Examples of different web page layoutsTemplates for web sites contain key design elements such as colors, fonts and page layouts.

If you can find a template that needs "just a little" customization, it helps to keep the design and development price to a minimum. Just about everything can be tailored but with a few simple changes, along with your own logo, photos and text, you can have a custom look.

Here are the 6 tips on what to look for when comparing alternatives.

1. Logo Flexibility

Take a look at your logo and envision how it would work with the web site template. Not all logos will fit in all designs. Consider the logo shape (horizontal, square, vertical) and the other design elements in the template. Also think about the color that might appear behind the logo; your logo image might need updating to have a transparent background, letting the color of the template show through.

Sample menu image

2. Menu Flexibility

If you like the design of the menus in the template, there will be less work to get the site up and running.

Think about where the menu is placed, the font and background colors, the font sizes and the hover effect when the mouse is placed over a menu item. Changing colors and fonts are simple to do; adding code to change the hover effect behavior requires a little more work.

3. Page Layout Flexibility

Having the same layout on all pages can be boring. A good template will have many options to vary your page layouts. Typically called "module positions" in Joomla and "widgets" in WordPress, the more the better. Having 72 different module positions is not uncommon.

And it is mandatory that the template is "responsive", meaning the site will automatically adjust itself to fit the device being used - cellphone, table, or desktop.

4. Forms

Common to many sites is at least 1 form on the Contact Us page, that gets forwarded to any email you specify. A template with a form is one less thing that needs to be built.

Facebook feed on to a web site5. Interactive Features

Buttons, expandable lists, dynamically built slide shows, and social media features all add to the interest and value of a web site. Many templates come with these features built in. Again, less work if they are already there.

6. Documentation and Support

When installing and modifying a web site template, having access to support - either people, web forums, or documentation - helps keep the project on schedule when a glitch occurs. It's technology so having a glitch is to be expected. They key is to get it behind you with as little work as possible.

Next Steps

Before looking at web site templates, think about who will be visiting your site, why are they there, and what kind of experience you want them to have. Then make a list of the features you want and look for those features in a template. We do this for our clients and then present a few template choices that meet their criteria.

Contact Us if you would help selecting, installing or customizing a web site template. There's a form you can complete here www.pegdoyle.com/index.php/contact-us or give us a call for a free quote.

Peg Doyle