Choosing PSD Website Templates: Our Tips
Struggling to choose a suitable PSD template for your website? Follow our tips.
In this post, we’ve collected the main criteria to guide you in your search for a PSD website template. There are lots of things to keep in mind, from business niche to layout and provider. We also touch upon the main ways to convert a PSD file into an HTML template. Hopefully, this information will help you save time.
It’s true that websites differ in their functions. Some are made simply for exchanging data inside an organization. They don’t have to look like they are vying for the title of best-designed site. It’s a different matter with publicly exposed resources such as online stores. Layout, navigation structure, and visual appeal are paramount for them.
An attractive look is not the only aspect that’s important for a website selling products/services or promoting a business. Keeping it in line with your brand style matters no less, or even more so.
This is similar to your own fashion style. Are people used to you wearing vintage clothes? Casual? Artsy? Your style of dress makes you unique and recognizable. In a similar way, your website should mirror your brand style to help you stand out from the pack.
Another common approach is to find a free or paid PSD website template offered by multiple providers and tweak it to your taste and needs (replace images with your own, change colors, and so on). While this takes less effort and time, it also creates a problem: how to identify the template that would best fit you?
No worries. To help you make the right decision, below you will find some tips on choosing website templates. First, though, let’s take a look at what a PSD website template is to clear all the fog away.
A PSD Website Template — What Is It?
A PSD website template is a visual representation of a site made in Photoshop graphics editing software and saved in the .psd format. What makes a template created in this way different from common image files, such as .png or .jpeg, is the original layered structure of the template along with “embellishments” like filters or masks. In contrast, a .jpeg or .png image has all these different layers pressed together into a single one.
Why is a PSD website template so handy? This is because you can quickly and easily edit it for your specific needs. For example, you can find the layer that contains a dummy logo and put in your own instead.
Even more importantly, a PSD website template makes the work of those who are going to convert it to HTML much more pleasant. The structure and all the components are clearly visible. A markup developer simply takes the necessary assets from the PSD file and places them in their HTML/CSS code.
Now that you know what a PSD website template is, we’d like to offer you some tips on choosing one for your website or online store.
Choosing PSD Web Templates: Our Tips
We are going to apply the top-to-bottom approach in our overview of the main template selection criteria. Thus, we have divided it into two sections: General and Technicalities.
Look for a PSD Website Template That Will Allow You to Make as Few Tweaks as Possible
The first thing you should consider is what you’re going to build. Is it a simple blog? A corporate website? An image gallery to showcase your photo masterpieces? How many pages do you want it to have? Once you’ve replied to these questions, do these two things:
- Search for similar sites on the Internet. Make notes about their layout and design.
- Based on your review, take a sheet of paper and draw a sketch of your own future website.
These steps are important because the fewer tweaks you make to a PSD website template, the more time and money you save. Look for a template that closely matches the design you’ve come up with.
Approach Free PSD Website Templates with Caution
The number and variety of PSD templates available on the market these days is astounding. All of them, though, fall into two broad categories: free and paid. Which of these you choose certainly depends on the depth of your pockets. Still, we recommend approaching free PSD website templates with care.
This is not to say that their quality is below par. They may look pleasant to the eye and be easy to modify, just like premium ones, however, this is not always the case. Some free templates have been built by beginning designers who know little about user experience.
UX design is of utmost importance, especially when it comes to online stores. This may not be obvious in a PSD web template, but it becomes so as soon as a markup developer converts this PSD template to HTML. Poor graphics can be another cause for concern.
Paid PSD website templates are mostly devoid of these shortcomings. They are crafted by expert design teams who apply their knowledge of human psychology to building user interfaces. In addition, they follow the essential design principles such as finding optimal color schemes and maintaining content hierarchies.
Make Sure You Get a Web Template from a Respectable Vendor
Whether a PSD website template is free or premium, do some research on the vendor. Visit their site. Look for answers to the following questions:
- How long have they been providing their services?
- How many PSD website templates have they made?
- Do they offer customer support, and for how long?
