Not good with computers?
Having trouble understanding your website builder?
Confused by how templates and themes are related?

Here is a simple guide to help you start understanding the basics of website design.


As a set of pre-designed webpages, templates create a consistent design and layout for a website. They are generally built with HTML and CSS coding. Often used with a Content Management System (CMS), they contain both structural information (how a website should be set up) and stylistic information (how a website should look).

Themes create the visual design produced by the content, layout, colors, typography and style of a website. Customization of a theme may be possible but not guaranteed. Features and functionality that do not come with a theme can be added in through various plug-ins.

Choosing your theme highly depends on the type of website you want for you business. For example, if sell goods and services online, you will want to choose to integrate e-commerce tools and capabilities.

The number of web surfers using mobile browsers (not using a desktop or laptop) has been increasing drastically. Therefore, it is important for businesses to have so called “responsive” websites. Web designers create responsive websites that dynamically resize themselves to any browser window size, all the way down to a small mobile screen. These responsive websites are easy to read and navigate on any mobile or tablet device, resulting in less resizing, pinching and expanding, scrolling and panning.

Front End and Back End
The front end is the website that is publicly seen on the internet. It is usually made up of two parts: the web design and the front end web development. The back end is basically where all the design, configuration, settings and edits are done by an administrator of the website. It is made up of three parts: a server, an application and a database.

Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is a computer application that lets a user publish and edit content on a website through storing and organizing files. From basic to more complex functions, most CMS include publishing, format management, revision control, search and retrieval and indexing.

The content management application (CMA) is the front end interface where users edit and add content from a website. The content delivery application (CDA) puts together all the information and updates the website.

Electronic commerce is the business of selling or trading products and services using a website. For online transaction processing, companies may use a shopping cart or any similar electronic funds transfer systems.

Landing Page
Most often than not, the landing page is a website’s home page. When users click on a search engine optimized (SEO) search result or an online advertisement they are taken to a landing page. The goal of a landing page is to get users to buy in to the website’s services. Through analyzing landing page activity, businesses can see click-through rates and conversion rates to determine the success of a marketing campaign.

Navigation and Site Maps
One of the website components that can keep or lose a user in the first few seconds is how user-friendly the navigation menu is. Users usually already have a specific goal in mind when visiting a website. The navigation menu should be set up with the most important categories of your website. For example, About Us or Services are specific and obvious to the user.

Site maps, which are usually seen on the footer, lay out the entire website’s pages. This is helpful for users to easily find a page that may be hidden in the navigation menu.

Sometimes themes do not always have exactly what a business needs for its website. Plug-ins are used to add a specific component or feature to an existing software application. When a software application supports plug-ins, this customization is possible.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When marketing campaigns aren’t creating enough traffic to a website, a business will hire a website builder to do SEO. Through integrating this process, a website will be more visible in a search engine’s organic search results. The goal is to get more visitors from search engines. Businesses want their website to be the higher ranked in search results.

When doing SEO, website builders consider how search engines work and the certain keywords users search for in the search engines. Sometimes a website’s content is edited to include those keywords. Also, they will make sure that the HTML and coding increase in relevance to those keywords.