The choices are truly endless - and that’s what can make it tough to find the perfect template. Your first step needs to be to decide what exactly you want from your website so you invest your time, efforts, and money wisely. Think about which industry your website will be part of and which type of readers you will target.
For DIY web design, it’s hard to beat Wix. The world’s leading website builder, Wix is so simple that any beginner can master the site’s drag-and-drop interface. Wix also features hundreds of templates organized by business type.
A premium website builder like Web.com can present a vast range of templates to choose from, while with Weebly, you can search templates by the style you want, be it “sleek” or “fun,” or something a bit more serious.
While many businesses decide it's worth it to hire a web designer to build their Ecommerce site, there is no reason you can’t do it yourself.
Here are the main considerations when picking a template for your Ecommerce store online.
Can it host payment integrations?
It’s not enough for someone to visit your company’s website—you also want them to be able to make a purchase, without having to navigate to a separate site. If you want your company site to include an online store and handle transactions, you need to have a template that can host a shopping cart and a payment option like PayPal or Skrill integration. You also want to keep an eye out for options that will help you keep from losing sales—such as a shopping cart saver that will keep track of a customer’s selections even if they log off without purchasing. This should be your top consideration - if customers cant buy anything, you can’t sell anything.
Shipping and inventory management
Running a business requires a great deal of paperwork and making sure you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. You need to find a template that can host plug-ons, apps, and/or widgets that keep track of bookkeeping and inventory for you. One solid option is Softaculous, a plugin auto installer used by many website builders that helps with bookkeeping. Other website builders—such as Web.com and Wix, off their own Ecommerce packages that have such bookkeeping tools built in.
Social media integration
Social media is a central aspect of our daily lives to an extent that few people could have predicted just a couple decades ago. Facebook alone has more than 2 billion users, and by choosing a template that can integrate with Facebook you will be able to take advantage of the world’s biggest social media platform to promote your business, make sales, and connect better with customers.
Setting up a Facebook store directly on your site is standard with many templates, while sites like Wix require downloading a Facebook store App. Once the app is set up you can not only run your site through Facebook and take advantage of the greater exposure, but also make sales directly through Facebook.
Another thing to consider with social media integrations is the extent to which it will sync between your website and the social media platform. If you update an item in the inventory on your company website, it should also instantly update at the same time automatically on your Facebook store, as should your inventory.
Just like with news outlets, online stores must take advantage of social media if they want to optimize their exposure and sales. Whether or not your template can integrate fully with social platforms is an essential consideration for any company building a website today.
A Technical Touch
Can the template work well for a technical website too?
You may run a business that is highly complicated and difficult for a layman to understand, and this is where a simple, easy-to-understand template may help you get your message and image across easily.
A simple one-page template can force you to keep things brief and easy to understand, helping you use brevity to make a complicated subject accessible. These one-page templates are easy to design and since a highly technical website probably doesn’t need photos or videos, you can keep things simple.
If your business isn’t the most easily accessible company out there, you will want to consider a template that allows you to prominently display customer support details on the website, as well as integrate options such as a live chat where users can talk to you directly.
Help get your message across.
Not every business is as straightforward as a lemonade stand. If your business is a bit complicated or niche, you should consider a template that can help you get your message and branding across to customers. Weebly offers templates which can help you convey your mission and image seamlessly to any visitor. Templates like this can incorporate blogs and all types of other content that deals with your company and the message you want and need to get across.
If time is of the essence, Web.com features a number of professional templates that can give your business a real corporate feel in no time, without you having to get into the details to craft it yourself.
If you have more time and want to let your talents run free, you can try a multi-layered template from Wix. With bold graphics, a bright header, and scrolling images, it shows viewers exactly what your site is all about and can hold their interest as long as they’re on your site. Image is crucial for a business, and you need to consider a template that can help you get the point across.
A beautiful canvas for your work
Some businesses put a greater premium on images and aesthetics. If you’re a photographer looking to sell your prints online or find more shooting gigs, you need a template that can show your art the way it needs to be seen. With portfolio websites a photographer can build a site that is also a gallery, and include a checkout and shopping cart to sell the work directly on the site. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if your business is images, you need to consider a template that can feature imagery in a beautiful, stunning fashion.
Wix Photo Studio template is simply gorgeous, offering highlights of your albums on each tab, and easily allowing you to view photos with a powerful image zoom. Captions for each photo make displaying your work how you choose a breeze.
Want to make a statement with one defining image? Weebly offers the ability to choose one photograph as your homepage background and offset it with a bold piece of text.
However beautiful your website looks, you need to be found to be enjoyed. That’s where SEO comes in. Make sure whatever template you choose is SEO ready, and employs best practices to ensure you’re found by Google and other search engines alike.
Deliberating on Design
Design for designers
If you’re building a design website, you’ll need all the portfolio options mentioned above as well as extra customization options—including the ability to tweak the HTML and/or CSS so you can show customers what you’re capable of.
You should feel free to get creative and find a template that can accomodate your vision. With the Wix Illustrator portfolio, you can display images on the home screen without any text on the image, just a clean, beautiful slate to feature your work on, with links to your social media featured down at the bottom.
Having said that, while a minimalist design can be beautiful, sometimes less isn’t more. With the Weebly Guild theme you can incorporate a ton of features, such as a blog, an online store, an extensive contact and about us page, and multimedia galleries to browse through and display content proudly. If you’re a designer looking to make a splash, consider a template that can handle your skills.
Mobile ready—and optimized
While the aforementioned features are all important for an online business, it goes without saying that in today’s wired, constantly online culture, you’re going to need to make sure that your site is mobile optimized. It’s not enough to have a template that can run on a smartphone, you need one that looks stunning and runs seamlessly on mobile devices. Most people spend their time online through their mobile devices and you need to make sure your template is perfect for mobile.
Your business is your baby—it’s up to you to decide what you’re making, what you’re selling, and why. Once you get your business online, be sure to find a template that highlights the features of your business, communicates your image, and helps customers make purchases seamlessly. There are more than enough website template options out there, so go find the one that works best for you.