You never know what may happen down the line. There can be bugs or inconsistencies in the design. If it’s a premium template and you have no way to complain to the provider, consider it a waste of money. The table below lists 4 popular providers of PSD website templates.
|Provider||Number of Templates||Free Templates Available?|
When you’ve chosen a decent provider, decided on the free or premium option, and visualized your perfect design, the search for a PSD web template can begin in earnest. You can start from the sites listed in the table above or just Google. Apart from the aspects mentioned in the General section, you should also take into account the following technical details.
Does a PSD Website Template Stretch from One Side of the Browser Window to the Other, or Does It Have Offsets to the Left and Right?
If you review a few websites on the Internet, you should notice that they differ in how they fill the browser window. Some may stretch the entire length from left to right. Others may have a margin between the content area and the edge of the browser window on both sides.
A reasonable question is, “What does this depend on?” The answer: mostly on the function of a website. If you’re…
- a musician promoting your next world tour
- a graphic designer presenting your work
- a landscape architect who wants to showcase the beauty of your latest natural design
- another professional from the “creative class”
…you should probably consider PSD web templates that take up the entire length of the window. This style is good for websites with a lot of high-quality visuals. Is this your case?
On the other hand, if your goal is to establish an online presence for your company and attract as many visitors as possible, go for PSD web templates with a margin. People who access websites like these from various devices (desktops, tablets, laptops, etc.) enjoy nearly the same user experience.
That being said, there are no hard-and-fast rules dictating that you should favor one style over the other. Just keep this information in mind.
What Will the Top of Your Home Page Look Like?
What is displayed at the top of a PSD website template is crucial. This is because as soon as visitors land on your home page, they tend to look at its uppermost portion. There are several design options that PSD website template creators apply to this part of the site.
The table below lists these, along with the most common scenarios for their use. Choose the one that fits your business type. Selecting a style for the top portion of your website is related more to business than to user experience or aesthetics.
|Header with a background video||Header with a static image||Header with a static image and text on top||Header with a slideshow|
|Good for small businesses that want to engage audiences and clearly explain their mission||Works well for businesses that rely on visuals (hotels, restaurants, etc.)||Any business that wants to give additional details about its mission||Works well for businesses that target different customer groups or sell multiple products/services|
Make Sure the Navbar Meets the Essential UX Design Requirements
The navbar in a template is a good test for quality. If visitors find it hard to move around a website due to a clunky, inconvenient navbar, its designer gets a big F. While it’s not always clear from the get-go, once a markup developer converts a PSD template to HTML, the extent of the problem becomes visible.
There are lots of criteria a good navbar should meet, including the following:
- Only the pages that matter from a business perspective should have corresponding tabs in the navbar. The rest should be tucked away into submenus.
- The number of main menu items should be limited to just a few.
- The colors of navbar elements should be neutral so that visitors could easily find the tabs they need.
- The tabs should be arranged from most important to least important towards the right.
Another important feature of a well-designed navbar is where within the browser window it is located. The table below lists the most common ways of placing the navbar within PSD website templates along with explanations when this or that option is preferable.
|Fixed (vertically or horizontally)||Top, disappears on scrolling down||Side||Bottom|
|Works best for websites with a large amount of content||Classic, used on multiple websites||Good for websites with lots of visuals and long menu items||Works best for websites with lots of visuals whose owners want visitors to focus on the main content immediately|
These are only some basic guidelines you should follow when choosing a PSD website template. Selecting a good PSD template, though, is only the beginning. You should also find an expert markup developer to convert this PSD file to an HTML template.
Alternatively, you can use an automated converter. However, we strongly discourage you from following this path. Read one of our recent blog posts to learn why an automatic PSD to HTML conversion tool will not replace a markup developer anytime soon.
If choosing a PSD website template still seems a daunting task, the experienced front-end developers at PSD2HTML will help you select one. We also convert PSD website templates (or templates in any other file format) into flawless HTML templates and design custom PSD web templates.
Just give us your idea and get back an immaculately looking website with excellent user experience tailored to your unique business needs. Chat with us, write to us, or phone us. We are always happy to help!