Creating a website by yourself can be time-consuming - especially for someone who has never done it before. In turn, ordering a dedicated website created, for example, by an agency, can sometimes be expensive. That is why many people decide on an intermediate option: setting up a website based on a ready template. What exactly is a page template? What are the pros and cons of free website templates? This article explains all your page template concerns to help you make the best decision!
Everything you need to know about website templates
You may come across many names that refer to a website template. The most popular of them include a theme and graphic template. What are ready-to-use templates, where to find them, and how do they differ from a unique website design? You will find all the necessary information below.
What are website templates?
A website template is a professionally designed website schema that is already programmed by the developer and ready to use. The page template is reflected in the appearance of the site. It consists of various elements that meet the conditions of a good website and additional tools. While every professional website template looks and works very well, almost every aspect is customizable. This applies not only to the visual layer but even to the established structure of the website, e.g., the number of columns, subpages, etc.
Ready-to-use template vs. website from scratch
When creating a website on our own or commissioning it to an external company, we often face a difficult choice: we can make a website design from zero, inspired by a different page at most, or rely entirely on the template. Both solutions are radically different from each other. Here are the fundamental differences:
Creating a website from scratch
Creating website from scratch in BOWWE
Dedicated website design is characterized by the fact that it is adapted to the strictly defined requirements of a given client. Web developers or agencies are responsible for creating dedicated website designs. However, before you decide to outsource the design of your website to an external company, it is worth considering the pros and cons of this solution.
Pros of creating a website from scratch
1. Unique design
Creating from scratch will allow you to implement the entire visual identity of your company. Especially if it is complicated and you want maximum compatibility, you should decide to create a website from scratch. This way, it will be tailored to your brand and your customers.
2. Endurance and speed of action
If you want to create a new website for your company, and the previous one was visited by several thousand people a day - decide on a dedicated project. Then the website will work much faster and will remain operational even with very increased traffic. If your potential customers were to abandon your website because it is too slow, think about protecting yourself against it now.
3. Modern design
Templates are made to be usable for at least a few years. With today's volatility of trends, a website created from scratch will always be more modern than the page from the template. The latter can be updated and adapted to current trends, but the website's unique design should guarantee you this from the very beginning.
4. Personalized solution increasing sales
Experienced specialists will design the website in accordance with UX (User Experience) trends. In other words, they will take care of a good experience for your website users. Navigating the site will be intuitive, simple, and fun for the recipients. A user-friendly website optimized for sale will allow you to attract more customers.
5. Greater focus on business growth
A professional web developer will try to understand the nature of your business before starting the design process. An individual website design made following your needs will help you achieve your business goals and stand out from the competition.
6. Higher technological quality
Team design professionals will ensure that your website is created to the highest standards. The advanced site will load fast enough, and its code will not contain any errors. A high-quality website will not have any problems with positioning.
7. Control over the implementation of the project
By entrusting the execution of the website project to a specialist, you can discuss your expectations in detail with him. Thanks to this, you are guaranteed that both the appearance and functioning of the website will reflect your brand's mission. As the website owner, you don't depend on anyone, e.g., the server provider. So you can decide on every detail regarding the functioning of your website.
8. Testing the project
Before your website is launched, it will be submitted to a lot of tests. This will allow you to verify that it is working properly before you start using it.
9. Unlimited expansion possibilities
The possibility of integrating the website with any systems and installing plug-ins and extensions will allow you to develop your website in any direction.
10. Support during implementation
Ordering a website from scratch is a comprehensive service that also includes post-implementation support. After launching the website, you can count on the developer's technical support who made the website for you.
Cons of creating a website from scratch
1. High price
Creating a dedicated project requires a lot of work because the website is coded from scratch here. Thus, the cost of a dedicated website design is much higher than when using a template.
2. Longer implementation time
Outsourcing your website design to an external contractor is a multi-stage collaboration that requires you to devote your time. Designing a website involves consultation with the web developer if the results must be in line with your expectations. So if you decide to commission a website, you have to consider that the project implementation time may take up to several months.
