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Picking a website template for your CMS

In the previous step we discussed the options you have for building a website; using a Content Management System (CMS) or a Website Builder service. When you have chosen a Website Builder service you need to select a template that they offer. This page with help you to select a good template for your startup idea, but this page is mostly written for those that work with a CMS like Joomla! or WordPress.

 

What is a template/theme?

A template (also called a theme) is the design of your website. Your CMS is the system, your template is its look, layout and appearance. Choosing a template is a very important decision for your startup idea, and a really cool one too.

 

 

Which template is good for me?

There are literally thousands of templates available for both Joomla! and WordPress. But quality templates are much more rare and it can be incredibly difficult to select the right one, especially if you don't have experience with Content Management Systems.

So what do you need to look for in a template?

 

 

Choosing your website template

 

 

Responsive templates

With the incredible numbers of tablets and smartphones out there, offering a website that adapts its design to the screen size has become a necessity. Your template needs to be flexible and adjustable to all devices; your template needs to be "responsive". Responsive simply means that your template will put modules of your site underneath each other for small screens, instead of next to each other like on big screens. It also means your menu will become a dropdown/miniature version when browsing your site on small screened devices. It is no rocket science, but it is a necessity.

 

Template design

Pretty obvious? Well, also pretty difficult. Deciding on the design of your website is difficult and you need to be able to put yourself into the heads and minds of your future visitors. What do they look for on your website, and how do you make sure they find it easily? People browsing the internet are incredibly impatient, when landing on your website they decide to stay or not within seconds.

Don't pick a template simply because you think it looks cool; pick a template that is perfect for reaching the goals that you set with your website.

 

Template versions

Be careful to select a template that was designed for your version of Joomla! and WordPress.

 

3rd Party integrations

In case you will expand your CMS website with eCommerce extensions, a forum or social media integrations, make sure your template offers these integrations. It will safe you a lot of time not having to do this yourself.

 

As a designer, my aim was to create an attractive and well designed website. Soon I found out that usability and making sure visitors find what they are looking for is much more important.

Phil, beatsfriday.com

 

 

Where to look for quality templates

There are several professionals designing and selling templates and some websites offer templates for free. Only few templates are put together well, so it will help you stick to some of our favorite websites.

 

Joomla! templates

A few options for Joomla! templates include:

  • Rockettheme
    I love their free template called Afterburner. It is simple, but very fast loading and intuitive. And they have many more templates, click here.

  • Joomlart
    Another good designer of templates, and they have a free template as well called Purity iii. Looks familiar right? Yes I used it for this website. Click here for their site.

  • Shape 5
    Another option, click here for their site.

 

 

Rockettheme Joomla! template   Joomlart Joomla! templates
Two Joomla! templates (Afterburner, by RocketTheme and Hotel, by Joomlart).

 

 

 

WordPress themes (templates)

A few options for WordPress templates include:

  • WordPress
    Many designers added their designs in the WordPress database. It is a bit of a jungle (too many options, too many designers), but fun to look around. Click here for their site.

  • ThemeForest
    Large selection of templates, click here.

  • ElegantThemes
    Popular service with a big selection to choose from, click here.

 

 

Elegantthemes theme WordPress   ThemeForest theme WordPress
Two WordPress themes (Divi, by ElegantThemes and Andy Parker, by ThemeForest).

 

 

Having a logo designed

The template you select is filled with graphics and content, but you will need to change its logo to suit your website and startup. You can hire a professional designer to design your corporate identity, but this will cost you. I am a big fan of Fiverr, a website where you can have a great logo designed for just $5. Make sure you are clear on what you want for your logo, add some examples you like and let your designer know what the size of your logo should be.

 

 


Got my template.

You have decided on the design of your site and selected your template.

Well done! Next up; tracking and understanding your visitors with statistics.

Proceed with the next step


 

Step 1: Build websiteStep 2: Create contentStep 3: Attract visitorsStep 4: Make moneyStep 5: Grow your businessStep 6: Earn more