Three Key Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Your First Website Template if You Want to Save Money

I wanted to share the most commonly asked questions I get from our new customers looking to purchase their first website template.

Hopefully answering the 3 key questions of:

  1. What software do I need?
  2. What package do I need?
  3. What plugins do I need?

will make the purchasing decision go a little smoother for you.

If this is your first website you should start by asking yourself what software do you want to use to build your website, then move onto the template package and plugins.

work-731198_640

What software program or web editor do I want to use to build my website with?

Often the first question is the one that’s least easy to ask as you may not even be thinking about the software or tools required to build a website. Quite often I’ll be speaking with a new customer on the phone and when I ask what editor they would be building the website with, they haven’t really thought about that part yet. They are still at the browse stage where they know they need a website, and they know that a website template is a good place to begin as it gives them a head start and they don’t have to try to build a website from scratch, but they haven’t really thought about ‘how’ they are going to build their website.

All templates be it for WordPress, HTML, Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression require some method of updating the content in the pages, creating new pages, and adding images. This is the software part, the ‘web editor’.

A web editor is a tool to build and edit web pages with, and you can access this tool online through your web browser, or through a software program that you would install to computer or laptop.

We provide templates in the form of ‘themes’ for use with WordPress which uses an online editor, and we provide full website templates which can be opened and edited with web editing software such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web or any HTML editor or text editor.

The difference between using an online editor and a software program such as Dreamweaver does vary quite a bit, and the choice to go with one over the other can greatly impact your development time, or your design flexibility.

When working with a WordPress theme, you will find that updating the content is much quicker, and usually easier. WordPress is great for new users as there is less of a learning curve, and it’s easier to access and update the content in the web pages. There are lot’s of plugins for WordPress, so it can be very flexible in what you can add.

WordPress is not as flexible when it comes to design, as a Dreamweaver or HTML template is. Much of the style sheets that make up the design in WordPress are tucked away, and not readily accessible. This is by design, so the end user can’t get in there and mess things up. So you can only access parts of your web page that WordPress grants you access to. The rest you need to work within widgets and sidebars and this is where things can get very complicated in WordPress, as we now go from easy to learn to “I need a doctorate”.

The very basics of WordPress are easy to get a hang, of, it’s when you want to customize the look of your pages, get more control over the layout of your content where it becomes challenging for a new user.

The biggest advantage to WordPress is the use of plugins. Over 20, 000 plugins at this time, and growing each day. You can find a plugin to do almost anything you need. The downside to plugins are the over whelming number, and with many of them being free, installing them and getting support can be a hassle. Most of the plugins you install you’ll get little support for, and most of that little support will be through a forum where you hope other plugin users will answer your questions. You won’t find one on one help. Paid plugins on the other hand you’ll find in general, will have better support, and may include installation and troubleshooting. Best to do a review on the plugin which you can easily find with google.

I have a customer who I’ve been working with recently that purchased a WordPress theme, to replace their existing website. Her goal was to get the her word Press pages to have the same layout for the content as her existing website, with tables and columns and generally something that was easy to do years ago when websites where designed with tables ( before mobile ).. where as now not as practical. She’s finding that she can’t do what she wants as WordPress just isn’t that flexible, you have an area for your content, and the rest of the page is made up of widgets and sidebars. In an editor such as Dreamweaver, all areas of the page are editable, and you can put content where ever you like, in WordPress you only have one area to put content.

Building a website using software such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web or an HTML editor such as Sublime Editor gives you complete control over every aspect of the design and layout of your web pages. You can add and remove pieces of the page, change the columns, column widths and arrange your content exactly how you envisioned it. Place and image, or java script component where ever you need it.

We sell a good number of WordPress themes to web developers building websites for their clients, and probably the most asked question from our developers is to change the look and feel of the theme, or how to arrange the content. A piece of cake when working with an HTML web template, not so much with WordPress as WordPress is much more of a ‘here’s how I look, love me or leave me’ type of an environment where HTML is just there to do as you please.

To sum up, WordPress excels at ease of use when it comes to updating the content of your web pages, and by far has the largest selection of Plugins available. Where is does not excel is it’s lack of design flexibility and layout options.

