How does your mission differ from the other companies in your niche?
Personal free support is one thing that defines our product
and we really focus on that. We offer a large and comprehensive template support database that covers all template design aspects as well as many free scripts and tutorials.
Moreover, our designs are easier to work with, and allow site expansion and custom elements
, thanks to the use of very small scripts and lean code. The designs are self-contained stand-alone downloaded websites. This allows users to move to a different web hosting company without having to re-build your website whenever you move it. Our templates are stand-alone and “portable”.
How much can a good template contribute to the growth and performance of a business?
Many of our users have been using our templates for many years, although responsive mobile design was not available until around 2010 even some of our sites from before 2010 are still functioning with some CSS updates. I’ve see how users have added elements and expanded and updated their website in many creative ways, even in designs over 10 years old.
The reason for this is that Allwebco Templates use a simple base of standard HTML and CSS. This allows for unlimited expandability and compliance with all website scripts and applications
. Our clients are mostly small business startups and new users.
What should people consider when choosing between building a site in HTML or with WordPress?
There’s really a number of site building options. Free standing HTML/CSS in a downloaded or a built from scratch HTML website, WordPress, software like Dreamweaver or Coffeecup, a hosting content management system or CMS, or a proprietary “web builder” like Squarespace or WIX.
Most professional and high-end websites use freestanding, built from scratch HTML/CSS design. This means you can optionally start with a downloaded template like what we offer at Allwebco Design and build on that. So our sites are very flexible as far as expandability goes.
Some of the benefits of our designs are: free from dependence on one hosting company, easier to move the website if needed, allows for a more flexible site plan, more comprehensive SEO, easier future expandability, more creative freedom, not limited by a site builder’s restrictions.
What are the key factors of the success of your templates in such a crowded market?
The age of our company and a loyal user base are factors in our success, as well as our free developer support.
Because we started offering website templates in the early 2000s we built up a large client base, and we also advertised very heavily at that time because click rates were just a few cents per click (as low as 5 cents at that time). As the competition heated up those clicks reached as high as $5 to $10 per click.
I really have no idea what that rate is today with so many companies offering website builders that we don’t want to advertise in the current market anymore. Our templates are a niche target market, for small time developers who like coding and for users that work on desktop and laptop, rather than on mobile devices. Our market is made mostly of older and more experienced computer users.
What do you see in the future of your industry, and how do you plan to cope?
Since we’re more of a niche type of downloaded website template for small business, new users, developers and designers I’m not sure how the market will change and grow. We like to keep our templates up-to-date with the latest CSS and HTML code standards and do re-design each year to keep up with design trends.
One trend we’ve avoided for example is the “infinite scroll”, where when scrolling a website it keeps going and going. This is to help engage users, however this type of design is impractical for novice users and our type of client who are looking to setup a website to showcase or sell their product as quickly and easily as possible, which has always been our goal: simplicity and ease of updating and expanding.