A website template (or web template) is a pre-designed webpage, or set of HTML webpages that anyone can use to "plug-in" their own text content and images into to create a website. Usually built with HTML and CSS code (CSS is used for layout and font styles), website templates allow anyone to setup a website without having to hire a professional web developer or designer, although, many developers do use website templates to create sites for their clients. This allows anyone to build a reasonably priced personal or business website that can then be listed in search engines so users can search for your specific product or service.
What Can a Web Template Include?
Text and .jpg, .png or .gif images, jQuery and CSS3 animation, shopping carts, contact forms, dynamic image galleries and slideshows, a PDF download links page, and video players (including embedded Youtube movies) are just a few of the features that can be built into a design.
Web template designs and code vary widely from vendor to vendor, so when selecting a website template, you will want to make sure it already includes the functions, scripts and applications you require for your web development project. Text, stock photos, scripts and 3rd party plugins can be added to the ready-made pages. The included stock images can be replaced with the users own .jpg images or edited as the project requires.
If you decide that a pre-made template fits your needs best, make sure that you get one that is mobile-responsive. Sure, it will cost you a bit more. But with 70% of traffic coming from mobile, having a mobile-responsive website is of the utmost importance.
While custom sites allow for countless design and development possibilities, they’re not necessary in all cases. For start-ups that need only a simple online brochure, or small businesses that just want a modest online presence, a pre-built or template-based site is a great choice. They’re also ideal for clients with tight launch deadlines, limited content, and/or a smaller project scope and budget.
So why are template websites typically more economical and quicker to launch? Unlike their custom counterparts, templates are based on a pre-existing layout and include only basic functions such as contact forms and social media links. That said, some level of customization is possible, including colors, fonts and graphics provided that they fit within the parameters of the given structure.
THE ADVANTAGES OF USING TEMPLATES:
Template sites are significantly less expensive than custom sites. Using a template means that most of the website coding is in place without your developer lifting a finger. That’s why template sites are much more affordable than custom sites, although your developer will still have to spend time customizing the template and implementing the content.
Template sites are quite fast to implement. Again, this is because much of the coding is done. A template site can generally be launched in a matter of weeks, if the content is pretty much ready to go (this is, however, often not the case — and is often a significant barrier to getting a site launched) and your developer’s schedule is clear. Depending on the complexity of what you want, a custom site will take significantly longer.
Templates are getting more sophisticated. The best templates are well-designed, robust, and allow for a reasonable amount of customization.