Building a Web Site: Choose Your Template
While you can build your own web site from scratch, if you're trying
to get a site up quick and easily, it's best to start with
a web template. The time that you save is well worth the money - once
you have your initial site up, you can focus on learning more if you
want to design your own site from scratch.
There are several sources for web site templates. These are the ones
that we are affiliated with:
- FrontPage templates, HTML templates and Custom Web Design.
www.pixelmill.com - Tons of templates for FrontPage, and a
growing selection of HTML templates that can be used in any web
www.vividoffice.com - A narrower collection of FrontPage
templates, as well as HTML templates and templates specifically for
- www.classythemes.com -
Another great collection of FrontPage templates and HTML templates
and some great add-on's.
- This site showcases mainly FrontPage templates, but we have HTML
and Dreamweaver templates available at both of the stores above.
What should I look for?
There are so many varieties of templates that it's really just going
to come down to your preference! But here are some things that may help:
- Look back at your
three questions. What's your purpose, your audience, and the
type of technology your audience will have? You may immediately rule
out some things like Flash animations or graphic-intensive templates
if connection speed is a concern. You may also look for templates
that already have the kind of imagery that you're looking for (for
example, African-American women).
- Do you have a color scheme and/or logo? If you already
have a logo designed, you may want to look for a template that
already has the same color scheme, or look for a template that has
colors that you can easily change (like one that uses CSS)
- What shape is your logo? Some templates easily fit any
shape of logo, others are more specific. If you have questions about
a particular template,
- None of the images fitting your needs? If you have a
couple of layouts that you like, but the imagery doesn't exactly fit
your needs, don't worry. Most template designers are willing to help
you get your own imagery into the template. If you're a
do-it-yourself kind of person, look for templates with "rectangular"
imagery - pictures that are contained in rectangles that you can
easily delete and replace with your own imagery. If the image is
more "integrated" into the design (such as in a curve or with a
layered effect), you may have to pay custom work fees for the
designer to change the image for you.
- How many pages will you have? If you think you'll have a
lot of "main" pages, you may want to go with a layout that has
vertical navigation as the primary navigation bar. (Horizontal
navigation bars are limited - too many, and the screen may be too
Before purchasing your template, it's always good to ask questions
about it! Never assume anything. You may be able to download a free or
"test" template from the provider to get an idea of how the template
Note about ecommerce:
Many templates come with a page (or a few pages) with "sample"
catalog page layouts. In most cases, the templates come with layout
only and do not provide any shopping cart capability. You have the
responsibility of creating a shopping cart, or of finding a third-party
to help you create a shopping cart. See our section on
ecommerce to learn more.
Don't want to use a template?
Be aware that you'll have to spend a lot more time learning how to
design a web site. If you're using a web editor, we suggest that you
check out their product support or help area to learn how to use the web
editor to create web sites. If you're coding by hand, you'll have to 1)
learn HTML, 2) learn how to make your own graphics, and 3) learn how to
put it together. Either way, you'll also have to become familiar with
different browser issues. The nice thing about starting with a template
is that the designer has already dealt with most of these issues!
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