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A Comprehensive Guide to Custom Website Page Templates

A Comprehensive Guide to Custom Website Page Templates

Website page templates are a foundational element in crafting an effective website design. This guide will provide an in-depth look at custom website page templates—what they are, how they work, and how to best leverage them for your specific project needs.

What is a Custom Website Page Template?

At its core, a website page template refers to the underlying framework or structure that gives pages on a website a consistent look and feel. Templates help to neatly organize content while also providing an easy way for that content to be updated or modified over time.

Much like how every profile page on Facebook uses the same basic template layout, a well-designed website will typically have two or more page templates that various pages across the site can utilize.

The most common templates are:

  • Homepage template: Provides a unique design for the landing/homepage compared to other inner pages. Allows for feature content/sections.
  • Inner page template: Used by the majority of other pages like about us, services, blog, etc. More text-focused with consistent navigational elements.

However, some sites may benefit from additional customized templates tailored to specific page types or sections, such as:

  • Product pages
  • Service pages
  • Case study/portfolio pages
  • Location/office pages
  • Team/author profile pages

So in summary, a custom website page template refers to blueprint designs—complete with frontend layout and backend functionality—that allow content to be neatly organized and displayed across a website.video thumbnail

How Do Website Templates Work?

Understanding how templates work both on the frontend design as well as backend functions is important for properly scoping a website project.

Frontend Design

On the visible, user-facing side, templates define the overall flow, spacing, and placement of key elements like:

  • Header
  • Navigation
  • Sidebars
  • Footer
  • Title/headline styles
  • Image/content sections
  • Call-to-action buttons

Developing multiple customized frontend templates takes additional effort but offers more flexibility to highlight different content types.

Backend Functions

Just as crucial as the look is how templates are built on the backend to allow non-technical users to easily manage and update content. Things like:

  • Pluggable widget/form fields to modify text, images, etc
  • Uniform structure to swap out modules
  • Intuitive editing interface similar to common CMS platforms
  • SEO best practices baked into page metadata

This ensures the right balance between control and usability for clients on an ongoing basis.

When Do You Need Custom Templates?

The scope of templates required depends greatly on budget, content diversity, and specific project needs. Some general guidelines:

  • Large Budgets: More room to develop many unique page designs tailored to content.
  • Diverse Content: Sites with various content types (products, articles, profiles, etc) benefit most from individual templates.
  • Priority Pages: Homepage, main interior pages, and core sections usually warrant custom styling.
  • Limited Budgets: Focus on 2-3 main templates to keep costs down while allowing some variation.
  • Content-Heavy Sites: Blog/news sites can sometimes make do with just 1-2 column-style layouts.

It’s important to discuss needs upfront so expectations align on what level of template customization fits within constraints like timeline and budget.

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Template Examples

To illustrate custom templates in action, here are examples from real client websites that incorporate tailored designs:

Nonprofit Site

  • Homepage
  • Service Pages
  • Event Pages
  • Location Pages
  • Donation Pages

SaaS Company

  • Homepage
  • Pricing Pages
  • Feature Pages
  • Customer Pages
  • Blog Pages

E-Commerce Store

  • Homepage
  • Product Pages
  • Collection Pages
  • Checkout Pages
  • Help Pages

Law Firm

  • Homepage
  • Practice Area Pages
  • Attorney Profile Pages
  • Case Study Pages
  • Contact Pages

Key Takeaways

To summarize some of the core points about leveraging custom website page templates:

  • Templates provide structure to organize content while ensuring visual consistency.
  • At minimum, differentiate homepage design from interior pages.
  • Consider additional templates for unique content types or focus sections.
  • Discuss needs upfront to scope an appropriate level of customization for the budget.
  • Ensure templates are built with usability and SEO best practices on the frontend and backend.
  • Template design requires additional effort but offers flexibility when adjusting to updates over time.

By gaining a thorough understanding of templates, you’ll be better equipped to partner with designers and get the most value out of your website investment.

FAQs

Q: How many templates are typically needed for a small business site?

A: Most small business sites can function well with 2-3 templates—homepages, interior pages, and sometimes a pages for things like services or locations.

Q: Are templates the same as themes?

A: No, templates refer specifically to page layouts whereas themes determine broader visual aspects like colors, typography, images used. Templates exist within the framework of a theme.

Q: How often should page templates be reviewed?

A: It’s a good idea to review templates annually or when major site updates are done to ensure they still properly support your content and conversion goals.

Q: Can templates be updated after a site launch?

A: Yes, updating templates over time is usually possible and allows your site design to evolve along with your business needs. Ensure your developer makes templates accessible to modify.

Q: Do I need custom templates if using a page builder?

A: Page builders provide good flexibility but true custom designs will still require developer involvement. Consider needs and consult your builder on level of customization available.

Q: How much does template development typically cost?

A: Pricing varies but generally $100-300 per basic template is common, with more designs or complex functionality driving costs up. Discuss budget early.

Q: Can I design page templates myself?

A: You can attempt simple templates yourself if comfortable with basic coding. But for professional, pixel-perfect designs that are accessible & performant, it’s best to consult a designer.

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