December 11, 2009

How to Get the Most from Your Template Web Site


Hostway Team

By Hostway

A template-based Web site gives you the freedom to focus on your Web site content. With the design taken care of, you can pour your energy into perfecting the elements that make the Web site your own—the words and images. Here are five tips for making the most of your template-based Web site.

Choose a template that complements your brand

Before you fall in love with a template, set some standards to help guide your choice. "I like it" isn't a good enough reason when it comes to selecting a Web site template. Look at your corporate colors and identity. For example, a candy store might go for rich browns and organic shapes that remind customers of the creamy chocolate they're about to buy. An architectural firm might choose a template with straight lines and blue elements that echo building blueprints and building structure.

Find images that match your template

With the right template selected, now you have a benchmark for your other images. If you're buying stock photography or choosing from the image library included with your template, look for images that match the style and tone of your business and Web site. A candy shop, for example, could use images of casually dressed people posing as friends or family members. Our other example, the architectural firm, might show people in business attire presenting to a client. It's important to carry the same tone throughout the Web site, so choose a series of images that go well with each other.

Take good photos of your products

If you're running an ecommerce site, spend your time perfecting your product images. Photograph your products in good lighting and shoot from every angle. When you download the images, open them in a program like Photoshop that lets you crop your images and adjust the color and lighting. Good images are essential for helping online shoppers decide to buy from you.

Write detailed product descriptions

In addition to images, product descriptions are one of the most important elements on an ecommerce Web site. The more details you include, the better. If an item is not what your customers expect, you'll have more returns—and more chargeback and shipping fees to deal with. Be sure to include dimensions, best uses and any other relevant information you can think of.

Sprinkle internal links throughout your text

As you're writing your introduction, About Us and other copy, take the time to add links from any of your keywords to appropriate pages of your Web site. Not only does this help visitors navigate easily to another page for more information, it could help your search engine ranking. Search engines place more weight on words that are linked to a relevant page than regular copy.

A template-based Web site is a great way to get your business online quickly. And by putting more time into the custom elements on your site, you can really make it your own.

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