Website templates are pre-designed web pages created for you to use as a basis for fast web development, saving you lots of time on website designing. You add your content text and pictures to the designs and you have a functional website, ready for upload. If you search the Internet for website templates, you will be amazed by how many different companies offer free templates and also sell templates.
There are many pros to using a template:
- Templates save time and energy. Many suggest what content to add and where.
- You have the basic design for each page of your website.
- Because the design is the same throughout, you have the consistency that will hold your site together.
- Updating your website is straightforward.
- Templates cut out the chance of destroying layout, because they usually have un-editable and editable regions.
There are, however, just as many cons to using templates:
- Many that are free on the Internet are database driven, so do not show up in search engines (for example, Tripod has many good looking templates, but all are database driven).
- You have little or no leeway in changing the pre-designed format.
- After looking at many of the templates offered, I found that very few offered a design that I would be proud to call my own.
- The better designs are used over and over again by many others, so your site is not unique – this will be obvious to those who surf the net often.
- You don’t have the advantage of working with a designer who will answer your website questions and help you with a custom-designed website.
Rather than purchasing a pre-designed template, create your own.
- In most web-authoring programs (including Front Page 2003 and Dreamweaver MX, MX 2004, and now 8), you and/or your designer can tweak and re-design the layout for your final template until it is exactly the way you want it. Then, you save it as a template to be used over and over again.
- The added beauty of this method is that if you have a change later to that template (and change is always happening on the Internet), you can update the template and the program will update every page that uses that template if you want it to.
Where do I find templates?
- If you are using a web authoring program like Dreamweaver or Front Page, you will find a variety of templates that serve as a beginning – these can be changed and tweaked easily.
- Contribute, Macromedia’s program that helps with website maintenance also includes many templates that may be used as new pages.
- If you do a search for templates, you will find more sites than you can imagine.
As with any other Internet topic, there is much more that can be written about templates. I have only scratched the surface. I do know, however, that since I started using templates that I have created, my website designing has become even more of a joy than ever before.