The purpose of this article is to explain what a custom website page template is, how it works and how it applies to your website project.
But before we get into exactly what a page template is, let’s talk about why you need to know what it is.
What is a Custom Website Page Template?
Long story short, where projects sometimes break down between a client and a designer, is when the expectations of one party do not meet with the delivery of the other.
In many cases, this breakdown occurs when discussing awebsite page template and a lack of a full understanding of what they are and how they work.
This article is an attempt set the record straight and to help potential website clients have a better understanding of the design and development process and what type of requests and expectations are easy to fulfill and which ones aren’t.
A Custom Website Template Is NOT…
First things first, let’s talk about what a custom website page template is NOT.
Clients get a little confused when they hear the word ‘template.’ They think about cheap pre-made themes or some form of generic design.
Yes, you can get a free or cheap ‘template’ for your WordPress website, but that is not what we are talking about here.
So what are we talking about when we say custom website page template?
A custom website page template is a framework.
Think of your Facebook profile page. Everyone’s Facebook profile page has the same framework. There is a profile picture on the upper left-hand corner, a banner image at the center top, a grid of squares with your pictures under your profile picture and another display showing your friends under that. And it’s the same design and layout for everyone on Facebook.
That is in essence what a page template is. It is a framework for laying out content in a specific way.
And that’s not the only page template facebook has.
How about your newsfeed?
That’s a custom website page template too. It too has a unique design framework, and everyone is using the same one.
Website Templates and Your Website
So, moving back towebsite design, let’s look at how this applies to your website project.
Your website also has a series of page templates.
Let’s look at the most obvious one. Your homepage.
Typically your homepage is a unique design. It has a different layout, from the other pages of the site.
In fact, most sites have at least two website page templates, the homepage, and the inner page.
Sticking with the homepage, not only does it have a unique design on the front-end (what you see on the page). But if developed well, then there is a simple setup in the backend to make it easy to edit and update.
Going back to Facebook, think about how easy it is for you to update your profile picture, or add images to your gallery.
Now instead, think for a moment if every Facebook profile page was different.
What if for the profile picture, instead of it always being a square, you could make it a rectangle, or a circle? Or that you could adjust the size to any dimension you wanted?
So, let me ask you a question?
Why doesn’t Facebook let you adjust your profile page more?
- It would be much more difficult on the backend to develop a page that allowed users to customize the design like that
- The site would end up looking inconsistent and ugly. Think back to your MySpace days
So not only does a page template have a single design framework but it also has a unique development in the backend which makes it easier for you to edit and update the page.
So, now that we know what a page template is let’s talk about where projects sometimes go awry.
As I mentioned, challenges occur when we don’t meet expectations.
Sometimes a client expects that because the homepage is unique, with many visual and design elements, that means that every single page of the site will be a unique snowflake just as intricate and individual as the homepage.
Generally speaking, this is not the case.
Typically speaking most of the inner pages will be the same. They will be more text heavy and have fewer design elements.
There is a framework for content, imagery, and navigation and most of the pages follow that same design.
Let’s look at an example.
In this particular site, there are three unique page templates, the homepage, the standard inner page and the blog page.
If we look at the gallery below, you will see that most of the inner pages of the site look the same. They might have different content and imagery, but the design framework is the same.
Now, let’s look at another example
In this example, the inner pages are all different. There is a unique page template (or page design) for almost all of the internal pages. Each one is different.
Why is there is a difference?
Well, the primary factor is the budget.
Larger budget projects tend to have more custom page templates.
They do this because a custom page template allows you to tell a more unique and visual story, with more individuality.
Also, there are certain types of pages that lend themselves to unique page templates.
Here are some examples of pages that may need a unique page template:
- case studies
- our process
- In fact, any page could get a custom page template.
- Let’s look at the difference between some of these pages when they have a custom page template design vs. ones that don’t