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Let’s be honest: designing an effective website isn’t easy. Even if you’re a professional, the process can be time-consuming and complicated. Fortunately, templates can help speed up WordPress development. By using Beaver Builder on your WordPress sites, you can create unique and powerful pages in record time.
In this article, we’ll look at why you might want to use templates for your next project. We’ll also introduce you to our site-building tools and their main features. Finally, we’ll show you how to leverage templates for a faster building process in five steps. Let’s go!
Why You Might Want to Consider Using Templates
WordPress is famously user-friendly. Editing content is fairly straightforward, and you can personalize nearly every inch of your site. However, this process can still be a lengthy one. Hours spent on tasks like writing your own code and navigating the expansive WordPress file library can start to add up.
Even if you’re a veteran web designer, these steps can be very time-consuming. This may limit how many clients you can take on and affect your profits.
Fortunately, templates that combine layout and style can speed up the design process by giving you guidelines. There’s no need to recode the same page over and over to achieve a uniform look and feel – you can simply create and use a template instead.
Additionally, these templates can standardize important website requirements. For example, most clients appreciate a fast, mobile-friendly site. Using a template can ensure that these features are included every time.
Furthermore, templates can be used to create a stylistic signature. Potential customers will see that there is a consistent style and level of quality to your work that sets it apart from more generic competition.
However, this doesn’t mean that all templates look the same. Template tools can be extremely flexible. You can customize the appearance of each one to fit your client’s exact needs. Therefore, beginners and pros alike can benefit from a well-made template.
An Introduction to Beaver Builder
You’ll probably find that using templates is easier if they’re streamlined into your building process. Fortunately, our tools do exactly that. For a more efficient workflow, consider using our advanced site-building tool, Beaver Builder:
Beaver Builder helps you streamline your web design skills. It comes with over 30 full-page layout templates, and over 30 layout templates for specific types of content:
The layout templates include designs for both full pages and specific content areas. Additionally, there are one hundred prebuilt rows for various types of content.
You can use any of these templates in any Beaver Builder layout. You can modify them however you like, and as you can see from the screenshot above, you can save your own custom layout templates.
The Beaver Builder front-end drag-and-drop editor provides an intuitive experience for beginners, but at the same time developer-friendly features let you access advanced functionality. Beaver Builder is flexible enough to help you create virtually any site. Thus, you can use a single tool for all your clients, and you have total freedom over how much or how little you want to use Beaver Builder templates.
How to Design Your WordPress Site Faster Using Templates (In 5 Steps)
Before you begin this walkthrough, make sure to install and activate Beaver Builder.
Step 1: Select a WordPress Theme
First, you’ll need a general WordPress theme. There are a few ways to go about finding a useful ‘starter’ theme. For example, you might already have a theme in mind, depending on your client’s niche. Your client may have also requested a certain theme. Beaver Builder also has a premium theme that integrates with all of its other products.
Alternatively, you may use your go-to theme. If you’re already familiar with how it works, this can be a smart way to speed up the design process. There are a few themes that aren’t compatible with Beaver Builder; you can find a list here.
If you don’t have a particular preference, the Astra theme is a good choice:
Astra has a variety of valuable features. Most notably, it was developed with page builders like Beaver Builder in mind. This means you can effortlessly customize it on a per-page basis. As such, you’ll have complete design freedom.
Additionally, Astra is an incredibly fast theme. Its code is lightweight and free of extras that could slow it down. This can give you more options for adding third-party programs such as plugins that might decrease your load times.
As for pricing, you have two options: Astra and Astra Pro. The main difference between the two is the number of additional site layouts you’ll be able to access. However, both tiers are powerful options. After you’ve chosen your theme, don’t forget to install and activate it.
Step 2: Create a New Layout Template in Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder layout templates can be used in the content area of pages and posts. If you already have a layout on a page or post, you can save it as a layout template from within the Beaver Builder editor.
Here, we’ll show you how to create and build a new layout template. Start by going to Beaver Builder > Templates > Add New:
Enter the title for your template. We recommend that you start with a specific type of page in mind, such as a landing page. This can help you focus on the specific template features you want to include.
Under Type, make sure you’ve chosen Template. Then, click on Add Saved Template. On the next screen, select Launch Beaver Builder. You should see a screen similar to this one:
Here you have two options: add and modify a prebuilt Beaver Builder layout template or start a layout from scratch. Let’s start with an existing layout template.
