Web site templates are tools of the webmaster’s trade and can save you a lot of time and effort when designing a new web site. Templates come in all sizes, shapes, and different levels of cost. But web site design templates can also lead you to a just like me end result.
I’ve seen a professional web site templates that was sold only once (the buyer is guaranteed exclusivity) for well over $5,000 dollars. I’ve also seen bad designs, poor construction methods, and out right ugly results. Web site design is both an art and a science.
Designing a visually attractive web site can help deliver the message. But I always recommend that the design should complement the message and not distract the viewer. Bells and whistles don’t contribute to the content and can compete for the attention of the viewer.
I’m a fulltime webmaster and have been involved with designing web sites for over 10 years. My clients want clean and functional designs that get the job done. Clever flash routines, exaggerated graphics and illustrations are normally not a part of my designs.
Now there’s a time and place for many aspects of design. For example a multi-media company should strut it’s stuff on their web site. And someone who is involved in movie production or the graphic arts should have a much more illustrative design than say a company that sells shoes. So the design elements should fit the company and product.
But for many businesses, there is no need for the glitz associated with Hollywood. What they need is a web site that sells product or services, and can provide support to their customers. Soaring eagles, rippling water, and other special effects really don’t fit the customers.
And many of the templates you see for sale on the web are designed to sell templates. That means the fancier the better. My favorite feature to pick on is the menus that make noise when you click on them. Like a door slamming, a foot step, or windows shade going up or down. There’s no value added there on the design, just a little unneeded sizzle to sell the template.
Take a look at the largest and most popular web sites on the Internet. Yahoo, Google, and Amazon all have simple but functional designs. No exploding stars, no dancing girls, just easy to navigate tabs. User friendly designs, quick and responsive page views, and easy to understand navigation.
Now that’s not to say that I don’t use and recommend templates. I have a collection that I’ve gathered that help me speed up the development process on almost every web site I design. But I rarely use the template verbatim. I may pick a menu from one, colors from another, and maybe illustrations from several.
I also use them for ideas on layout and features that may apply to a particular subject. If one is very close to what I want, I also rename all the graphic files to names that associate with the subject matter of the web site I’m designing. I use the alt-text feature to further enhance the subject matter too.
Most copywriters have what’s called a set of swipe files. These are sales or copywriting examples that they refer to when writing any new copy. The same scenario goes for web site design templates, having a group of templates to use as a reference helps speed up any creative efforts.
Most of my templates have the illustrations and artwork in PSD format (Photoshop). I can go in and take a woman from one, a watch from another, and maybe a background from a third. I can combine all three of these elements into a brand new illustration that fits my subject.
That saves me a lot of time and effort. And that saves my clients money too since I can spend less time and therefore charge less. So everyone comes out a winner. In today’s competitive market, anything you can do to be more time efficient can help.
So a good set of web site design templates can save you time and money. Always try and use them for ideas and maybe a few elements but not verbatim. Try and find some that come with PSD files so you can work in the native format and convert and combine components. And always rename the files to match the subject of the new design and layout.