3. Usually no demo version
The inability to estimate the project results at the beginning of cooperation is a considerable risk. The greatest uncertainty is when an agency or freelancer does not offer a demo version of the site in the first design stage. The inability to verify the compliance of the project with your expectations may signal that the effects of the work will not be satisfactory for you.
A website created from template
Creating a website from template by BOWWE
With a template, creating a page is much faster and easier. First, you choose the site variant that suits your needs. Then you can modify the template's appearance (graphic design) and apply any changes to its layout (e.g., the number of columns, sections, or subpages). You select the sections you want to stay in and the items you want to get rid of, then replace the photos and content. Only the website concept remains unchanged.
Pros of creating a website from template
1. A small investment in beginning
Website on a template is an ideal solution for new entrepreneurs. If you are at the beginning of developing your own business and you do not want to overuse your budget from the start, a ready-made website template will be an excellent option for you. This solution is much cheaper than commissioning a website from scratch.
2. Save time
Building a complete website on a ready-made template takes little time. If you already have a vision of your website's appearance, you can prepare it even in a few days. The ready template will be the perfect solution if you want to implement the website as quickly as possible.
3. You don't need to hire a developer
Thanks to ready-made templates, you don't need to hire a developer to enjoy a smooth website! The website templates already have the code ready, and you don't have to interfere with it. So you get the opportunity to publish your website yourself. What's more, you'll be able to get started with your complete website in just a few moments.
4. Easy editing
Based on a ready template, you can simply create your website. You can modify and replace any elements without the need to design them from scratch in complicated graphic programs. Even without being a trained graphic designer, you can easily create an excellent website compliant with current standards.
5. Thought-out design
Do you think that you need graphic skills or an innate sense of aesthetics to create a beautiful website? Nothing could be more wrong! Ready-made templates are created by professionals who follow the latest design trends. So you don't have to worry that your website will be unreadable or unattractive to users.
6. Large selection of designs
A massive selection of themes is a definite plus for template-based websites. By browsing through the many pattern proposals, you can choose the template that best suits your industry.
7. Basic SEO Optimization
Basic SEO optimization is provided with most template-based pages. Professional template creators take care of correct HTML code, thanks to which your website will be visible in search engines. On a website based on a template, you can also easily perform basic positioning activities yourself, e.g., entering your meta titles and meta descriptions.
Cons of creating a website from template
1. May not meet specific needs
The assumption of website templates is their versatility and adjustment to the general needs of a given industry. If you run a niche business, a website based on a ready-made template may not meet your expectations.
2. "Template" design
If you use a popular template without making any changes, you will not stand out from the competition. Perhaps you will even meet an existing website with exactly the same layout as yours. A website that contains universal stock graphics will not gain trust among the recipients. The lack of unique site features will have a negative impact on the perception of your entire brand.
3. The template doesn't equal template
Before you decide on a site based on a template, you need to do some good research. Not every creator of ready-made templates will be a professional in their field. A page on a template is only a good solution if it comes from a reliable source.
4. Certain limitations in creating a website (not everything can be changed)
It cannot be denied that each page based on a template will have some limitations compared to a dedicated website design. When choosing this option, you should be aware that not every page element can be changed or redesigned.
5. No optimization for a specific purpose
With website templates, you can create a fully functioning website. However, such a site should not be expected to fulfill a specific purpose. A website based on a template may contain elements or functionalities that you consider unnecessary for the functioning of your business.
How to find a website templates?
There are many places on the Internet where you can download or buy a website template. Before deciding where to get the template from, read the following sections in which we have analyzed the pros and cons of each solution.
1) Banks with templates, the so-called "marketplace" - thousands of ready-made templates can be found in template databases, for example, in ThemeForest, and TemplateMonster, which allow you to purchase paid projects or download free templates.