Web Templates designed for Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web or and HTML editor excel in their flexibility for design and page layouts, plugins require some extra installation and setup ( although can be installed through a web browser ) and you can’t just jump into a web browser, make some updates to your page and voila, your site have been updated. You need to access your web page through your web editing software, update the page ( much like updating a Microsoft Word Document ) then publish that web page up to your server.

My preference goes to WordPress for websites heavy on the content and light on the design or function. For content rich websites it’s much easier to keep that content up to date and organized with WordPress. When someone wants a very specific look and feel to their website, and may require certain web pages to function a specific way ( or use a certain type of javascript ) I prefer Dreamweaver and HTML so I have total control over what I’m doing and don’t need to dig into PHP code to update a WordPress theme.

student-849822_640

What Package Do I Need?

We offer our web templates and WordPress themes in different package types. The Basic, Standard and Pro.

Each package is priced at a different price point, and this is one of the main reasons we offer the different packages.

The Basic Package includes ‘just’ the ( Home ) page, and 4 basic pages to start building your site with. The 2 basic pages are single column, two column, three column and four column pages.

From this, you can duplicate the included pages to create more of your own, but you’ll need to create your own content layouts if you want more than just the 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns layouts offered in the package.

The basic package is really designed for folks wanting to save some cash and can either work with the exiting layouts or know enough HTML to change the layouts the way they want them to look.

The Standard package is a starter website. It’s a pre-built website already, you just need to change the text on the pages. You can add or remove pages, but it comes complete with the most standard pages any website would need to start with, a home page, contact page, products, services, faq’s, about us, and a sitemap. You can make as many new pages as you like, and name them what ever you need.

The Pro Package is the Standard package with more layouts. A pre-built website with many extra pages and sliders to give you more options. As your website grows, this is where the Pro package really comes in handy as you have quite a few extra pages and sliders to choose from, when you need to add more pages. In the Bootstrap templates you’ll also find the Pro package includes many extra carousels, sliders and in page component for image rotator’s, quote rotator’s and some really cool things in general.

rj45-1139366_640

What Plugins Do I Need?

We also offer our own brand of plugins for your web templates packages ( not for WordPress ) called NUMO Plugins. These plugins include:

PayPal Shopping Cart: Start selling online in minutes with our PayPal Web Payments Standard powered shopping cart system.

Members Area Access Control: Restrict and grant access to your web pages with our access control system.

Help Desk: Communicate with your customers with this support ticket based help desk.

Blog: Keep your website visitors up to date with this multi-blog enhancement.

Newsletter: Collect subscribers, compose and send newsletters right in your web browser.

Form Wizard: Build multiple forms for your website and have the results emailed to you or viewed in your administrative area.

Content Wizard: Create editable regions for your pages, that can be managed right through the browser. Grant access to one or more users to edit.

Calendar: Manage multiple calendars for public or private viewing.

Listing Service: Post items for sale or show, like an online classifieds system.

Guestbook: Have your visitors sign your guestbook. Can be used as a testimonial submission system.

Web Ballot: Poll your visitors for their opinions.

Whois Online: See who is online on your website, right now, with this simple visitor tracker.

You may not need any of the functionality that these plugins add to your website, but that’s what they do, add functionality to your website. Things that you just can’t do with your web editor, easily. Our plugins are database applications that get installed to your web server, and you access them through your web browser, very much like you would with an online editor such as WordPress. Only you get to administer these components through your web browser, and they code provided by the plugin, will update the content within your web pages.

One of the toughest things to do with HTML, is manage ‘private’ pages for members, almost impossible. But not with the Access Control plugin, you can enable ‘members’ to sign up, and have access to only the pages you give them access to in your website, for everyone else that’s not a member or haven’t signed up, they’ll never see the pages nor have a link to access them.

You don’t need a plugin to start with, and you may never have use for a database plugin, but for those that do, they can save a ton of headache, and we’re one of the few or only places online you can get this type of functionality for a one time cost. Most places that offer newsletters, or form wizards require a monthly fee, or advertising at best.