How to Use a Template to Design Your Website

Sam Deering
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Initially, designing a website is one of the most difficult parts of launching your online business. You can hire someone to do it for you, but that can get expensive quickly, and if you’re running a startup, you might not have the money for it. Another option is designing it yourself, but then you have to invest the time, and possibly money, in learning how to design a site or buy software that makes it easier but is costly. The software prices for designing sites tops out at a thousand dollars or even more. New sites usually don’t have that much to invest in design. For much less, you can use a web template. As a bonus, these are usually pretty easy to implement.

Finding a Template
To find a template, you can, of course, simply use Google to search for “web templates” or “site templates”. That will absolutely flood you with results, though; a quick search for “web templates” brings up over ninety-seven million results. A much better option is to search as specifically as possible. For example, try searching for “library web templates”. This gives you a much more manageable number of results on Google. From there, you can look at examples of templates to see which kind you like. Then you can use that option to narrow your search further; add in, for instance “left text column” or “short header image”. You shouldn’t look based on a color scheme; with a good template, you’ll be able to customize those.

Another option is to go to other sites in the same vein as yours. If you’re trying to start a site for tabletop and card-based game reviews, you might go to sites like Kotaku.com, TabletopGeeks.com, and TabletopGamingNews.com. You can then use these and other popular sites to get an idea of the kind of designs that people seem to like, then search for gaming website templates and look specifically for ones that resemble those. This will help visitors continue to come back to your site; no matter the quality of your information, visitors won’t stay if they can’t read what you have to say or your header that travels down the page takes up half the screen.

Implementing Your Template
When you’ve chosen your template, your work isn’t over. You need to customize it so it fits your brand and what you’re going to write about or sell. You’ll have to choose a color scheme and design a header image; you might want to hire a graphic artist for that second part. You’ll have to pay for it, but it’s better than having to go through licensing an image and paying the fees involved. If you’ve sorted through, using the earlier example, gaming based web templates and gaming sites, you should have an idea of what is popular in that vein and what color schemes work. Don’t simply copy another site; that’s a good way to get confused with them. Keep your overall site design unique.

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