Using website templates for your website layout might be frowned on by proper web designers and developers, but if you need a good-looking site and don't have the necessary skills to craft your own HTML, you'll find there are plenty of decent examples out there, crafted by some truly smart designers.
To illustrate the point, we've rounded up some good options that might open your eyes to the possibilities that templates have to offer – at least when they're created by people who know what they're doing.
These web templates are designed for Bootstrap, HTML5, Adobe Muse, WordPress, Tumblr, Jekyll, Perch, SASS, Statamic and Ghost. At a range of price points (including some for free), there should be a template here that's ideal for your website.
01. Wunderkind (Bootstrap)
Ultra smooth and sleek with a clean, modern layout that's extremely easy to customise, Wunderkind is a multipurpose template that's a great way to make your brand shine. It features fullscreen touch-friendly sliders, video backgrounds and smooth, performant parallax, as well as plenty of gallery options. It costs $19, is based on the latest Bootstrap and is designed to be developer-friendly.
02. TheNa (WordPress)
Horizontally-scrolling sites are always a good way to make people pay attention to your site, and TheNa's a fantastic template to try if this a style you want to play with. It comes with three portfolio template styles with lots of customisation options, plus two styles of blog template and a shortcode template with 18 modules for building other types of pages. It costs $42.
03. Benri (WordPress)
Benri's WordPress theme is well worth checking out. It'll cost you $47, but it comes with $91-worth of premium plugins that'll help you quickly build the site of your dreams. It's a multi-purpose responsive theme that comes with Visual Composer, Ultimate VC, LayerSlider and more besides, and if you need to get up and running quickly it features a huge collection of ready made demo sites that you can install with a single click.
04. Tersus (Muse)
For a great way to create elegant and professional portfolios, take a look at Tersus for Adobe Muse CC (get Creative Cloud here). For just $25 you get a collection of 14 ready-made high quality responsive template designs, many of them with must-have features such as parallax scrolling, full-screen video and dynamic slideshows. There are hundreds of fonts to choose from through Typekit, as well as integration with Wow.js and Animate.css for creating smooth reveal animations.
05. Rhythm (HTML5)
Rhythm is a fully responsive template form single- and multi-page sites, and at just $17 it gives you plenty of features and choice for your money. This Bootstrap-powered HTML5 template features over 50 pre-built demo sites to work with, plus over 40 portfolio pages, with easy-to-customise backgrounds, colour schemes and content as well as parallax sections and deliciously smooth animation.
06. Composer (WordPress)
Composer's not exactly cheap at $59, but you'll get a lot of use out of it. It spoils you for choice from the off, with over 70 ready-made demo sites for you to go to work with, covering just about every web design possibility, and it makes it easy to create your own layouts from scratch.
It features ultra-responsive layouts and WooCommerce integration, comes complete with some free premium plugins, and the developers are always keen to receive suggestions for new designs and features.
07. Flaunt (Muse)
If you're keen on cool hover effects but you're using Adobe Muse and finding it a little difficult to implement them, Flaunt may be the answer to your problems. As well as being a simple and fully responsive template, it bypasses Muse's hover effect restrictions with some custom CSS.
With over 50 slick hover effects for both images and text to choose from, you'll be able to create stand-out Muse sites without difficulty, and at just $16 Flaunt is a bargain buy, too.
08. Definity (Bootstrap)
A multipurpose single and multi-page template by Ocarine Themes, Definity is built on Bootstrap 3 and comes crammed with stuff.
It's 100 per cent responsive with cool features such as video backgrounds, hover effects and parallax scrolling, and its modular design makes it easy to move sections of your pages around until you've nailed your layout. Priced at just $29, Definity features multiple website templates and shop layouts.
09. Enfold (WordPress)
Designed to be the most user-friendly WordPress theme ever made, Enfold is a versatile and fully responsive theme suitable for business sites, online stores (with WooCommerce support) and portfolios.
Its drag and drop template builder is just the thing for creating your own layout, but it also comes with a stack of ready-made demos to inspire you. The regular licence will cost you $59, which includes future updates and six months' support.
10. Porto (HTML5)
The basic HTML5 version of Porto will cost you just $16 and features a stack of homepage styles as well as unlimited header layouts and a style switcher that enables you to customise your site on the fly.
It's also available in WordPress, Drupal and Magento flavours, with an additional admin version so you can manage your site much more effectively with a swish dashboard and all the widgets and charts you can eat.
11. Maple (WordPress)
There are six reasons you'll love Maple, say its developers: its bold and unique design; the fact that it's responsive and retina-ready; the way that it features light and dark styles; its parallax header backgrounds; its multi sidebar support; and how super-easy to use it is.
With 15 layout combinations plus plenty of features and widgets, at $49 it gives you your money's worth.
12. BeTheme (HTML5)
Why settle for one theme when you can have over 210? Described as the most complete, comprehensive and flexible HTML template for business or personal websites, BeTheme is simply crammed with stuff.
Fully responsive and retina-ready, with all the parallax and smooth scrolling features you'd expect, it's an absolute monster and the biggest headache it'll cause you is trying to choose from the enormous selection of pre-built sites. For $18 you can't go wrong.
13. NOHO (Muse)
Designed with creative professionals in mind, NOHO is built to be easy to edit in Adobe Muse, enabling you to get your agency site or portfolio up and running in record time.
Its templates come in desktop, tablet and mobile flavours and in multiple layouts, and you'll find ample features such as image sliders, parallax scrolling and CSS rollover effects. The results are clean and eye-catching, and it's yours for just $22.
14. Jupiter (WordPress)
Jupiter confidently describes itself as the world's fastest and lightest WordPress theme ever, and its latest version been completely reviewed and rewritten to deliver lightning-fast pages that won't thrash your CPU or drain your batter.
It uses GPU rendering to deliver smooth parallax scrolling, it features adaptive image resolution to ensure that pictures look great regardless of devices, and it comes with over 85 templates in case you don't have time to build your own pages with its drag and drop interface. It's not cheap at $59, but the results are worth it.
15. Summer (Ghost)
Developer PXThemes specialises in Ghost template and themes, and Summer is one of its most popular offerings.
For $19 you get a simple and clean template with plenty of options to help your content stand out, including author pages and full screen covers, parallax blog background covers, and Foundation 5 and Disqus integration.
16. Type & Grids (HTML5/Statamic)
Jeremiah Shoaf's seemingly on a mission to free people from complex content management systems, so Type & Grids embraces the notion of the flat-file CMS.
The portfolio and marketing templates are extremely fast, boast a number of variations, and have some very smart typography. They'll work as-is, entirely for free, but Shoaf offers various tiers for pro use, and adds that Type & Grids works nicely with Statamic.
17. Ness (WordPress)
A lot of modern themes concentrate on stark minimalism and type, but Ness is far more interested in imagery, aiming for people wanting to rapidly get a photo blog or magazine up and running.
Priced at $39, it's Retina-ready and mobile-friendly, and in use feels like high-end photo journal app such as Storehouse.
18. Bootstrap (HTML5)
"Um, hello?", you might be saying, given that Bootstrap's really a framework rather than a template. This is true, but as the examples section showcases, even the Bootstrap defaults look pretty good if you've a design idea in mind that utilises a lot of rich imagery and backgrounds.
It's just a few tweaks from a beautiful minimal creation – and that's even faster if you peruse Bootswatch's free themes.
Next: more top-class website templates