Web Template Design Tutorial

This article is the third in a series where we will discuss common myths about shopping for a web site template. We felt that consumers should be aware of what to look for in a quality design that encompasses everything from metas right down to copyright footers. Naturally, we would love for our visitors to purchase our templates, but the long-term goal of this series is to educate consumers about what templates are, what they should provide the end-user, and what to be wary of when shopping.

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Way back in 1994 when we first started designing website templates for our fellow webmasters, we offered both exclusive and non-exclusive designs. In those days when digital dinosaurs still roamed the earth there were not nearly as many web sites online as there are today. The majority of folks online were male computer geeks like myself. Most were not design oriented and had no right brain. Their specialty skill was coding and programming and they did not know the first thing about color analysis, effective web design techniques, etc. Non-exclusive templates sold for an average of $250 each and exclusive meant that the design would only be sold once to one buyer.

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Having been web template designers since 1994, we are often asked what the difference is between a Frontpage template, Dreamweaver template and CSS/HTML template. The second most popular support question is which HTML editor is best to use to build a web site.

Our advice back in the early days of web template design is the same as it is today. Firstly, you should be aware that any template designed to be used with any one proprietary HTML editor program has an increased risk of high maintenance for future evolution of your site *if* you decide to switch HTML editors.

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There are many web templates out there these days and many of our customers get confused on what is a good design and what makes for a bad design. Here are a few pointers for consumers to look out for when shopping for a quality web template.

1. You need to consider your site objective when shopping for a web template. And you need to know who your target market or the majority of your site visitors will likely be.

The majority of site owners want a professionally styled web site. They are providing some type of information, products or services to the WWW community. Heavy graphics can be beautiful, but if they leave little space for your content, they really are not realistically functional for your site needs. On the other hand, if you do not have an abundance of content, like the WOW factor when your page loads, and you know that the majority of your site visitors will have high speed Internet access then that is a different scenario.

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The #1 Most Overlooked Element:

When determining the utilization of links within your web site’s template, don’t forget to include a “Home” button or link. As simple as it may sound, it is the most overlooked element. Your web template (or variations of it), should be used on every page of your site. This gives your site an overall consistent appearance so that your visitors have no doubt that they are still at your site. Remember that the web template you may have purchased or that you may be shopping for, must have the ability for your site visitors’ to find your home page from any page within your site. Your visitors will not always find your site through your homepage and even if they do, they may want to go back to that page eventually.

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This article is the second in a series where we will discuss common myths about shopping for a web site template. We felt that consumers should be aware of what to look for in a quality design that encompasses everything from metas right down to copyright footers. Naturally, we would love for our visitors to purchase our templates, but the long-term goal of this series is to educate consumers about what templates are, what they should provide the end-user, and what to be wary of when shopping.

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What exactly is a cookie-cutter layout? If you have been designing websites for any length of time, you have likely run into this terminology. In most cases it is a term used to describe predesigned web templates. Generally, the person using this terminology is promoting their own product or service and is trying to sway your intuitive logic toward a mind-set that will benefit them even when it isn’t to your advantage. What do I mean?

If you are up for a challenge, I’ll give you one that will blow the lid off the cookie jar in regard to the term “cookie-cutter” layouts. Hey, someone has to tell the truth, so why not us?

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Search Engine Specialist - 12 year veteran SEO with multiple top 20 ComScore properties publishing experience. Enterprise level across international, mobile, and social media spheres. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization and ongoing SEO consulting.

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