However, it should be remembered that searching for the correct project in such an extensive database may be time-consuming. What's more, when using the template from the database, you have to take care of your own hosting and domain as well as the CMS of the website!
2) CMSs, including website builders - popular content management systems (such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal) offer website templates. Paid or free graphic themes already contain ready-made modules and plugins, and their functionality is tailored to work with a specific CMS. Despite the large variety and the possibility of editing, ready-made CMS templates often require the installation of a large number of plugins and the technical knowledge needed to manage the site.
A more convenient solution may be to use templates offered by website builders. Unlike an online template bank, you don't have to worry about hosting or CMS in this case. Website builders are also much more technologically advanced than WordPress. Such professional website templates can be found, among others, in BOWWE.
Why is it worth choosing to create a page on a template?
Unique website design or page template? The choice is not easy, and not one solution will work for everyone. When is it worth choosing a page based on a template? Here are some reasons why a template may be the best choice for you:
1. Low investment to start
A website on a template is the perfect solution for new entrepreneurs. If you are at the beginning of developing your own business and you do not want to overuse your budget from the start, a ready-made website template will be an excellent option for you. This solution is much cheaper than commissioning a website from scratch. The page on the template has several functionalities and contains all the necessary elements that a professional website should have.
2. Saving time
Another critical issue is the time of launching the website. The most important thing for us is to implement the website as quickly as possible then, the best choice will definitely be a ready template. It takes little time to build a complete website on a ready-made template. If you already have a vision of the look of your website, you can prepare it even in a few days. The order to create a website from scratch looks completely different. This is a much longer process that can take up to several months.
3. You don't need to hire a programmer
Ordering a website is a significant undertaking that requires constant contact with the contractor. Designing your website from scratch requires a detailed action plan. Creating a concept, discussing ideas with the website designer, and introducing corrections are the necessary elements of working on your website if you want to achieve satisfactory results. Consultation with the developer may be necessary even after the website is launched while making any changes. You do not need to hire a programmer to enjoy an efficient website, thanks to ready-made templates! The website templates already have the code ready, and you don't have to interfere with it.
4. Guarantee of well-thought-out design
Do you think graphic skills or an innate sense of aesthetics are necessary to create a beautiful website? Nothing could be more wrong! Ready-made templates are created by professionals who follow the latest design trends. So you don't have to worry that your website will be unreadable or unattractive to users. Based on a ready template, you can simply create your website. You can modify and replace any elements without the need to design them from scratch in complicated graphic programs. Even without being a trained graphic designer, you can easily create an excellent website compliant with current standards.
Website templates - facts and myths
Most websites consist of the same elements: home page, about me tab, contact, etc. So, since the website patterns are repeatable in their structure, what prevents the use of ready-made templates to create a website? There is a belief that pages built on ready-made templates are of inferior quality, so investing in a unique website design is better. Is this always true? We debunk all myths about the use of website templates.
1. All are of poor quality - MYTH
Not all template-based pages are of poor quality. It all depends on the source from which you want to obtain it. When purchasing graphic themes from online databases, there is a risk that the template's creator has not fully adapted it to use. Even if the template looks nice, it may not be designed according to current design trends. Such a template will not be user-friendly. As a result, it will therefore not generate sales and will become unusable.
2. Investing in a unique website design is more profitable - MYTH
Despite the widespread belief that websites built by programmers from scratch are of better quality, not always a website design made by an agency or a freelancer will meet your expectations. There is nothing worse than having your website designed by an inexperienced webmaster. This is associated with costly corrections and long waiting times for the completion of the project. Many companies cannot afford a unique website design made from scratch. A ready template is then a perfect choice, thanks to which you can have your own website much faster and cheaper.
3. Website based template doesn’t have SEO optimization - MYTH
Many modern templates follow basic SEO principles and best practices. Templates that professionals create usually have valid HTML. Contrary to the myths circulating on this subject, a ready template does not mean problems optimizing your website for SEO. Specialists at BOWWE from creating templates take care of the so-called "clean code" that contains no bugs. Thanks to this, you can easily position your website in search engines.
