I will offer some opinions here, and you can take them or leave them. However, due to my experience (and actual tests run), I hope you will take what I have to say to heart! :-)
What is it that gets visitors to your Web site to stay there, browsing, looking and buying? Is it the design? Is it the layout? No, it’s the CONTENT. The written content keeps your visitors on your site and viewing your pages.
What causes your visitors to purchase from you? The content. They read, they read some more, they find good points that creates enough interest for them to purchase.
Let’s imagine you go to a Web site and the design is wonderful. Fancy, creative graphics. It really wows you. But the content is boring, or hard to understand, or it simply doesn’t capture your interest. Will you be encouraged to buy from them?
Another important question: Will you come back? It’s extremely doubtful. Maybe you’ll go back to get that wow effect from the design again, but not because of the content. Right?
On the other hand, if you go to a site that provides excellent content (like articles or informational text) you will likely bookmark that page. You will probably share that site with others.
Maybe this page with fantastic content has just a basic design, or an ugly default WordPress template. But you still bookmark and share it. You are likely to return for a visit. And this is because there is content that is more than interesting to read and that holds your attention.
Finding a template for a Web page should be a fast and painless process. Google doesn’t care about your design, they only care about the written content and the human behavior based on that content.
My opinion is that folks spend too much time on the design of their site, modifying the template, etc… way too much time. They miss the boat in this regard. What they should concentrate on is having great content that captures interest and encourages people to return.
High quality content goes a long way to getting your visitors to come and stay. You will attract many more visitors through the search engines. You will SELL your product because of that.
Obviously, the above wouldn’t necessarily apply to those selling templates or promoting design services… ;-)
And I can’t say I am completely innocent when it’s come to getting carried away sometimes with the design. But I am ridding myself of that compulsion step by step!