Today in the spotlight of our article is Demetrio Fortman, COO at TemplateMonster and founder of such popular projects as MotoCMS, MotoPress, and Defrozo.
Interviewer: Hello Demetrio! Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions. It would extremely interesting and informative for our readers to learn about your experience. Nothing can be more encouraging than real-life example. So let’s start. The average business person is busy – wearing multiple hats. What advantage is there to using a template for a website layout?
Demetrio Fortman: It’s a pleasure for me as well. I like talking to people, making them think. It is really rewarding when after talking to you people learn something new. Concerning your question. Ready-made templates have loads of advantages. The most obvious ones are their affordability and efficiency. They are relatively cheap comparing to building a website from scratch and you can start using them right after you buy it. Some might say that ready-made template is not a unique solution. Actually, you shouldn’t worry about it. All TemplateMonsterthemes are highly flexible and can be customized out of all recognition. With powerful customization modules you can modify the layout without any technical skills.
Interviewer: You’ve built a massive collection of templates. What are some common design patterns or trends that “work well” on a website?
Demetrio Fortman: Well, we try to follow all the latest trends and tendencies. Monitoring all the updates on the market is really important. First of all, all our themes are responsive. And this is even out of discussion. Lately we focus on multipurpose themes. They are really popular among the customers thanks to flexibility and advanced functionality. All the latest themes have some customization module in-built to facilitate the editing process, like MotoPress editor, Live Customizer or TM Drag-and-Drop Layout Builder. We try to be flexible ourselves and always improve what we have to satisfy the demands of the customers.
Interviewer: If you had to share your top three tips on how to build an effective website, what would they be?
Demetrio Fortman: As for me, the main feature of an effective website is user-friendliness. That’s what we try to inculcate into MotoCMS themes. If the website is not intuitive no one will pay attention to your awesome design and cool parallax. Then goes responsive design. It is really important, as more and more people use handheld devices for browsing. Without this feature you will lose the lion’s share of audience. And only after these two items comes the design. You should keep an eye on what is in trend and use these features on your website. However, it is important not to overdo here. You should be reasonable in everything you do.
Interviewer: When you launch a site, there’s a fair amount of testing that needs to take place. Naturally, this takes a lot of time. Do you find that your clients are able to shortcut this process by using either all or part of a pre-built template? How so?
Demetrio Fortman: Yes, as I have already mentioned, using a pre-built template for your website you save your time, as the most of testing routing is already conducted on our side. You get already a ready-to-use product with only some fine-tuning necessity.
Interviewer: What types of analytics tools do you use on your own site to optimize sales and increase revenue? What do you advise clients to use? Why?
Demetrio Fortman: Of course, it is Google Analytics. There is hardly any website that goes without it. However, our SEO team is not afraid to experiment and we often test some new tools. That is also very important. You shouldn’t be conservative. This feature is not only useless, but can be even harmful in web development area where the changes happen in the blink of an eye. But the best thing for optimizing sales and increasing conversion is of course, customer care:)
Interviewer: Your templates are geared to helping clients gain conversions. How do you optimize your layouts to do this (headlines, buttons, forms, etc.)?
Demetrio Fortman: Our templates are optimized for content marketing strategy. We create well-structured layouts that smoothly and inconspicuously guide the customer to the action we want from him. There are dozens of elements aiming to assist in this process. These are call-to-action buttons, header sliders, banners. To raise the trust level to the brand, you can use testimonial section. Online chat is also a great feature that allows you controlling the behavior of the customer and to guide him in real time. Social integration also benefits both, the webmaster and the user. You, as a webmaster, can collect data from social accounts of your customers to study their preferences. And the users can have an easy login process.
Interviewer: Your templates collection supports a variety of platforms. Do you recommend clients use a CMS, as opposed to hard-coding HTML? Why?
Demetrio Fortman: Actually it is a question of taste. CMS is an ideal choice for those who either don’t have much experience, or don’t have a possibility to devote much time to the project. CMS has everything you need to customize and maintain your website. When you come to the point of redesigning your website, you won’t need to overhaul the whole website. But that doesn’t mean that HTML templates are bad. They are just a little bit more complicated and require some basic skills. However our clients can apply to TM Service Center, if they want to have everything done for them.
Interviewer: What are some key insights you’ve learned about your own customers over the years? How do you deliver a top-notch user experience?
Demetrio Fortman: The customers are real people with their own ideas, worries and tastes. You can’t please everyone, but you should use personal approach and try to understand the needs of each one of them. That’s why we have a professional support team, who is ready to help around the world, around the clock.
Interviewer: Do you test various elements on your site to measure how they impact usability, conversions, or brand perception? If so, what have you learned and would you recommend clients conduct similar tests?
Demetrio Fortman: Of course, when we are planning to introduce some new features to our templates we conduct a serious research. We test it out to measure its usability and only then, if it satisfies the expectations, we include it to our themes. I would recommend everyone to try out something new. I have already said that conservatism is baneful for your business. New features appear every day. And they are not a whim, but a necessity. So brushing them aside is at least stupid.
Interviewer: When you’re not working, what are some of your interests? How do you stay sharp and continue to develop your own skills/experience?
Demetrio Fortman: Oh, I have lots of hobbies besides my work. I am constantly searching for new opportunities and personal growth. My greatest passion is marathon racing. My personal best is 3:26:20:) I like extreme sports as well. I try to use every chance to do something new. It’s like in the “Yes Man” movie. You need to say “Yes” to life and it will give you back thousands of opportunities.