Choose the Best Website Template for You
By Top10 Staff
In today's online world, there are so many options for templates and themes that even a website built with no technical skills whatsoever can turn out entirely unique from any other. Customization options are so impressive that a website can give you everything you want in terms of branding, entirely complementing your offline business, without paying the steep fee that comes with a website designer.
However, the flip side of this is that the choices truly are endless. Without a way to narrow down the options you could be looking for that perfect template forever! The truth is you need to know exactly what you want from your website to be sure you’re investing your time and money in the right place.
One great way to narrow down the search, is by thinking about what industry your website will be serving, and then choosing a template which is custom designed to suit that industry. All you then need to do, is add your own customization in terms of font styles and colour schemes, and pick and choose the extra features which will really speak to your target audience and make your website experience pop.
Wix is one of the world’s most popular choices for DIY web design, and they would agree with putting industry first. So much so, that they automatically categorize their templates by business type, and offer a simple keyword search to find the exact kind of template you’re looking for. Other premium website builders like Web.com offer vastly differing templates and leave it up to you to decide which best suits your purposes. For a slightly different take on choosing a template, try a builder such as Weebly, who rather than categorize by industry, lets you choose by style, offering categories such as ‘sleek’ or ‘fun’ and even by features like ‘big image’.
Many businesses skip straight to employing a web designer when it comes to eCommerce, sure that they don’t have the skills necessary to build an online store. They couldn’t be more wrong! Here are the main things you need to look out for when choosing a template for selling online.
1) Does the template allow you to incorporate payment methods such as PayPal or Skrill integration? Can you include a checkout feature and a shopping cart? This is your number one concern, as if your customers can’t buy-you can’t sell!
2) Can you install extras to help with features such as shipping and stock management? Look out for Softaculous, a plugin auto installer used by many website builders. They are the world’s biggest script installer and offer many of these type of 1-click installs. Many website builders such as Web.com or Wix offer their own eCommerce package with everything you need to get started.
3) What are the templates options for social media integration? Wix allows you to import your entire store to your Facebook page, while other website builder templates may allow comments on products directly from social media (great for SEO) or stop at simply incorporating sharing buttons.
This T-shirt store template on Wix, is a great option. As well as allowing all of the above, it offers large image galleries, scrolling product images and the ability to customize the whole site with your own branding.
Looking to provide a service rather than sell a tangible product? Try a template like the following food example from Weebly’s ‘Bold’ category, which offers large bright images and colourful designs to catch the eye and draw in sales.
A Technical Touch
Just because your business is on the technical side, doesn’t automatically mean you have the time or expertise to make a complicated website from scratch.
The Developer one pager from Wix shows how a technical template can be created in a matter of minutes. One page design can be perfect for technical websites, because they allow you to focus on explaining your content in the simplest way possible, allowing for a light feeling to the browsing experience. One page websites can be more practical for those looking for technical information or support, and are perfect for browsing on mobile devices. Often a technical website does not need vast image galleries or media content, making a one pager a great simple choice.
Technical websites may need an added layer of customer support, so whether your template is free of charge or widens the purse strings, find out what you’re being offered in case of any problems. The last thing you want is to be troubleshooting at 2am with no one call while you lose business.
The same goes for how you treat your own customers. Extras you may want to think about including are premium service options such as live chat or ‘click to call’ from a mobile device so that your visitors can reach you as easily as they please.
If your business is that bit more complex to get your head around, you might want something more robust. Weebly offer the following Office template which allows you to give a real taste of your branding and business identity to any visitor. Blogs are incorporated seamlessly, and loads of content is accessible from the home screen.
Need something up and running in minutes? Web.com offer professional templates with a real corporate feel for explaining your business ethos quickly and easily, with simple text boxes to include contact details and more in a few simple steps.
Have more time to play around? Try a multi-layered template like the following marketing template from Wix. The bright bold header shows exactly what the company are all about, and the scrolling images on the home screen keep a visitors interest piqued for more. Especially when you don’t have a tangible product to tempt a visitor with, image is everything.
Another area where it’s all about the aesthetics are portfolio websites for photographers and beyond. It goes without saying that to find exactly what you’re looking for here, you will need to focus on what the website builder offers for multimedia. You will want a beautiful and striking image gallery, and the ability to display your work however you choose in a variety of sizes and styles.
This Wix Photo Studio template is simply gorgeous, offering highlights of your albums on each tab, and easily allowing you to view photos with a powerful image zoom. Captions for each photo make displaying your work how you choose a breeze.
Want to make a statement with one defining image? This Weebly offers the ability to choose one photograph as your home page background and offset it with a bold piece of text.
However beautiful your website looks, you need to be found to be enjoyed. That’s where SEO comes in. Make sure whatever template you choose is SEO ready, and employs best practices to ensure you’re found by Google and other search engines alike.
Deliberating on Design
Looking to build a design website? You’ll need all the portfolio necessities mentioned above and much more.
One option you may want is an added level of customization. Some website builders will allow you to access the HTML or the CSS to tweak elements of your design. Perfect if you’re looking to show the world what you can do and come across as unique.
Don’t be afraid to be a little unusual. The following Wix Illustrator portfolio displays just images on the home screen and no text content whatsoever. At the bottom of the page are social media links to find out more.
In contrast to this minimalistic design theme, this Weebly Guild theme has it all! A blog, an online store, a robust contact us and about us page, and multimedia galleries to browse through and display content proudly, it’s a fantastic choice for designers looking to make a splash.
For all of the above, remember that in today’s world over half of internet browsing is done on the go. Don’t accept anything less than full mobile responsiveness across all devices.