With hundreds of free ecommerce templates at your fingertips, it’s easy to find something that will fit your website's needs and match your brand voice. But when it comes to creating a truly unique visual experience for shoppers, customization is key. From color schemes to checkout buttons and page headings, we’ll look at four ways that you can make your free template look like (and hopefully sell) a million bucks.
1. Upload your own logo to the header.
This is the easiest first step to making a free template your own. To determine what size to upload, start by using the highest quality and largest version of your logo that you have on hand. Then, take a screenshot of your storefront and bring both of these elements into PhotoShop. From here, you can adjust the size of the logo over the existing header to see what looks the best, and then resize and upload your logo file accordingly.
2. Customize the colors on the template.
A lot of free templates have a baseline color of either white or black along with colors suited to the design of the template theme. However, to personalize the template more to your brand, you should come up with your own color scheme that will complement your logo and implement it throughout the site.
To start out, view your logo in PhotoShop and create a few squares of colors that appear within your logo. Consider which is the most dominant color and what supporting colors look best with it (whether they appear in your logo or not). Use these colors throughout the template, but keep in mind that less is more. You don't want to overwhelm your customers with a ton of colors, but you can use pops of colors throughout your template to draw their eye to specific areas.
3. Tailor the homepage content to your business.
The homepage is prime real estate for any site. When getting started on this page, think about your company goals, what products sell best, and what message you want to convey to your customers. Then start thinking about the content—which products are most important to include right off the bat, any special offers to highlight, etc. Again, keep in mind that less is more—just make sure you have enough content on the homepage to draw your customers in and get them to your product pages.
4. Pay attention to smaller areas throughout your site.
There are tons of other elements you should be able to customize on any template, like the buttons, page headings, and even category graphics. Making these elements consistently “you” throughout the site will give your business a greater sense of identity and separate it from the “new website from an existing template” impression.
Other great areas to customize include your 404 error page, which will let people know that they’re still on your site even if the page no longer exists (reducing bounce rates), and your order confirmation/thank you page, where you can include social sharing and easy ways to contact you with questions or issues (creating a great last impression).
Free templates are a great and cost-effective way to get your ecommerce site off the ground or looking more modern, but don’t neglect to make a free template your own. Customizing a free template with your logo, custom colors, homepage content, and other elements that showcase your branding throughout the entire site will make your business look more professional, established, and put-together.