4. You don't need to know much about coding to create a page on a template - FACT
Ready-made templates are a functional low-end solution that does not require coding knowledge. Using a ready-made website skeleton, you can freely manage your website without the slightest effort or the help of a programmer. Creating pages is very intuitive, thanks to the templates. The average person without page design skills can handle the editing of such pages. Each sample theme is supplemented with content that can be freely modified later. You need to fill in the ready template with your own content and replace the graphic design in dedicated places. Modern website templates have an easy-to-use navigation interface, making managing your own website much easier and more enjoyable.
How to create a website on a BOWWE template step-by-step?
In BOWWE Website Builder, you can use a broad base of ready-made templates and choose a graphic design that will suit your industry. Here is a short guide that will show you how to create a website in BOWWE in minutes using free templates.
1. Create an account
2. Choose the type and method of creating a website
Various options for creating a website in BOWWE
In BOWWE, you can create not only a website but also a micro-website, landing page, or online portfolio. So choose the type of website you need and go to create your project. In our Website Builder, you can create your website design from scratch or modify one of the ready-made templates yourself. This guide focuses on creating a website based on a ready-made template.
3. Find your perfect template
Browse BOWWE's library of over 200 templates, broken down into different categories. You will find completely different graphic designs when choosing a website, micro-website or online portfolio. Additionally, all templates are categorized by industry (business, fashion, education, etc.) and style (professional, technical, etc.).
In our Website Builder, you can choose a template developed by our experts, especially for your industry.
4. Browse the mobile version of the template
If you have already found a template suited to your industry, click on the preview and check how the website looks on the mobile version, tablet, or desktop. This is a critical point that should not be ignored in the case of pages created based on templates. Tools that enable such a preview guarantee that your website will be responsive, i.e., adapted to be displayed on all device screens. Thanks to this, you do not have to invest time and money in creating several versions of your website.
5. Go to template editing
All BOWWE templates are fully editable, so you can freely transform and adapt them to your needs. After selecting the template you are interested in, you will be transferred to the BOWWE editor, where you can freely modify all template elements. You will see a toolbar on the left side that allows you to freely change the so-called widgets, i.e., text and graphic elements of the website interface. The intelligent BOWWE tool will allow you to quickly and pleasantly edit the website. In addition, at every step, you will find a helpful tutorial that will improve navigation through the tool.
The intuitive drag-and-drop technique will allow you to control the appearance of your website fully. You can easily replace the example graphics, text, or logo from the template with your own. What's more, you can also change fonts, shapes of individual elements, or graphic design colors. The ready template will be a great starting point for creating your own unique website design!
6. Launch your professional website
The final step is to connect your own domain and choose the subscription plan. Whether you decide to create a website, portfolio or micro-site, BOWWE offers many possibilities, from completely free to an advanced subscription plan.
Website from template vs. website by web developer - which option is right for you?
Unique website design or page template? The choice is not easy! One solution will not work for everyone. Before making the final decision, it is worth rethinking your expectations for the website and analyzing the pros and cons of these two options.
In what situation is it worth choosing a dedicated website design?
a) you care about a unique project
b) budget and execution time don't play an important role for you.
But when is it better to choose a page on a ready-made template?
a) you prefer to save money
b) you want to launch the website quickly
Ultimately, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of both options and make an informed decision that will help you achieve your goals and drive success for your business.
Karol is a serial entrepreneur, e-commerce speaker m.in for the World Bank, and founder of 3 startups, as part of which he has advised several hundred companies. He was also responsible for projects of the largest financial institutions in Europe, with the smallest project being worth over €50 million.
He has two master's degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Marketing Management, obtained during his studies in Poland and Portugal. He gained experience in Silicon Valley and while running companies in many countries, including Poland, Portugal, the United States, and Great Britain. For over ten years, he has been helping startups, financial institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their functioning through digitization.