In a world overloaded with digital information, websites are a dime a dozen. Few are the ones that stick out – can you name 3 websites and give a description of how they look?
Finding the right look for your digital presence can be exhausting. Most of the website owners out there have no idea how to code a single line of HTML – lucky for them, they don’t have to. Instead, they just need a bit of time to find a website template design that fits their business needs.
Beyond the idea of a template that fits your business needs, though, there are some things to keep in mind so that you don’t end up with a website that screams “template!” – or, worse, looks exactly the same as your competitor’s website because they purchased their design from the same place you did.
Tips on Finding the Perfect Template
First and foremost: AVOID the big names! Sure, the big-name template sites have some really flashy, often inspiring designs. It’s because of this that you need to avoid them – you’re not the only person to think they have great designs. Nope, instead you’re looking at a website template that has been viewed, purchased, and/or downloaded by thousands of people – literally. Worse yet is that most of these big-name sites became such a big name that they have decided to become even bigger … and allow hundreds of resellers to offer their templates on different websites.
In other words, the Internet is saturated with the templates by big-name sites. Not only can you purchase them at dozens of places, but you can see them being used unaltered in dozens of places, too.
Okay, so with that out of the way what else should you look for?
* Exclusivity –
How many times has the template been sold, and how many times will it be sold before it’s removed? There are very, very few sources that offer totally-unique template designs, but they do exist. Look for a source that sells a single template no more than 6 times, and/or offers a unique license. With a unique license, you’ll pay a little bit more to get the design but won’t have to worry about finding another site just like yours later down the road.
* Originality –
Many websites that are created from a template have a “template look”. Web designers familiar with the bigger names, especially, can quickly point out which websites were purchased from which company. Look for a design that is unique and portrays your business image. Don’t choose one just because it “looks cool” – it needs to have every element you want for your business, and the graphics need to scream with appropriateness for your business type.
* Editability –
No matter how close the design you choose comes to perfect, it won’t be perfect. You’ll need to change some graphics, alter text, and any number of small issues. To do this, you’ll want source files. Look for packages that include Photoshop source files, completely editable flash files, and font files if they’re using something unique.
Little-Known Sources of Great Website Templates
If you’re looking for a unique template, you can guarantee you’ll want to avoid the first 5 pages or so of a search engine’s results. These are the sites that get hit by thousands – sometimes millions – of visitors a day, and won’t be able to offer you something that umpteen people aren’t already using.
There are always bad apples in the bunch, and it can be scary to go with a little-known name for your design needs. A few shining stars can be found, though, and these beacons of graphical inspiration can offer everything you could possibly need for your website.
In no particular order, some of the best of the bunch include:
TemplateSpace – www.templatespace.com –
This one is mainly for the designers out there who work with websites on a regular basis and need plenty of starter ideas to begin with. TemplateSpace doesn’t sell individual templates – instead, they offer an annual membership that gives you access to more than 1000 website templates, 5000 web images, fonts, logos, banners, and great support. Their prices are reasonable and they actually let you preview their full collection of work before you decide whether or not to become a member – no nasty little surprises amounting to disappointment.
Like the idea but not too impressed with TemplateSpace’s selection? Try out DesignLoad – http://www.designload.net/home.html – their work is a bit “edgier” but filled with design goodness.
3Legs – www.3legs.com.au –
They say some of the best things come from down under … and 3Legs definitely helps the case. Here you will find template packs that are astonishing in their clean lines and aesthetic appeal, but don’t cost you a lot of money. In fact, because this site is based in Autrallia, you’ll pay less than you would with a US-based website.
DeonixDesign – www.deonixdesign.com –
These guys aren’t a “big” name yet … but don’t be surprised if they become one! Their work is truly quality, backed by years of design experience, and it’s not just a script reselling another company’s work – you get something unique here.