Whether you are new to website design or you are an experienced webmaster, building a site without premade web templates is often a time-consuming activity.
Finding Premade Web Templates
Premade web templates are designed by professional web designers using any one of the various web programming tools available. Some of the most common tools for website design include:
- FrontPage or Dreamweaver
- CSS Layout
- Photoshop (PSD)
There are volumes of pre-designed websites available throughout the Internet, both for free and at-cost. Using these as a starting point reduces the time it takes to create your website from start to finish by at least half. This guide outlines some of the top resources for these templates, and describes simple techniques you can use to customize them to create your own web page.
Free Web Templates
Searching the Internet for quality templates can be tedious and time-consuming. Many of the websites that offer them provide duplicates from other websites. Quality templates are often buried within unrelated websites, so that searching for "free web emplates" will not list them in the search results.Below are the five top websites where you can find high quality free web templates:
- Zymic.com - More than 80 website templates ranging from the moderately bland to the exotic
- Templateworkz.com - Almost 50 unique and eclectic templates
- Templatesbox.com - A library of 275 free designs
- TemplateMo.com - This directory of designs includes CSS templates
- FreshTemplates.com - A total 81 free website designs as well as PhotoShop, Logo and newsletter templates
The Best Paid Templates
If you are looking to build a professional website intended for a large retail business or a professional organization, free templates may not be an appropriate solution. Instead, you should consider purchasing a template that is either customized for your specific purpose, or purchase exclusive rights to a unique design that no one else can use.
The following are five of the top template directories that sell high-quality professional templates:
- TemplateMonster.com - Customized designs in PhotoShop and HTML formats. Prices start at about $30.
- 4Templates.com - A large selection of premade designs including CSS and Flash formats. Prices are $25 to $50.
- TemplateWorld.com - More than 1000 web templates, as well as a number of Flash, Logo, Joomla, WordPress and CSS templates. Templateworld offers a unique "download all templates" price for a $49.95 six-month access fee.
- TemplatesKing.com - HTML and Flash templates on a variety of content topics. Prices range from $60 to $150.
- TemplateArcade.com - A mix of quirky and very creative website designs by very talented designers. Prices run from $60 to $100.
Types of Templates
When the Internet first started, the only web programming language was HTML. Over two decades later a multitude of tools and languages exist, including Photoshop, Flash, CSS, and FrontPage.
Premade web page designs exist for all of these formats. The procedure to install and customize them vary greatly depending which format is used.
Frontpage and Dreamweaver
When you download a Frontpage or Dreamweaver template, you only need to open the template with these applications and fill in the designated content areas with your text and graphics. These templates are the fastest and easiest to install because there is no scripting or programming required. Additionally, using these designs in Frontpage or Dreamweaver saves you from spending hours of work to design a professional template that will work in all browsers.
Using the CSS Layout
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a technology that provides web developers with style sheets that define how each element of a web page is formatted. This allows developers to change formatting on hundreds of web pages with a single edit.
When you download a CSS template you will typically receive at least one style sheet usually named "style.css", an "image" directory filled with graphics, and one or more HTML files. You then place these files in your home web directory.
Within the HTML document, style sections are defined as follows:
<!-- content-wrap starts here -->
The "id=" refers to sections within the style sheet that define how the content inside that section is formatted. You simply add your web page content to those sections, and you're done.
A Flash template is a web page that's pre-built using the Macromedia Flash software, but saves you the hours of work it would take to professionally develop such a website from scratch. When you download the template, you receive those files which can be customized using Macromedia Flash. Enter your own content and images, and even replace any logos, text or sound in the original template to make the web page suit the style you're looking for.
Photoshop (PSD) Templates
Graphic designers typically prefer using PhotoShop to create web pages because it allows easy creation of very graphical and interactive websites. Once the page is designed in Adobe Photoshop, the developer simply saves those changes to HTML documents. This creates a PSD file that consists of what are called "slices". Slices are images or backgrounds in an HTML document. Layers of these slices create the overall webpage. When designers select File/Save for Web… within Adobe Photoshop, a PSD file is created. When you download a PSD Template, you receive that PSD file. Using Adobe Photoshop, you can then edit this file to add your own content.
Using Templates for Great Websites
Using premade web templates can save a tremendous amount of development time when you are trying to create a website quickly. Finding a quality design is very easy. Professional templates are available at affordable prices throughout the Internet. You simply need to choose the tool you prefer, and then download the template for that specific tool. This approach will allow you to spend less time designing your web page, and more time producing content.