Whether creating a new website, online publication, or electronic newsletter, the template, sometimes called the theme, is one of the first design elements you must choose. The template is the skeleton of the page. It provides the structure from which you can add text, graphics, and different types of functions and widgets. It is very important in determining how your page looks and feels and how it will be read.
There are thousands, if not millions, of different templates available on the internet, and no matter what type of product you are creating, you will be able to find an appropriate template. Some templates are free, but many are not. Some services and templates are very customizable and have drag-and-drop functionality. Others are more fixed in terms of their design and what they can offer. If you have the expertise or staff, you might also want to create your own template. That way it can be designed to exactly your needs and specifications.
At Cloudswave, we have organized a list of relevant software that will give you a library of templates to choose from or give you the tools to make your own. With all of the choices on the internet, it is easy to start to feel lost. As long as you keep asking the right questions, you will be able to find a template that works for you.
Are you working on a website, online magazine, ebook, or something for print? Maybe you are creating a newsletter that you will mail, post on your website, and email to your customers. Most templates are created with a specific type of product in mind. Remember to search for relevant templates, and keep the final output in mind when choosing the one you will use.
Are you trying to sell something? Is this website just supposed to educate people? Or is the purpose something else? Think hard about exactly what you are trying to accomplish because this will be critical to choosing the right template or theme. A webpage for an online marketplace will look drastically different from the webpage for a personal blog or a photographer’s portfolio. Depending on your purpose, your website will have very different needs. A commercial website might need to display a catalog of hundreds of products and provide a simple interface to purchase those products. An educational website will have to depict paragraphs of text and make it look interesting enough to hold someone’s attention.
When you keep the purpose in mind, you will also be able to discard unnecessary design elements and pare the website down to only what is necessary. You might be attracted to an incredibly creative and fun design, but if it doesn’t speak to your website’s purpose and if it doesn’t help you accomplish your objectives, it might be best to choose a different template. A good example is a website that will sell a variety of products. Its design elements will need to display the products in a clear and attractive way, and it will need buttons or widgets to purchase products and enter billing information. Those are the two most important functions of this website. When deciding on a template, you need to determine if it will provide the necessary elements and if its additional features build on that or are superfluous.
All that being said, even when you are focused on your product’s purpose, there will still be a wealth of options to choose from. At this point, it can be useful to think about your audience. Who will be reading your online magazine or visiting your website? A website that sells products to kids or teenagers will look very different from a website selling software to real estate professionals. Different audiences have different expectations in how a website or publication is organized and how it presents information. Elements as simple as color can have large effects on the tone and feel of what you are creating, so you must have the audience in the back of your mind when you are making your design decisions.
Of course, you have to think critically and logically about your product’s purpose and its audience. At the same time, sometimes it will pay to break the rules. Online users are more tech-savvy than ever. They have seen every type of website and know all the rules. They can instantly recognize a website that is designed very generically, so sometimes doing something differently is the best way to grab your audience’s attention.
Maybe you want your online marketplace to look and feel like a personal blog. Or you want your educational website to resemble an artist’s portfolio. Little tweaks in the formula can go a long way to creating a unique and lasting impression on your website’s visitors.
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