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Website design can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You can be in control of your website’s look and feel without feeling overwhelmed. Whether you’re looking for a blog template, the template for your small business, a bright-colored and flashy template, or a more minimalist design, there are a number of easy website templates to choose from and you can even search by website type, keywords, functionality and more!
Simple to use website themes are easy to find online, but with hundreds of thousands to choose from, where do you start? Even choosing an easy website template can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not all that tech savvy. If you’re not sure what type of theme is best for your needs — and the easiest to install — we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the various types of website templates — some are easier than others, so we’ve broken them down to help you figure out where to start:
- The Easiest Route? One-Stop Website Builders with Hosting Included
- Ready-Made Website Templates: Choose Your Host and Platform
- Want a Challenge? HTML, XML and CSS Templates From Scratch
There are a number of excellent full-service website builders that provide bundled services — they give you the platform for hosting your site and offer a number of different template choices. How easy are they to install? Their pre-built templates are ready to go live, with little time or effort needed on your part. And their bundles usually contain all the source files, so you can tweak the graphics and content to meet your needs. Online website builders are best for smaller to medium-sized businesses or those who are starting out — you don’t get as much flexibility as you would hosting your own site, and these services usually don’t provide enough storage space and functionality for larger businesses or high traffic websites.
Most full service website builders charge you a monthly fee, anywhere from $4 to $30 per month, for templates, hosting and technical support. With many you can save money by signing up for an annual plan. The pricing ranges are based on how much file storage you need, what template features you’re looking for, and how functional you want your site to be. If you’re interested in learning more, read our Best Website Builder Software comparison article, where we give you our reviews and top picks for the best full service website builders online, including Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and more.
First, what’s the difference between full service website builders and ready-made website templates? With ready-made templates, you have control over where you host your site and can choose the platform that’s easiest for you. A web platform, or CMS (content management system), gives you the ability to install, update and manage your website fairly easily, even if you don’t have much experience. With ready-made templates you have a lot more options to choose from — there are thousands of platform-specific templates online. Similar to website builder templates, ready-made templates come with the entire website structure already laid out, which makes them a breeze to install. All you need to do is upload the files to your hosting server and you are more or less up and running with your new website (you’ll still need to add your own content and customize it according to your needs).
The most popular CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento — and each varies in its ease of use. See our Best Open Source CMS article to learn more about CMS platforms.
- WordPress -– WordPress is the most popular CMS, it powers 20% of the entire Internet. For good reason – it’s the easiest to use and is also very powerful. Whether you want to start a simple blog or run a full-blown e-commerce online shop, you can get it done with WordPress. Thanks to its popularity, there are a ton of WordPress templates out there that are exceptionally well designed, both aesthetically and functionally. Some are easier to install than others, but WordPress is overall a much easier CMS to work with. See our article, Best Website Templates, for our recommendations and reviews of services, like ElegantThemes, StudioPress, and Templatic, that provide polished and professional WordPress-specific templates as well as technical support.
- Joomla, Drupal, Magento and other CMS templates — While WordPress is by far the most popular CMS, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and some other lesser known CMS platforms still have their devout users. Joomla and Drupal, particularly, are easy to use, and you can find a lot of great-looking and easy website templates for each. Drupal is known for its robust code-base, taxonomy based system (easy to categorize content or run large e-commerce shops with complex functionality), but runs into some issues when it comes to developer support. Joomla tried to up-end Drupal with an easier to use front-end interface, but has fallen short in the race due to WordPress’ cataclysmic growth. Template networks like TemplateMonster, ThemeForest, and RocketTheme have a good selection of templates for all these systems, and they also offer tech support.
The last category of website templates, HTML, XML and CSS, are more bare bones than others mentioned in this article, and you have to be pretty tech savvy to go this route. The benefit? If you’re well versed in HTML or CSS (or are looking for a very customized solution and have a reputable developer, or development team on hand), you typically have much more customization capability and don’t have to work around as many pre-built blocks as with ready-made templates. But again, there’s a learning curve if you don’t know your coding. Also, be very careful going this route because if your developer doesn’t follow best coding practices, it may be difficult for anyone else to take over your project should they leave. The advantage of some of the CMS’es we discuss above, is that they have large communities of developers you can reach out to for support in locations across the globe. Where can you find HTML, XML or CSS templates? DreamTemplate and ThemeForest are good places to start.
How Easy is Building Your Website?
You can’t go wrong with Jeff Bridges illustrating how he uses Squarespace and its easy website templates to create his own soothing music website. Enjoy this video!
Easy Website Template vs. Hiring a Web Designer
If you hire a web designer to create a template for your custom made or CMS website, you’ll need to wait for your template, and you’ll be at the mercy of your web designer’s time schedule and coding standards (website templates typically need to be updated just as the base website systems do, for security and to keep up with industry standards and new features). You’ll also end up paying much more than going the website template route — often thousands more. Installation and deployment may also prove difficult if the designer is not familiar with your hosting setup. The types of templates we’ve discussed in this article are not only easy to install but they’re largely designed by professional graphic artists and web designers. The templates are often rated and reviewed by other consumers so you can see examples and read experiences before you commit to anything. Of course, a website designer can also offer an unparalleled level of customization that may not be possible with a ready-made template. And, they can guarantee that you are the only one with your unique template look.
What Are You Waiting for?
By installing an easy website template you will not only save money, but time – lots of it. Finding an experienced web designer these days is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And generally, you get what you pay for. In other words, you’ll need to pay a lot more to get a template that looks this good, works this well and is this easy and painless to install. Don’t forget about your mobile visitors as well! The majority of consumers are buying form their smartphones. Be sure to check out the rest of our How to Make Your Own Website Series for more tips on how and where to get started.
What’s your favorite website system or template provider?