They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but people sure do judge a brand by its website!
Your online presence is what attracts potential customers in the first place. So, no wonder the demand for website designers is at an all-time high. But a team of skilled designers can get expensive, especially for small business owners.
If you are starting a business, a website template is a great way to begin your online store and presence. But remember, website themes do have limitations and are used by many other businesses around the world.
So, if you are looking for a way to begin before you spend the money on a custom-designed website, a template is a great place to start! If you have a bigger business and budget, we suggest speaking to a cweb designer about custom-built website options.
Custom Built Themes vs. Marketplace Templates
A personalised website is ideal if you want to create a unique style and require settings that speak for your brand image. It is a scalable option and can be designed to work with any device. By adding an SEO team, you can even achieve a search-friendly and fully responsive website.
However, you will have to invest a lot of time, money, and effort in creating customised templates.
It is important to not get these confused with custom-designed websites. Although custom-built themes can be designed can be altered to suit your business, they do not hold the same value as a custom-designed website. With a custom design, you can tailor everything to the brand and the business and significantly improve your SEO and conversion rates. However, whether a theme is a custom or not, they still do have limitations in this regard.
If you own a start-up or a small business with limited funds, you can opt for pre-built website templates that are cheaper and sometimes free of cost!
Most of the templates available on the market offer a modern look. But that does not mean that all of the websites built using a single template will look the same. Since multiple customisable options are available, you can always play around with the design and create something new.
Further, website templates have a shorter development cycle, allowing you to fast-track through the website launch. And thanks to the built-in optimisation options in most newer templates, you don’t have to go through the hassle of testing.
Last but not least, you don’t require any web designing or coding knowledge to use such templates.
In hindsight, website templates are not ideal for scalable businesses. Since a pre-made template or theme runs on a structured system with limited elements, adopting updated technologies, plugins, and settings is a challenge. Also, you get limited customisation options that may or may not be search-engine friendly.
Where To Get Website Templates From?
1. Find A Freelancer
Choosing a freelancer is more affordable than getting a team of designers and coders to create a website theme. However, keep in mind that their prices may vary drastically according to their experience and qualifications.
2. Hire A Professional Team
If you’ve got the budget and seek top-notch service, hiring a team of professional web designers, coders, and SEO experts is your best bet. Along with various designs, such companies may provide 24x7 support and troubleshooting.
3. Visit A Marketplace
Websites that sell themes, template designs, and more are known as marketplaces. You can browse through a vast collection and even look for free templates.
4. Use A Default Template
While choosing a website building software, you will come across the default template or a set of readymade templates. So, if you’ve got a tight budget, consider using such free themes and upgrade to advanced features later.
Best Marketplaces To Buy Website Themes From
If you want to explore a high-traffic platform to buy and sell various themes and designs, look no further. ThemeForest boasts an expansive collection of themes divided into different categories like WordPress themes, eCommerce templates, CMS templates, and more. No wonder it is known as the largest theme marketplace in the world!
You can even browse through themes according to your budget or project. We specifically liked the “Featured” section that displays the best themes hand-picked by the staff every week.
You can also get high-quality theme support, clear documentation, and reviews from well-known creators and experts.
- Different types of themes
- Includes free themes
- Compatible with popular platforms
- Theme support available
- Inconsistent coding
TemplateMonster is yet another large marketplace that deals with 31 digital product categories. You can either buy WooCommerce themes, web designs, etc., separately or opt for the Monster One membership to get premium products and 1-year tech support.
We appreciate how you can check the live demo of each theme before buying it. This way, you get a better idea about the different elements and tools of the theme and whether it’ll be suitable for your website.
- Secure and reliable marketplace
- Different types of templates
- All-in-one membership available
- Live demo for each theme
- Inadequate filtering feature
Here’s one of the oldest WordPress dedicated template marketplaces. With tons of quality-coded themes to choose from, Elegant Themes Divi is your one-stop solution for high-performance, fast, and versatile templates.
Since it is one of the most popular WordPress themes, you’ll find multiple designs compatible with WordPress plugins. Plus, you get simple, built-in tools to add a personal touch to your brand website.
Its community support, innumerable customisation options, and user-friendly features make it one of the most popular premium WordPress themes.
- Easy drag-and-drop page builder
- No limitations on websites to use
- Tons of customisation available for experienced designers
- Slow loading speed
- No popup builder
If you are building a website on WordPress, then the WordPress Theme Directory is your best bet. It has the widest collection of WordPress themes, launched on the marketplace after rigorous selection and review procedures.
By choosing any of these WordPress themes, you can rest assured of the quality of your website. However, keep in mind that these themes may lack certain features that are available in premium options offered by the above-mentioned marketplaces.
- Fast and cheap WordPress themes
- Various themes to choose from
- Up-to-date themes
- Suitable for beginners
- Slow load times
How To Choose A Website Theme?
The multitude of options in a template marketplace may overwhelm beginners who don’t quite know what to look for in a template. Hence, here are a few pointers you must consider before settling on a theme...
1. Type Of Website
Most beginners often falter at this initial stage, resulting in their time, money, and effort going in vain. Hence, ask yourself what type of theme will be most suitable for your business.
For example, if you want to tap into digital marketing opportunities, it is best to stick to a minimal design that’s easy to navigate. Alternatively, if you want to offer your artistic skills (custom paintings, handmade clothes and jewellery, etc.), a colourful theme would be perfect.
The marketplace should have various themes on display- free, paid, customisable, premium, etc. For beginners and veterans alike, cost plays a key role in selecting a website theme. However, note that a high price tag does not just include the cost of a stunning design, but also the time and effort that went behind it.
So, even if the upfront cost is high, think of it as an investment. By getting a fully responsive and attractive design, you will save the time you can spend on other aspects of the business.
With so many themes used by various websites, you wouldn’t want to plagiarise anyone’s design unintentionally. So, it is best to look for themes that allow customisation features.
While more design flexibility may make a website more complicated, in the future, it’ll allow you to take advantage of technological advancements and make amendments whenever required.
A site that takes more than 3 seconds to load loses its potential customers then and there. Thus, it is important to ensure that your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. The latter is especially necessary since most users surf the web via mobile phones and other handheld devices.
5. Supplier Reputation
Out of the sea of options available in a template marketplace, plenty will be poorly coded and might create glitches in the future. Hence, you must check the ratings and customer reviews of the supplier.
A supplier that offers after-sale tech support is always better than one that doesn’t since the former will be ready to troubleshoot issues that may crop up later.
Of course, a stunning design is what catches the eye, and relevant content makes the viewers stay, but Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is indispensable if you want people to find your brand in the first place. Thus, opt for themes that are not just beautiful to look at but also easy to navigate and SEO-friendly.
Buying Your Website Theme
So, if you don’t want to shell out in the initial stage of your business, we suggest opting for pre-built website templates. However, we would always recommend opting for a custom-built website if it is within your budget. Although more costly in the beginning, the benefits of a custom-built website include tailoring the content and website design to your business, brand recognition, plus the significantly higher conversion rates and SEO results, pay off the cost in the long run.
Considering the gruelling competition among online businesses, we also recommend being cautious of cheap templates that may cause SEO issues later. It is important to do your research before purchasing a template. The key is to know your preferences and requirements and strike a balance with the budget accordingly.
Danny is head of web design at sitecentre™ and uses user-behaviour metrics to improve UX/UI and accelerate conversions. Using his unique combination of skills, Danny is able to deliver award-winning websites to SMB’s quicker whilst delivering better results.