In the right-hand menu, select Templates. Then choose which types you want to view under Group. We chose Content Pages:
Scroll through until you find a design you want to use, and click to add it to the layout. You can then change the layout however you like.
If you prefer to start without an existing layout template, you can simply move on to the next step and build your own layout from scratch.
Step 3: Add Rows and Columns
For this step, you’ll add structure to your template by dragging and dropping in rows and columns. The flexibility of Beaver Builder means you’ll have a lot of freedom to lay out your page just the way you want.
In the right-hand menu, go to Rows > Columns. This shows you a variety of column configurations you can add within your rows. Drag one of the column configurations into your layout:
As you can see, at this point your template has a skeleton layout. You can save this template anywhere along the way, depending on how you plan to use it. See Step five to save the template and use it in layouts.
From here, you can customize each row and column. For instance, you can change the background color, dimensions, and borders:
Instead of building from scratch, you can take advantage of prebuilt rows, which come with row styling and content that you can modify. In the Content panel, navigate to Rows > Prebuilt Rows:
This opens a menu of specific designs, such as those for a Call to Action or Testimonials. Select your preferred category to access the list of saved rows and drag one into your layout:
Step 4: Add Modules
Now that you’ve created a basic structure, you can start adding modules. Modules provide different functionality depending on their type. If you want an overview of the available content modules before you begin, check out this ultimate guide to Beaver Builder modules.
To add modules, open the Content panel by clicking the Plus icon in the upper-right corner. In the Modules tab, there are three Group options:
- Standard Modules: This is the main group of Beaver Builder modules that you’ll use to add content.
- WordPress Widgets: These modules let you add WordPress widgets to any Beaver Builder layout, anywhere on your page. This gives you much more flexibility in your use of widgets.
- Saved Modules: This group contains any custom modules that you previously saved.
Choose the module that suits the type of content you want to add, then drag and drop it into your layout.
Next, click on your new module to open its settings. For example, here’s what the Photo module settings look like:
The General tab lets you choose the photo, and some basic layout options for how the image and caption will be displayed and how the link will behave. In the Style tab, you can crop the photo, set the alignment and image width, and add a border (including rounding the corners of the photo and adding a drop shadow).
The layout and style settings differ according to the needs of each type of module. The Advanced tab is common to all modules. It has settings for margins and padding, when and on what device sizes the module is displayed, and advanced settings to control HTML output.
Besides saving the entire page as a layout template, you can also save individual rows, columns, or modules to reuse in other layouts. From the Settings panel, click on Save as. Add a name for the saved item, and select Save. If you select the Global option, you can edit the item in one location, and the change will be reflected everywhere else that item exists.
Step 5: Save and use your custom layout template
When you’re happy with your WordPress template, save your work by clicking on Done, and then Publish in the upper-right corner.
Your template is now available to add to a page. You can view it by creating a new page or editing an existing one. Whichever option you choose, be sure to launch Beaver Builder instead of the default editor.
In the Beaver Builder editor, open the Content panel and select Templates > Saved Templates to view the one you’ve just created:
From there, click to insert your layout wherever you like. You’ll see your template layout with all of the rows, columns, modules, and settings for layout and style that you built into it.
For example, you may remember that our sample layout included an image of our logo. When we add the template to our new page, we see exactly the same thing:
Note that layout templates offer users a starting point and suggest standard settings, but they don’t require that users adhere to the template. After a layout template is applied to a page, you can always edit the layout, style, and content as much as you want. Your original template stays the same, so don’t worry about altering the one on your current page.
If you want to create a new template after you’ve made some changes, you can simply open the Tools menu and click on Templates to save the new layout. Thus, you can continue to develop your personal template library even as you’re preparing for a unique website launch. You can easily manage your templates from the WordPress dashboard under Beaver Builder > Templates.
Designing a website can be a tricky process. When you’re building one for clients, an efficient approach can have a direct impact on your income. Fortunately, Beaver Builder makes it easy to create and use custom layout templates to speed up your development.
In this article, we covered five steps to help you leverage WordPress templates to your advantage:
- Choose a WordPress theme to start with.
- Create a new template.
- Add rows and columns to provide structure.
- Include modules to extend functionality.
- Save your work and apply the template to new pages.
Whether you’re new to building WordPress sites or a seasoned expert, everyone needs some help from time to time. If you run into trouble using templates (or doing anything else on your site), we’re there for you. Check out our 24/7 WordPress maintenance and support services!