Building a website is no easy task, but there are ways to make the journey quicker and easier, especially if you don’t have a fancy degree in design or 30+ years experience in website building. Templates are the way to go and I’m going to tell exactly why.
What are templates?
I’m pretty sure you’re aware of the term template as it’s used in most industries. For example, document or letter templates and of course – website templates.
A website template is usually a fully designed layout that you can customize. As simple as that. But keep in mind that there are multiple types of website templates you may stumble upon. These are the most common ones:
- Content – Only the content part of the page;
- Whole page – A whole page with a header, footer, content and everything in between.
- Site template – A template for multiple pages that make the full site (ex. About Us, Contacts, Products etc.)
- Header, footer, sidebar – A template for header, footer or sidebar design only.
- Part of the content – A template for a specific type of content for example testimonials or feature list.
Knowing these can prevent buying an expensive template that you thought was for the whole website but turns out all you got was a header, for example.
One of the reasons why services like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are so popular is the fact that they have templates to offer and people know that it makes life much easier.
What to look for in a template?
Now that you know what is the wonderful template, you can start looking for templates to use ASAP. But between the thousands of templates, what to look for to get exactly what you need for your page?
There are a couple of things that are in common in good website templates:
- Simplicity – The design is not overly complicated or confusing. If you are confused by the template design, visitor of your site will be too.
- Clarity – You can understand the reason behind the design decisions, the features included serve a purpose.
- Navigation – The template provides a layout that allows to use it with ease and you can find what you are looking for quickly. The visitors don’t have to scroll for ages to find what they need.
- Customization – a good template consists of elements that are easily replaceable, the design doesn’t ‘fall apart’ if you remove or add something, because that would eliminate the whole purpose of using a template.
If you can find these in a template – it’s a keeper.
When to use them?
You might be thinking: “But wouldn’t using a template mean that my website looks exactly the same as others?” I’m not going to lie – they can. But it all depends on how and when you choose to use a template.
Templates are a great starting point. You should look at them as guidelines to follow for a successful website design. If you find a well-made template, with few simple clicks, you are able to make the page original. Templates usually contain a structure that you can follow even if you choose not to include most of the design features. For example, you can find a one-page template with a header, 3 content blocks and contact information in the footer. It is going to be fully designed but you can only keep the framework and replace everything else.
Also, don’t be afraid to play around with the design of the template. As beautiful as it may be, the designer didn’t make it with your particular needs in mind, so take only what you need and as I said before, the structure would be the best choice.
You might already be convinced that templates are awesome by know, but just to tip you over the edge, let’s name some obvious benefits and then move on to some cool free templates that you can try RIGHT NOW (or better after you read the benefits.)
Here are the benefits:
- Time – Templates save you a lot of time because you don’t have to go through the structuring, the designing, the basic decisions are already made for you by professionals.
- Consistency – Templates ensure that the design will be consistent throughout the page and that makes a big difference, especially with the user experience and it’s just more visually pleasing.
- Professional – If you are not a designer, templates offer a professional design that you can use however you wish.
- Cost – Templates are much cheaper than hiring a designer but still created by professionals. Best of both world, I would say.
- Global management – There’s a possibility to manage all pages that use a particular template via one place. Usually, you can do it through add-ons like Visual Composer Global Templates.
These are certainly not the only benefits, but these tend to be the most important.
Now let’s go on a little trip to Visual Composer Templates that you can have right now for free. With the free version of Visual Composer Website Builder, you get access to a bunch of free templates for your portfolio, small business, products and many more.
Ready, Set, Go!
A template is only the beginning, but it’s is a good one. Remember to find the right template and customize the shucks out of it. You know best what your website needs so choose the template wisely and it will be a breeze from there.