It can be a daunting task setting up a website and to have one that looks professionally done can be a problem if you intend to do it yourself but have limited experience with using a graphics software program.
This is why the use of web templates is popular and many server hosting companies such as serverspace.co.uk offer web templates in conjunction with the different hosting accounts available.
Some will be free and others you will have to pay a nominal price. For those wanting a full e-commerce web template expect to pay a few hundred dollars as the designer will have had to add in a lot more functionality into the template.
You could always get a design custom made just for your website but you will be paying considerably more as full time web designers tend to charge by the hour or have set prices for each element thats added. I mentioned that your server hosting company may have a good range of templates to choose from but you can also find tons of other web templates online.
E-commerce web templates use complex navigations so the end user can search for the various products on your website. These types of pages are called dynamic pages as they tap into database information to retrieve whatever search query the visitor is looking for. However, what isn't usually included in an e-commerce web template is a full shopping cart system where payments can be processed.
When you buy a good e-commerce web template you are in effect buying a visual framework. There will be a place to add in a shopping cart system and various other functions but you will have to intergrate them into the web template yourself. Server hosting companies usually have at least one shopping cart system you can use but there are a number of other shopping cart systems available which may fit your needs better.
There are also companies who offer their own platform as a means of selling goods so you don't have to worry about web templates or separate shopping cart systems. Ebay shops is a great example of one such system. Other companies sell all in one solutions which can be a great help but the only drawback is that you are limited to the options they provide. If they have a huge number of web templates to choose from this may not be a problem but they may not have all the functionality you need.
Whichever way you decide to go it's important to make sure that the shopping cart offers everything that's important to running your website properly.
You're going to want a shopping cart which works accepts various payment options and one that also handles a large number of products and categories. You may not need them right now but if you want to grow in the future by offering more to your customers this is going to become a pretty important factor.
Other nice touches include having an email automatically sent to the customer after purchase and emails set up to contact your customers on a periodic basis. You should also look at monthly transaction charges, per transaction fees, setup fees and how it splits up the tax element.
All this is important so if you find that your web template isn't compatible with the shopping cart you desire you will have to either continue searching for another web template or have no choice but to have one custom made. Hopefully it will be the former with a little tweaking at the end.
If you have any doubts about which way to go you can always speak with your server hosting company as they should be able to advise you fully on what is likely to be the best option for you. Full support is a part of your hosting benefits so you may as well make full use of it.