What are Website Templates?
Website templates are pre-made designs or skins that fit onto a specific platform or CMS (content management system) – some are even stand-alone designs although that is becoming increasingly rare. While custom designs are made for a specific client to match their needs and branding, templates are designs that were made for many companies or individuals to use. Usually they come with a set layout and structure with some flexibility as to the colouring of the theme.
There are both free and premium themes available online. Usually the free themes are very simple and are made available to everyone for free for the designer to get their name known as a theme designer. Premium themes range in price from around 30 to 100 US Dollars – sometimes more. When comparing this to a completely custom design specific to your needs it is a complete bargain – a custom design will cost you between 10,000 and 200,000 Rand. The reason why designers can offer their theme at such a low cost is because they expect that many people will purchase the theme. This makes it worth their time in the long run but doesn’t offer the immediate return that a single paying client does.
In recent years, templates or themes have become more and more flexible. Premium themes often come bundled with complementary plugins such as sliders or eCommerce systems. These additional systems offer additional functionality beyond just displaying content and add a lot of value to the theme being purchased.
How can they help me?
As mentioned above, paying for a completely custom design (at an average of 50,000 Rand) might be out of your price range as a young and budding business. Buying a theme enables you to get a great looking site and share the cost with several hundred other people who also bought the template. Of course this does take away from the uniqueness of your site but a developer like Web Vivace can help you to customise the theme and make it fit your company branding – see WordPress Websites.
How and when should I use them?
The most obvious justification for a website template is that it saves you money. When you are just starting your company, you need to be very frugal about your start-up costs. Purchasing a theme can help to save these costs. Once you have purchased your theme you might want to take it to a developer who can install it onto the platform it was made for. If you have not purchased a theme yet then the developer may help you decide on a theme and then install it for you.
If you are fairly tech savvy and you know your way around a Content Management System like WordPress then you should have no trouble buying a theme, installing it and customising it for your business.
What templates are available and where do I find them?
There are literally hundreds of templates available to you on many different platforms. Obviously we prefer WordPress as our CMS but if you prefer to work on another system then there are themes available for those systems as well. Below we will outline a few different market places to purchase themes and follow up with individual pages for different theme types.