Building a website doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. It’s possible, however, to build an amazing website without knowing how to code. That’s where website templates come into play, alongside other DIY solutions of all sorts. Allowing you to build a beautiful website with just a few clicks, templates make it easy to set up a personal or business page in a matter of minutes. Here’s how you can craft your own site with a template with minimal effort.
What Are Website Templates All About?
Templates are often available through website builders like WordPress or Wix. The idea behind them is that you can choose one that best suits your needs and customize as needed. Some templates are designed for certain types of sites (such as a magazine/journal versus an online store) and others simply put special emphasis on specific design specifications.
In fact, this is one of the reasons behind WordPress’s popularity. Visit any given WordPress site (and with over 50% of websites today being built with WordPress, there’s plenty to choose from) and chances are very likely that one, if not most of these sites, was cobbled out of a template. Not everyone knows how to code but almost everyone wants to be able to build a website, a beautiful one that is. This is why templates are such a big thing.
What Goes Into Creating a Website Template?
With the vast amount of different templates available, you may wonder how difficult it is to create a template and whether you should just try to do it yourself. Both the money and process that goes behind making each template may surprise you, however, and it can be broken down into six categories:
- Research – One of the most basic parts of creating a new template is conducting research into interface patterns and website trends. There is a reason why websites look the way they do, and the average cost of the research stage is around $400.
- Prototyping – The final design of a website is actually determined early in the process. Once research is completed, template designers create a prototype to assess how effective their layout will be. This can cost upwards of $600.
- Design – Before even a single line of code is written, a design is chosen for a template. This, too, requires a deep knowledge of trends and how a website will stand up to the passage of time. Designing a site costs $1,000.
- Front-End Coding – When coding finally begins, the focus is on the front-end. Developers create templates that follow the form of the original research, prototyping, and design. This phase costs $1,000.
- Back-End Coding – Once a front-end is established, developers transform the static HTML code into a fully functioning website. This is where the prototype becomes most important, as it is used as a schematic to indicate a site’s function. Back-end development costs and additional $600.
- Quality Assurance – Once a template is completed it must be tested by QA engineers to ensure that it functions as the original researchers intended. This final step costs around $400 but is worth every penny if it means that customers will remain satisfied with their theme for the duration of their use.
Altogether a website template costs around $4,000 from start to finish. This does not include the customer support that most developers provide and unexpected costs that may pop up. Most themes barely recoup their costs and popular templates are the holy grail among developers.
Next time you second guess the price of a template, just remember how much of a reduction it is of the actual cost.
Choosing a Website Builder
But the problem is knowing how to choose one that works best for you. Depending on the website building service that you are using, your options for how to use a template will vary drastically.
For instance, WordPress website templates can be selected from either the WordPress site or uploaded through a third-party provider. If you choose to use a template from a third-party developer there are some extra steps you will need to follow, which we’ll cover later. Templates can be changed at any time, so you have nothing to worry about if you decide that what you pick now isn’t working for you at a later date.
Wix, on the other hand, does not have an option to switch templates later. So this is something you will want to keep in mind when choosing your website hosting/building service. With Wix, you’ll only get one template per website. If you’d like to use a different template you’ll have to make a whole new website. You’ll also have to use Wix templates only. There’s no uploading from a third-party site at this time.
Other website builders, such as Joomla, usually offer users the ability to choose templates from third-party sites or from their own service. Be sure you do plenty of research before you dive in and choose a website building site.
Selecting the Right Website Template
The best part of building your own website is, of course, choosing a template that works best for the type of site you would like to build.
First, you’ll need to decide what the purpose of your site is. Are you a business? A journalist? A freelance designer? Consider what you want your website to do for you. This will affect the look of your website and the kinds of features you’ll want in the template you select.
Take a look at your competitor’s or colleague’s websites. How are they designed and structured? You may be able to get a few design ideas through taking a look at similar websites and comparing how they match up to what kind of vision you have for your own.
You’ll then want to consider whether you’re willing to pay for your website template or whether you would prefer to look into free website templates. Free isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to websites though you will want to be sure you’re testing out as many templates as possible to make sure that they fit your needs.
When you’re using a website builder like Wix, you certainly want to take your time choosing a template. Remember that Wix won’t allow you to change your template later so it’s absolutely vital to make sure that you find the best template possible before you dive deep into designing your site.
WordPress and Third-Party Templates and Themes
But we’ll have to spend a brief moment talking about how to set up a WordPress template specifically. Choosing a template on the WordPress site is as easy as clicking on the one you want. What if you’d like to choose a third-party template?
This will depend on whether you’re using WordPress.com or WordPress.org. If you’re using WordPress.com, you won’t be able to use third-party templates. Sample principle applies to using extensions.
WordPress.org, however, will allow you to install and customize as you please, proven you find a web host. Let’s assume you’re using .org throughout the rest of this section.
When you find a template you like from an alternate provider, simply download it to your computer. Then, while viewing your WordPress site through the appearance tab, you can simply choose your template design file that you downloaded and upload it directly onto the site.
Why would you want to select a third-party theme in the first place? You may be having trouble finding a template you like on the WordPress site. This is not an uncommon problem, especially if you have a very specific vision for how you would like your site to appear. Some of the basic WordPress templates are not always extension friendly or able to be customized with ease. It’s always a good idea to check out third-party templates, at least to get a feel for potential options while choosing the best option for your own site.
Free or Paid Templates?
Is it always a good idea to choose free website templates or are there times when you should consider paying for one? The choice is up to you but there are a few things you will want to consider.
One, are you in love with a particular look or feel for your website? In this case, it may be a wise decision to pay for a specific template if it meshes well with your initial vision for how you would like your site to look.
But you may also want to consider the fact that you will usually have the ability to customize your site as desired. This posits a strong case for finding website templates that are free. There are plenty of free templates out there (especially if you seek third-party ones) and it may be possible to find something that works for you without paying a dime.
Again, you will want to consider your needs. Do plenty of research and, if possible, test out or preview multiple templates to see which ones mesh the best with your website’s purpose and your goals for what you would like your website to look like and do.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to what template to use. It’s all about how you envision your website and what you want it to be able to do for you. Take your time and be open to trying out new templates as needed. The key to making a website template work for you is seeing how well it matches up with your website’s needs.
In recent years, the number of different devices used to access the internet has grown. From desktops to tablets to smartphones and everything in between, there is no conformity in device size or usage. This doesn’t mean that your site can’t cater to all users, however.
The concept of adaptive design is very straightforward. When implemented, the layout of your website will conform to any screen size on any device. This is achieved through different means, the primary of which are responsive sites and mobile sites.
Responsive sites adapt to changes in screen size automatically. This means that the same site is served to all users and it conforms to the space in which it is displayed. WebsiteBuilderInsider is built on a responsive platform, and you can see for yourself how the elements adapt when you expand and contract the size of your browser.
Mobile sites are versions of your web page that automatically get called up when a mobile user is detected. These sites may have a simpler layout and a more limited functionality from their desktop equivalents, so it is important to choose the most important elements for mobile users. These can include store directions, phone numbers, and general information.