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Website Templates

Ahh, web templates - whatever your opinion of templates, it's undeniable they can be a big help when you have a client who needs a site finished yesterday, or one with a very minimal budget. Even if you scorn templates, many template "manufacturers" offer files of good, even fabulous, visual quality. This trend can only help make the internet a more beautiful place to visit. It's hard to complain about that. And just surfing around on the template sites can fire your inspiration to get your next project started.

If you're new to the world of website templates, and perform a search on Google to find some, you will soon discover dozens of sites selling what appear to be the same files. Why? Because they are the same templates ... Several companies selling web templates offer affiliate programs with different participation options. You can either place links to each company on your site, or you can utilize a rebranding option where you sell their templates on your website as your unique brand. In order to minimize confusion, all of the sites I have listed below are the actual template creation companies.

Website TemplatePlus, I like to shop from the source websites. The links below are direct to each company where the templates originate:

Higher Cost Website Templates

Lower Cost "Cheap" Website Templates

 Free Website Templates

The bottom line: you buy a template, make a few creative changes, and end up with a unique look. All on a modest budget, and in a very fast time frame.

Higher Cost Templates

1.) TemplateMonster
The biggest website template resource online, boasting over 5000 templates and still growing. Templates cost around $60 US but have an option to purchase each as an exclusive design, called the 'unique price'. This means that after you purchase the template it will be retired, not to be sold again. This option costs more $$$ but is perfect if your client is in love with the design and wants exclusivity. Template Monster also features Flash websites, logo templates, ecommerce and blogging website templates. If you find a design and wish to customize it, but don't have the skills or tools, you can also order a template then visit their "Template Tuning" order pages, where the template will be customized for you to your specifications at a reasonable cost. Template Monster continues to offer a variety of services at affordable prices - a must-see if you are looking to purchase a template.

2.) DesignGalaxy
Here you'll find website templates, plus corporate-identity templates and Powerpoint templates. You'll also discover a lot of Flash templates on DesignGalaxy, another potential time-saver if you are coding an animated site. The DesignGalaxy universe consists of several other template-oriented sites as well. LogoMaid features logo designs, DesignLoad offers a subscription-based template download site (which I will discuss below) and ProCartoonz, a unique site where you can download everything from logos to websites templates with (you guessed it) animated cartoon characters. Another worthwhile network to explore.

3.) E-Commerce Templates
Caters to the e-commerce needs of the web template world. Compatible with many different payment systems and offers an attractive price for creating a quick e-commerce site. Designs are very business oriented (understandable) with straight-forward navigation. Easy to use - the instructions on their website are clearly explained even if you are new to e-commerce.

Subscription-Based Templates

1.) Boxed Art
Web templates and much more, graphics, clip art, sound files, photos, flash - need I continue? The price of access: approximately $50 US a year. There are also a few of what they call "limited items" - web templates that can only be downloaded a certain amount of times (15 or so) before they are retired. These templates are not a regular part of your subscription - each costs approximately an extra $30 US to buy - but could represent a good value on your part. Seriously, the chances of bumping into another site online using the same template?

2.) DesignLoad
As a busy web designer, you can't spend time just watching the clouds pass by overhead and wait for inspiration to magically appear. You need ideas now! And that's a great reason why a subscription service is so helpful. You can browse the templates, find a structure that suits your project, then download and customize to your heart's content. DesignLoad offers a full subscription-based service, complete with website, website with Flash, Flash and Web 2.0 style templates for use. The price: $50 a year, with no restrictions on the amount of downloads. A useful resource.

3.) Basic Templates
Even though the name doesn't inspire excitement, I am recommending you check it out, especially if you are new to (or uncomfortable using) CSS. Why? Every site here is easy to manipulate using external style sheets, and even though some of the sites are *really* basic, you'll be sure to find many roses amid the thorns. A nice touch: all of the graphics have been created on transparent backgrounds, which gives you the great benefit of using the buttons etc. on any site. Offering design services since 1994, and if you sign up on their subscription plan, costs are minimal per template.

Designer's Tip: Many templates include the source files, especially the ones from subscription or pay-per-download services. This enables you to change fonts, colour schemes, photography and just about anything else you'd like. A word of advice: double-check what you'll receive on download to ensure you're getting all of the files you want and need.


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