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Are you struggling with your website but you just don’t have the cash money to hire someone right now?
Are you worried that your DIY’d site looks DIY’d?
Have you spent WAY too many hours building a hodge podge of a website and now you’re buried in half-baked ideas, and your website looks like a macaroni-art mashup of different designs?
Or maybe, you needed your website done like yesterday, and you NEED it done once and for all.
Whether you’re on a budget, your deadline is longggg passed, or both – I’m happy to report that you CAN have a beautifully designed, professional website without dishing out thousands to hire a professional website designer.
So, how exactly do you get a professionally designed website, at a fraction of the cost?
The answer: By purchasing a pre-made website template.
Now, you may or may not have heard of website templates before, and there’s a lot of confusing/conflicting terms floating out there in the world, so in this post I want to dive into what exactly a website template is (explained in a way that actually makes sense), so you can determine if a website template might be a good fit for you!
So, let’s chat about website templates, shall we?
What IS a website template?
In short, a website template is a pre-made website that you can purchase, install, and customize with ease, without any coding or design skills required.
With a website template, the layout of the website will already be created for you, meaning all you have to do is swap in your pictures, colors, and words – and voila, your website is finished and red-carpet-ready!
Website templates are websites created by professional website designers which are then sold at a lower price point for business owners who don’t have the budget for hiring a professional.
So you’re getting professional work at a super cost effective rate! Talk about a freaking WIN 🍾 – all you have to do is install and customize the template to your liking! Fortunately, most good website template sellers aim to make the process as simple as possible, and may (should!) even include installation and customization tutorials.
How does a website template work?
Depending on where you buy the template and which platform the template is intended for, the process for setting up the template may vary slightly.
As you may or may not know, I’m a website designer who builds websites using both WordPress and Squarespace. At the time of publishing, Squarespace doesn’t currently allow for a full website to be translated into an installable template. Yes, you can purchase a Squarespace website template, but the process for installation actually requires you to follow tutorial videos to recreate the full template website yourself before you can begin customizing. While this is certainly an option many are happy with because they have their hearts set on Squarespace, it is quite a bit more labor intensive than most one-click install template options.
WordPress on the other hand does allow for very simple installation of complete websites. In just a few clicks, you can have a carbon copy of the template pulled up on your computer, ready for customization. This question will focus on the process of using this type of website template, using WordPress.
So when you purchase a website template… how does it work?
Like I mentioned before, the process may vary slightly depending on who created the template, but overall the big steps will likely remain the same.
Purchasing and using a website template will likely look something like this:
- Purchase the template
- Download the template files
- Purchase domain and hosting
- Install WordPress
- Upload your template files
- Customize and launch!
These steps should all be laid out for you in an easy-to-follow tutorial, provided by the template seller. Some sellers may also offer an installation package if you’d just rather pass steps 1-5 off to them!
How much does a website template cost?
Ahhh the good old question of cost… a very important question!
When it comes to the cost of a template there are actually TWO costs you need to take into account: the cost of the template, and the cost of your domain and hosting. Your domain and hosting will not be included in a website template purchase, and will need to be purchased separately.
Cost of the actual template
The range in pricing for website templates is MASSIVE. You could probably find templates for as low as $100, or as much as $750+. The price of a website template really depends on what you’re looking for, and where you’re looking.
Yes, there are loads of crazy cheap options, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
After all, you want a website that’s visually appealing AND effective… because a pretty website without an actual strategic design is nothing more than a colorful waste of money that won’t do a thing to help your business. Ugh… what a waste!
While I’m all about saving money (ya girl is frugal AF!), I do encourage you to do your research and find a high-quality template, even if that means it’s not the cheapest option out there.
Is the thought of spending extra dollars making ya stressed?
Think of it this way, if you were to hire a professional website designer you could expect to pay a minimum of $2000 for a high-quality website, often more! But when you’re purchasing a template, you’re STILL getting that professionally designed website, but at a fraction of the cost. A good template will pay for itself by landing you new business in a way that a cheap template won’t.
Another thing to consider is that with a higher price point on a template comes a higher level of exclusivity.
In other words, the more a template costs, the fewer people will buy it – giving you a more unique website than the herd of people who all bought the same $99 template.
**It’s important to note that just because a website template has a high price tag doesn’t mean that it’s a quality template. You should always still thoroughly look over the template to see what it includes, make sure it will work for your needs, and read reviews if possible so you can be absolutely certain you’re truly getting quality.
Cost of domain and hosting
With all WordPress websites, whether you build from scratch or use a template, you will need a domain and hosting. Both of these have a small cost associated with them, which won’t be covered by your template purchase – you’ll need to purchase them on your own.
If you’re lucky, your template seller may offer recommendations on purchasing these to make the process a breeze. If you’re looking for advice, allow me to offer my fave options!
For purchasing hosting: Siteground
For purchasing a domain: Google Domains
Need an explanation of domains and hosting? Read this post: Website 101: Domains and Hosting
Other pricing considerations
Sometimes with a template there may be additional costs such as premium add-ons required to make the template function properly. Ideally the template will be designed so that these extras are optional (or don’t exist at all). The template seller should disclose this information before purchase if any “extras” are necessary, but it’s always a good idea to be certain before you buy!
A WordPress theme is NOT a website template
Part of me hates to even bring this topic up because I worry it might add more confusion, but nevertheless I feel like I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t cover this topic of “themes” versus “templates”.
The simple(st) way to put it is that a template is a pre-built, complete website with pages and layouts already created. All you, as the buyer, need to do is put in your images, colors, and words.
A template comes with pages and layouts already created for you.
A theme doesn’t come with any pages or layouts created, it simply gives you the ability to build them yourself.
To add confusion to the matter, some people use these terms interchangeably, which technically-speaking, is not correct, and definitely-speaking is confusing AF!
And to further bury the confusion hatchet – a template will often come with a theme, but a theme will not come with a template. 😅
Is your head spinning yet??
I mean, MINE IS, and I make websites for a living!
The key point to takeaway from this is: If you’re looking for a pre-made website you have to add your own content to, you want a website template.
Is a website template right for you?
If you’re ready to…
- STOP pulling your hair out,
- START finally feeling website-confident,
- Establish or solidify your biz credibility,
- Be taken seriously like you oh-so-deserve,
- Have a professional look without the high-end price,
- Set yourself up to freaking SOAR forward in your business
…well, then a website template very well may be your next secret weapon!
It’s time to make people think you hired a pro, and start treating yourself and your business like the pro you are!