Choosing the right look for your website can be tricky, but if you have the freedom to make a decision don't rush into it. Instead take advantage of the many web templates and design resources that can be found online to help you make an informed decision.
Great Template Resources
Hiring a web designer can be an expensive business, so unless you know a thing or two about white space, browser compatibility and usability it is best to leave it to the experts. However, you don’t actually have to spend any money when finding a great template for you website – there are plenty of people who create them as a hobby and give them away free!
Whether you’re looking for minimalist templates, or something that would suit the website of a boutique there is plenty of choice.
Whichever you choose, don’t forget that as well as acting as an introduction to your business or service, a website should have a great “About" page to let visitors know exactly who you are and what you offer. These are occasionally ignored in standard templates, but there are plenty of ways around this.
Graphic Design Elements
Building a website is more than just providing content and an overall design, but these are two key aspects that need addressing early on. If you choose a professional design over mass-produced cookie cutter solutions then most of what follows should be dealt with by the designer you hire.
After all, there is a whole host of things to consider if you’re choosing a prefabricated template, from creating a banner for your website header to adding other graphics for adverts or simply to illustrate the purpose of your website. Creating a banner is actually a lot easier than you might think, as long as you have access to a useful graphics package such as Photoshop or GIMP.
Additionally, there are plenty of useful resources available that can either put you in the right direction for finding great looking web elements or offer a solution to the problem immediately.
Dreamweaver is one of the most popular tools for web developers and designers for creating and building and implementing stunning website designs. There are various ways in which you can use this application with website templates, from creating them from scratch to sourcing them online and editing them. If you have an existing website the template for this can be edited or enhanced with Dreamweaver, Adobe’s excellent web development tool.
XHTML templates for use in Dreamweaver can be found for free online, and as long as you know the best resources you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for!
HTML and CSS Design Resources
Templates don’t have to be for existing websites. They can be used for smaller sections or even individual components such as CSS, feedback forms or even rollover effects.
While most web designers would evangelize over the advantages of CSS over the table-based web page structure there are still times in which this approach is still used. Indeed, it is still taught by universities and is useful for newcomers to understand the basics of structure in a web page (some forum software also uses tables rather than CSS in order for their users to easily create custom layouts).
Whatever you think about the HTML table layout and CSS, you can gain better understanding of them by checking out resources that explain how they are best employed.
Templates for Bloggers and CMS Systems
The vast majority of websites currently available online are built on one of a small number of popular content management systems (CMS). Joomla, Drupal and WordPress are among these widely used solutions which have become more popular than bespoke solutions in recent years.
As such you might opt to use one of these tools. After all, they’re used by newspapers, popular blogs and media outlets because an easy to use CMS is difficult to mess up, and as these solutions are available free it seems a waste of time to ignore software with an ongoing release schedule in favor of something developed in-house by someone who might leave your organization.
Along with Joomla, Drupal and WordPress, Google’s Blogger is a popular blogging solution. While this cannot be installed on your own hosting, Blogger templates can nevertheless be edited to suit your needs.