Best Website Template Services

We've rounded up six of the best website template services

Best website template services

If you'd like to create a website, there's the option to get one up and running cheaply and quickly using a website template service. But which do you choose and what's available? We look at six options with prices starting from £25 per year.

Clickpic From £40 
per year

Clickpic offers four subscription packages, including Standard, Intermediate, Professional and Super-pro. The standard option costs £40 a year and entitles you to upload a maximum of 175 images. There's a 14-day trial to try out and after spending a few minutes signing up you'll be guided to a quick-start video.

The interface is broken down into four categories with sub menus listed on the left. In total there are 16 styles to choose from, with various layouts and background colours available. Our favourite was the spanning style, which fills the homepage with a landscape image for a modern, minimalist look. JPEG images are quick to upload provided they're set to 72dpi, and there's a bulk upload facility to add more than one image at a time.

Navigation can seem slightly daunting for beginners as there is a lot of text and it has a dated, table-like design. Help icons offer explanations of each setting and the preview link lets you view the site to see how it's progressing. For £40 a year, it offers all you need to get up and running, but could be made more intuitive to navigate.

Free trial available: Yes (14-day trial)
Image Watermark support: Yes
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/Storage Space Standard: 175 images, 
Professional: 1,500 images

www.clikpic.com

Photo Deck From £78 per year

Photodeck has three website template pricing plans - Lite, Pro and Studio. The Lite package costs £78 per year and for this you get up to 10GB of storage space and images up to the size of 100MB can be uploaded. After signing up to the 14-day free trial, you're instantly taken to a video that takes a tour of the interface. The layout is bright, clear and easy to navigate.

A link at the top right offers a live preview of the site as it's created and any  additional custom pages are made from beneath the "My Website" heading. A custom slideshow can be built into the homepage, which is a nice touch if you'd like to display more than a single image. In terms of design, there are 14 base themes, with many options to take control of fonts and background colours.

We opted for the unobtrusive Europe theme and thanks to the speedy multi-image upload feature, it didn't take long to produce a clean, uncluttered website. The layout and design combine together well to make it an intuitive interface to use but you will end up paying a little bit more than the others.

Free trial available: Yes (14-day trial)
Image Watermark support: Yes
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/storage Lite: 10GB,
Professional, 40GB, Studio: 60GB

www.photodeck.com

ViewBook From £30 per year

When you visit Viewbook you'll be greeted by three package options: Basic, Standard and Pro. There's the option to try out any website package for as long as 30 days - one of the longest trial periods offered. We opted to test the basic package that allows users to upload 1,000 high-res images for £30 a year.

Regrettably, there's no intro video, meaning you have to experiment to find out how the interface is used. Thankfully, it's quick to learn and an unlimited number of albums can be created. Setting up a homepage is fast and it's also quick to customise the title, thumbnails and footer. Thumbnails within each image album can be aligned at the top, bottom, left or right, and the colour picker lets you choose from pastel colours or bolder block colours.

As we found out when creating our own website, it doesn't offer the same variety of styles as some of the other website template services. That said, it's ideal if you're looking to produce a clean and uncomplicated website to display your work professionally at a price that won't break the bank.

Free trial available: Yes (30-day trial)
Image Watermark support: No
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/storage Basic: 1,000 images,
Standard: 2,500 images, Pro: 5,000 images

www.viewbook.com

Zenfolio From £25 per year

Zenfolio's 14-day subscription trial is for the fully functional Premium package that costs £100 per year. If your budget can't stretch to this, there are also Basic and Unlimited website template plans available, costing £25 and £50 respectively. Opt for the Basic plan and you're given 4GB of storage, plus an additional 2GB per year.

The maximum file size you can upload is limited to 36MB, with the option to create slideshows if you wish. Signing up takes seconds and you'll be greeted by a video that runs through the best practice for creating a site. Images can be dragged and dropped into the image uploader, or alternatively there's a plug-in you can download, which allows you to batch upload straight from Lightroom.

There are 11 layouts and 32 page themes to choose from. The thumbnail filmstrip helps display more than one image on a homepage, and a search bar lets visitors search the site using keywords. The social media export options will also be extremely useful for those who want to save time and effort publishing images directly to Facebook or Flickr.

Free trial available: Yes (14-day trial)
Image Watermark support: Premium package only
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/storage: 4GB of storage & 2GB/year

www.zenfolio.com

Smugmug From £25 per year

Smugmug provides four pricing plans for website templates - Basic, Power, Portfolio and Business. Prices start at £25 a year and for this you're given unlimited uploads, a choice of more than 70 themes and the option to create custom slideshows.

The maximum image size is limited to 50MB, and after signing up, you'll be instantly directed to a quick start video. Photos can be dragged and dropped into the multi-image uploader and after opting for the grey stripe theme, we used the easy customizer to change our fonts very quickly. The visitor and owner view buttons are useful for previewing how your website will look and there's also the option to display image galleries in four different ways.

If you'd like to keep albums private you can assign a password to them, and much like Zenfolio, it's possible  to share images directly to social media channels, including  Twitter and Facebook. Although it offers a good selection of themes and advanced settings, it's not the easiest website service to navigate. Thumbnail previews would also be a useful addition before commiting to a theme.

Free trial available: Yes (14-day trial)
Image Watermark support: Portfolio and Business package only
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/storage: Unlimited

www.smugmug.com

Amazing Internet From £60 per year

Amazing Internet's portfolio series of website templates are split into three levels of service. Bronze is the most affordable website template package and costs £60 a year. For this you'll get the option to add gallery slideshows, upload 50 images and add a contact form to make it easy for visitors to get in touch. After signing up to a 30-day trial period, you're given a choice of ten website template styles, 18 template colours and six gallery layouts.

Sadly, there's no video to give you an idea of how to create a site, meaning you're left to work it out alone. Setting up galleries on this website template service is fairly fast; however, every image has to be reduced in size to meet strict pixel requirements. There's no multi-image upload facility either so you have no choice but to upload shots one-by-one, which is a very slow process.

The website homepage image requires a specific crop for it to upload successfully and though there are options to add Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin links to the site, the interface isn't as well arranged as others. For the number of images it allows you to upload for the price, there are better website template services.

Free trial available: Yes (30-day trial)
Image Watermark support: No
Contact Form support: Yes
Images/storage: Bronze 50 images,
Silver 100 images, Gold 500 images

www.amazinginternet.com

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