Choosing which template to use on your WordPress website

page attributesOut-of-the-box WordPress themes usually come with 2-3 template options. Generally, the Default Template, Full Width Template and, in some cases, the Home Page Template. You choose your template under Page Attributes to the right of the main Editor window.

Default Template

The Default Template usually comes with a sidebar, often times on the right hand side. The same sidebar is used in the blog archive of your website so it would therefore make sense to use this template on pages where you want to provide your visitors with easy access to your blog articles.

If you don’t have a blog, then this template could be used on any pages where you want to provide additional information, extra navigation, advertising or sign-up form. Everything that is placed in the widgets contained in the sidebar will be the same on any page that uses the Default Template.

Full Width Template

The Full Width Template is used to provide distraction-free reading to your visitors, so you’ll often see the same layout for individual blog posts. On the contact page, for instance, your potential clients are ready to contact you to book your services or make a purchase, so you may want to minimize other distractions that could lead them out of the page. It therefore makes sense to use the full width template on this page.

The Full Width Template is also ideal for “Sales” or “Landing” pages, where you want potential clients to stay focused on a specific offering. Additional content in the sidebar may entice them away from the page before they reach your call to action.

The Home Page Template (or Front Page Template) is used for the home page of your website and usually contains additional features such as featured slider or gallery slider, featured text with call to action, column widgets, and recent blog posts. Often all these features replace any content added in the page editor, so be sure not to include anything in the editor you need visitors to see.

Custom Page Templates

If you purchased a premium WordPress theme you will often find various other custom templates to use specifically with other features such as blog roll, links, log-in, gallery, and portfolio. These extra templates can be used wherever you want to include the corresponding feature and may be edited accordingly.

If you installed a theme or plugin that serve a specific purpose such as a scheduler, online store or directory, there will be templates specific to those features, such as calendar, listing, shopping-cart and check out. Depending on how the templates have been set-up, any edits you make to a page using them, may or may not be visible. Often, the template contains short code that must not be removed or the page will break (i.e. you will not see the intended feature). It is therefore advisable not to edit these pages unless you know what you are doing.

WordPress Customization with Custom Page Templates

If you don’t find an out-of-the-box or premium WordPress theme with templates that suit your exact needs, you can have it customized with all manner of extra custom templates, such as an About Template, Services Template, Products Template, and/or FAQ Template. Each template could contain its own sidebar(s) as well as other widget areas above or below your main content, in the header or in the footer. This allows you to include features relevant to a specific section of your website only just by choosing the corresponding template.

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