Nothing beats a uniquely designed website. A design that is visually appealing to the users as well as being user friendly in its interface.
So, when is it a good time to use a template? Should a template be used at all? This question comes up time and time again and I believe that there are certain situations where a template can help speed up the development of a website.
Why Use a Template
If you're lacking in the design skills or can't afford to contract a designer to design your web site then you might want to try and get a web site template. There are a few companies out there that make templates.
Joomla Shack has to be my favourite template developer. I've bought several templates from them and have used them across various sites.
Learning from a Template
From a designer's and developer's point of view,there can be a lot to learn from these templates. A lot of the features and dynamic PHP layouts can really help make a design very versatile.
I Need My Site Up NOW!!!
I myself, am a freelance designer/developer and have been for a good number of years. How many times have I been contacted by a client that wants their site NOW. "Oh hey, my names Mr Smith and I want a website done and I needed it last week. Thanks". I've heard it too many times. To help speed up the development and design process I have to admit that I have used a template here and there. Of course the templates have been modified and tweaked to not look like the original but it still helps speed up the process.
In some certain situations where I actualy own the site and I haven't cared much for the design as yet then I've gone ahead and used a template fully. In these situations I would go back to the site at a later date to have it redesigned if the site is successful. I find it much more important to get a site going and making it profitable before spending any more time, money or effort in to the design and user interface.