So you are building a website for your brand new online business venture- you have found a great domain name, picked a pretty neat hosting plan, and now it is time to actually design the website and publish it. If you do not have any prior web design experience, don’t be alarmed; that is exactly what website templates are for! For those looking to avoid technicalities and set up a professional-looking, beautiful, and functional website with just a few clicks, templates are more or less the best options. But what are they really? And how do they work? Let’s find out!

Here’s all you need to know about web templates…

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What is a Website Template?

A website template is a predesigned webpage layout with specific display features and functionalities that can be applied to a website to make it ready to publish. Also called web templates or site templates, website templates are mainly designed for those who have no web coding or design experience, so they can easily build their own website and publish their content.

Website templates are usually built using languages such as HTML and CSS, and they consist of these main elements:

  • Layout (Placement of navigation, content areas, sidebars, social media elements, forms, etc.)
  • Font types
  • Colors
  • Background
  • Basic functionality

A contact form, FAQ page, photo gallery, portfolio, shopping cart for e-commerce, you name it… Whatever design & basic functionality you need on a page, you can find it predesigned and ready-to-use on a web template. Once a web template is applied to a website, that site is basically ready to be filled with content and get published. Although they are predesigned structures, website templates usually give users the ability to make customizations -up to a point- so they can freely personalize their website according to their taste & needs. Responsive web templates are a great way for new businesses to quickly get a mobile-ready website without hiring a professional, but for a fully-customized, unique design, they are not usually not ideal. (More info on this on pros and cons!)

There are website templates available for different content management systems, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. So whatever CMS you are using, it should be easy enough for you to find both free and premium site templates that will do the job.

Website Template vs. Website Theme – What’s The Difference?

Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a distinction can be made. To dive into semantics, a template usually defines a single page, while a website theme applies to the entire site and all its pages. This, say the experts, is the difference.

But as we said, these two terms are still used interchangeably today, and while there is no problem with using the word template in place of theme, using the word theme for template might be an issue. See, there are countless website templates out there that are designed for websites with more than one page. But if you want a layout for a single specific page -such as a 404 page template, a portfolio template, a contact form template, etc.- you want a template, not a theme.

Long story short, it is perfectly OK to use “template” in place of “theme”, but not so much to use “theme” if you just want a template for a single page. And for the rest of this article, remember that what we say can apply to both single-page and multi-page websites.

Pros & Cons of Website Templates

Everything has its pros and cons, and website templates are no exception to this rule. They are great for some, and not-so-great for others. To find out which group you belong to, make sure to check out their main pros and cons below!

Pros of Using Website Templates

😊Fast & Easy-to-Use- Using a website template, you can set up your site with just a few clicks. On the other hand, designing it -or having it designed- will probably take a lot of time. Also, as they are specifically designed for people with little-to-no knowledge of coding/design, they are mostly very easy to use and customize.

😊Affordable (even free!)- There are countless free website templates out there that you can just download and start using them without paying a penny. Of course, they offer less, but even if you opt for a premium web template, it should be way more affordable than hiring a professional to design your website for you.

😊What you see is what you get- Most web templates provide fully functional demo versions so you can actually see how they look and perform on an actual website. This will help you make up your mind.

😊 Lots of variety- When it comes to selecting a website template, there is so much variety out there today, that although there are a lot of designs that look like each other, you can surely find lots of original designs that will suit your needs just fine. So, whatever content management system you are using,  rest assured there are tons of different template alternatives out there. Also, keep in mind that if you don’t like a template, it is not so difficult to change it!

Cons of Using Website Templates

Might require more work than expected- Yes, they are very easy to set up, use, and customize, but still, getting your site to look and perform exactly as you want it to can sometimes be a problem, even with website templates.

Customization limitations- Templates are customizable, as we have said before, but in the end there is only so much you can do when you are getting a pre-designed structure. Website templates usually cannot be tweaked after a certain point, which might be a problem with some users.

There might be hidden costs- For certain updates, customizations, you might still end up needing professional support, which means you will have to pay extra money even after you buy a pro-template.

Editing the Code of a Web Template?

Yes, this is an option. As we have said at the beginning, website templates are mostly designed with those who don’t know about coding in mind, but still, if you know how to code, you can certainly make modifications to your template’s source. To edit your template code, usually you will need to have at least basic knowledge of web languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, etc.

Tips for Choosing a Web Template

When it comes to choosing a website template, you have virtually unlimited options- and their numbers are still rising! So how do you pick the right one? It depends on a lot of factors. Here are some of them:

What Type of Website You Are Building?

The niche/purpose of your website and the type of website content you are going to post should play a very important role when deciding on a website template. If you own a law firm, for example, you probably don’t want a website template designed for fun listicles.

What Features Do You Need?

When it comes to functionality, you have unlimited options. Just make sure that the website template you are picking includes everything you need, so you don’t have to rely on external modifications to customize it.

Is It Responsive?

The answer to this question should always be “Yes!”- unless you want a nostalgia website that offers the 90s experience to its visitors! Responsive means a layout that is designed to provide the optimal viewing and navigation experience, independent of the device. As we are living in the mobile age, this is especially important, both for user experience, and SEO.

Is It SEO-Friendly?

Speaking of SEO, which we have discussed in detail in this SEO post, try to get an SEO-friendly template, as if you want to make it in the digital world, you will need to optimize your website for search engines-mainly Google. An SEO-friendly template will make your job a lot easier.

Is It Flexible Enough For You?

After getting a website template and installing it, at some point you will definitely want to customize it for one reason or another -functionality, design, user experience, etc. When it comes to that, you will want your theme to be as flexible as possible so you can customize it according to your business needs, without having to pay for external support. If you are a developer, or just know how to code, it shouldn’t be a really big issue for you, but if you don’t have the necessary technical skills, make thorough research and try to get a website theme that is highly – and easily- customizable.

What is Your Budget?

We’d love to live in a world where we never worry about our budget, but unfortunately, it is not realistic. Most of the time you need to take your budget into consideration when investing in your website- this is especially the case if you are new in the web business. The good news is, as there are a lot of options out there, you will definitely be able to find a satisfying website template for your needs & budget. You can even go with a free template for some time; after all, you can change your template anytime you want.

Do They Provide Quality Support?

This is actually related to the provider you buy your template from, rather than the template itself. See, as simple as they are, using web templates still can be frustrating, especially when you want to make little modifications here and there, to customize it. If something goes wrong and you find yourself unable to fix it, your provider should give instant and efficient support.

Did They Get Good Reviews?

Whatever it is you are getting online, it is always a very good idea to check out the independent user reviews first. You might notice things that turn you off, just as well you might discover things that will seal the deal.


Good technology makes our lives easier, and website templates are the perfect example of that. In the old days of the Internet, designing a website was more of a tech-geek thing. It was quite difficult if you didn’t have at least a bit of technical knowledge. Now, we are living in a digital world, and while every business needs to be on the Internet, not everyone has the time to learn web coding/design. This makes web templates a much-needed savior for those who are looking to build a website on their own without hiring a professional.

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