Web Development 101: What Are Website Templates?
Not everyone needs a team of web developers, programmers and graphic artists to build a website. For many people, a simple web presence is all that is needed.
Using website templates can be a fast, easy way to build a website for a small business or for personal use — and there’s a wide range of options available. Whether you’re looking for an online business card, a portfolio to showcase your photography or design, or a blog to share your thoughts, a template can save you time and money.
What are website templates?
A website template is basically a premade webpage — or set of webpages — that can be customized with images, videos and other style elements to create a complete website.
Often created by web developers, the template includes everything needed (i.e. HTML, CSS, and any other code required) for it to function. It simplifies the whole web development process, making it easy for people who have little or no programming experience to build their own websites.
Website templates are also used by bigger enterprises to present a large amount of content on standardized web pages. Whether for mass production or personal use, they can help shorten the time needed to go from idea to launch.
How to build a website using templates
The website design process is greatly simplified when you pair a template with a popular web template system like WordPress or Joomla. Instead of having to understand the technical aspects of web design, most of the setup is practically automated: with the click of a button you can install website templates, called “themes,” then customize them to your liking without having to write a single line of code.
There are also many plugins and apps available on the Internet that allow you to add additional functionality to your website, like improving search engine optimization (SEO), boosting your social media marketing, or strengthening the overall security of your blog.
Before you start randomly downloading great-looking web templates, it is important to note that you need more than a template to build a website: you need a place to put it.
Here’s how to get started:
- Register your domain name.
- Find a webhosting service. While you can also choose a different provider, you can often purchase webhosting through the same company as your domain name.
- Install a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla on your webhost’s server. Many webhosts offer several CMSs to choose from, with easy DIY setup.
- Find, download and install a website template. There are many templates available for free, or you can purchase one for a fee; choose the template that fits your particular needs and budget.
- Replace generic content and logos with your own images and words.
- Install additional features like shopping carts, galleries, search engine optimization plugins and other apps. That’s it!
Using a web template can greatly simplify the process of creating a website. While you won’t have the full customizability that comes with developing a site from scratch, it’s an efficient way to get your site up-and-running quickly.
Yoshitaka Shiotsu is a project engineer turned technical copywriter and digital marketing consultant who regularly contributes to the Upwork Blog. He specializes in helping tech companies, startups, and entrepreneurs set themselves up as voices of authority within their target industries.View Yoshitaka Shiotsu’s other articles