On the left you can see a basic template layout which is simply a collection of headings, text and images. Where the input allows for free text input you also have the option of including lower-level headings, lists and links.
Every page needs to start with a main heading. The text for this can be fixed or editable depending on the nature of the page. The main heading is normally followed by a block of introductory text which introduces the remainder of the content. A single heading and text, with perhaps an image, is enough for a simple page, but not very exciting.
More complex pages will continue with a number of sections broken up by second-level headings. Each section might then contain: paragraphs of text; paragraphs of text with a right-floated image; or text with a right- and left-floated image with the text wrapping around both.
When designing a website we will ask for each page or group of pages what kind of template is required. The basic information we need is:
- The main heading and whether it needs to be editable;
- The number of sub-sections (second-level headings);
- Whether and where images are to be located;
- Whether and where any other 'features' are required (see below);
When entering text into a template, don't forget to take advantage of various formatting options: the text can be bold, italic, big or small for example, or you can insert third- and fourth-level headings as desired.
Other Features of a Template
Now on the left you can see a template with a more complex design. Under the main heading you can see a section of 'bold, centred text'. Under the second heading you can see that a table has been inserted between two paragraphs. And under the third heading the content has been broken into two columns - one containing an image as well as text. Finally some text has had a coloured border added.
This template has clearly been customised to meet some specific requirements. For your website you need to consider what kind of content you will be adding to each particular page, or whether you want to start with a 'generic' template such as the one above.
Different websites will also have different layout requirements. In some cases the images will need to have captions for example, or each heading followed by a sub-heading or other formatted text.
The 'style' of the page - font, colours, borders, etc. is all defined elsewhere - in a 'style sheet' that applies to the whole website. By changing the styles every page on the site can have a 'new look' without affecting any of the content.
Other features such as lists, email- and hyper-links can be inserted into the text so don't normally form a part of the template - unless they need to be specially styled. We can also inlude file downlaod links that allow you to upload PDF of similar files for people to download.
Refer to our FAQ for more information on formatting options and style sheets, or to some of the websites listed in our portfolio, many of which are now using templates to update some or all of the content.