Any website owner faces the need to create a visual front-end for their page at some point – without its own distinct style and well-thought-through layout, a website would be virtually unusable and look unprofessional. There is a wide range of options when it comes to this process, here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Buying a ready-made theme (if you’re using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Magento)
  • Writing a theme yourself (requires being able to code in php, css, html and other languages)
  • Create a theme using a visual theme builder

While the first option provides ample customization opportunities if you choose the right theme that is flexible enough, you are still at the theme author’s mercy with respect to providing all necessary elements and layouts to suit your specific needs; moreover, you will need to learn how to use the theme in any case, and it will only be available for a specific content engine, so migrating later would not be possible.

Developing your own theme gives you all the control you can think of, yet requires considerably more time and effort, as well as specialized knowledge in web programming (not even mentioning the fact that in terms of code you will most probably be re-creating what others have already done thousands of times before you).

This is where the third option comes in, in the form of TemplateToaster: using this tool you can create your very own website template in a powerful yet easy to use drag-and-drop style editor, generate a template package and install it on your website. The end product is automatically mobile-friendly (responsive) and compatible with all existing web browsers. TemplateToaster is a downloadable Windows application which allows you to work offline on your local machine.

The TemplateToaster Advantage

The suite offers a plethora of editor tools for building various types of pages and any imaginable layout and visual style. Apart from text and images, there’s an extensive widget library to choose from: sliders, social media, videos, etc. In your designs, you can start from a blank canvas or modify any of the pre-built layouts included in the sample library. All standard website features such as navigation menus are also available inside the builder.

One of the most interesting and unusual capabilities of TemplateToaster is its wide CMS compatibility: using TT, you can save your designs to be installable on any of the following content management systems: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, Magento, and PrestaShop. You can also save your files as plain HTML/CSS, removing the CMS dependency altogether.

Trial and Pricing

TemplateToaster is available to download for free on their official website; the installer is quite large (144 Mb), yet with a decent cable/optical connection it shouldn’t take too long to finish. The trial version allows creating any number of themes and has no time limitations (which is refreshing, given today’s standards of two-four week test periods on most applications).

In order to be able to generate the installable template packages, you will need to upgrade to a paid version, which comes in two flavours: the Standard edition ($49) and the Professional edition, worth ($149). While the prices are above the average level you’d pay for a popular online site builder like Weebly, it is worth noting that the above figures are one-time payments, i.e. you won’t have to incur monthly payments unlike with the former. In this respect, even the Professional edition of TemplateToaster will pay for itself in about a year, still leaving you with the software you originally purchased, yours to use for unlimited time.

The most notable differences between the two editions, i.e. the extra features you get in the Professional edition, are as follows:

  • Possibility to start from scratch instead of editing an existing template
  • Custom positioning for modules and widgets
  • Custom page templates
  • Possibility to use custom images in templates
  • Your own logo with a hyperlink

Since most of the above are quite useful capabilities or are usually considered to be standard parts of any self-respecting website, it’s difficult to imagine many use cases for the Standard TemplateToaster edition – unless you want to test your website first and then upgrade to Professional and finish the work.

Is It Worth Using?

TemplateToaster is a neat hybrid of a CMS template and a website builder – it allows creating unlimited themes to work with most popular content management systems, at the same time offering the power and flexibility of a drag-and-drop interface which completely removes the necessity of editing any code. Cross-platform compatibility gives it an advantage over traditional CMS themes, while fixed pricing makes it a more sensible choice than a site builder with recurring billing.

The reviewed software is suitable for individual website owners of any experience level and especially for freelance web designers who make CMS templates for their clients regularly – for the former, the suite will allow building the website you need, quickly, for the latter – greatly simplify and streamline your client work.

Using TemplateToaster and would like to provide a review? Still have unanswered questions about the product? Let us know in the comments below:

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