If you’re looking to build a website for your company, finding a decent template is a great place to start. It facilitates the process greatly and depending on what type of builder you use, you can have a fully functional website in a matter of hours, with all the essentials.
But there are a lot of places out there that seem to promise the same thing: stunning templates with a lot of customisation options. Who has the best one?
You might also be interested in WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR WEB DESIGN?
What Is a Website Template?
Website templates are pre-designed pages or groups of pages that users can customise with their texts, videos, images, and other elements to create a website. They are often created by web developers and include roughly everything one needs for the website to function.
Through them, the process of web design and development is simplified, as you do not have to create the entire site from scratch. And, perhaps, the best part about a website template is that it can empower you to create a site with little to no programming experience.
Where Are Website Templates Found?
There are a few different options available:
A website builder is a tool designed to help people create easy websites. Some popular examples include Shopify for online stores or Wix.
These tools offer everything you need to create a website with zero coding experience since most rely on a drag and drop format that allows you to manually place all the design elements you want, where you want some. Additionally, these builders also come with additional support for their users in terms of improving their websites, and even marketing.
Here are some benefits of using website builders:
- Template library – these tools come with large template libraries you can browse, and with additional graphic elements you may need to personalise your pages;
- Reduced costs – most builders work on a membership model, and will even offer additional web hosting at lower costs if you take the complete package. Plus, a lot of their templates can be completely free;
- Faster launch – assuming you have everything else for your business’s website ready (such as the content), your launch can be scheduled a lot sooner thanks to these tools;
- Support and help for modern sites – these builders know the importance of SEO, so their templates and tools help create fully responsive sites that offer a great user experience;
- Easy website maintenance – most of the things you’ll need to do to change something on your site or update it can be done right in your admin panel.
However, one major issue a lot of people have with website builders is that they are rather restrictive in terms of what sort of website you end up with. Some of the templates come with design templates that aren’t completely customisable.
You can maybe change the pictures, colour schemes, and switch a few elements here and there, but if you want a complete overhaul of template design, or add a very specific feature like a video background, these builders may not accommodate it.
Content Management Systems
Another issue with website builders is that they may cost a bit too much for businesses that are just starting. They are an investment some may not be able to make.
A good alternative is the content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla. As website builders, these are tools that help people build websites faster, but the caveat is that it takes a bit more effort than with a website builder.
Some benefits can include:
- You can create any type of website imaginable, there are literally no limits in terms of customisation;
- They have tons of plugins that provide extra features easily, such as adding social sharing buttons with just a few clicks;
- You can choose your own web hosting, and you can easily move your site to a new host if needed (website builders also allow this option, but it can get pretty difficult).
But, you can customise a WordPress theme however you like, and add or take away any sort of elements. It’s an HTML template which means you can brush up your HTML knowledge and start revamping the theme until you’re pleased with the results. Additionally, a CMS is a lot cheaper than website builders, so if you have fewer funds but more time to wait, this is a very good option.
There is a bit of a learning curve here. Though you may still get a drag and drop format for customising templates, and plugins to add quick features, you will likely still need to modify the HTML of a page for very specific elements.
There’s no shortage of online stores that provide website templates. You can browse their libraries until you find the one you like, buy it, and use it however you want.
Some benefits can include:
- Literally millions of options, you have a lot of opportunities to find the perfect template;
- Some templates can be really cheap
You will still need to use a tool like a CMS to customise it, but this is a good option if, for instance, you’re not happy with the WordPress template library and are looking for something else. If you’re paying for a website building subscription, you need to check if they allow you to upload your own page template first.
Some builders can enable you to create the template from scratch, but they may be limited in terms of what elements you can bring outside of their library.
Which Is the Best Option?
The best template is the one that can support all your business goals. For example, let’s say you have a real estate business and want to create a website to promote your services. Consider your business needs, and how a website template can do to support them.
First, you have the general requirements that make a high-quality website, such as:
- Being fully responsive – this refers to a site that works on all operating systems, browsers, and mobile devices. These days, web designers must ensure the sites they create are accessible to everyone, no matter what the individual uses to navigate the web. This is done in the website’s backend, by ensuring the design manages to adapt to the user’s device;
- Having fast-loading pages – page speed is a big factor for SEO and even consumers. On average, people will not wait more than 1-2 seconds for a web page to fully load, and the expectations may be even greater on mobile devices;
- Having user-friendly navigation – this allows your target to easily find their way through the content. Websites with very complicated navigation, poor menu bars, or lack of internal links are generally not met well by consumers, as they can find it frustrating to look through such a design;
- A pleasant website design – meaning a design that represents your business well and makes a good impression with consumers. The website is often the first place a potential customer interacts with your business, so you want to make sure you choose the right fonts, colour scheme, images, etc.
Then, you may have some business-specific elements that you’d want to add, such as:
- A Google Maps preview so people can easily locate your business;
- A contact form to allow potential clients to get in touch instantly;
- A way to showcase your credentials and certifications;
- A special section for client testimonials and reviews, etc.
The good news is that even if you go with a template, you’ll likely easily meet all these characteristics. Web designers are extremely updated on the different expectations consumers have regarding a website, and they integrate them even in pre-made templates.
At the end of the day, choosing one of these options comes down to answering a few key questions:
- What’s your website budget?
- How much time do you have to set up a site?
- Do you have any programming skills, or are you willing to learn?
Once you answer these questions, it’s all a matter of choosing the right builder or CMS, and browning template libraries until you find something suitable.
One potential issue with relying on website templates is that the results may be too similar to other sites on the web. People with no web design experience can be empowered to create fast sites with these tools, but if you don’t customise the template to make it yours, it can end up being too close to other websites, which can in turn hurt your business goals.
Australian Internet Advertising offers affordable web design services to Sydney businesses wanting to break out in the digital sphere. Contact us here, or call our office at 1300 304 640 to find out more.