What do you do with an empty website

by cdwise 3. December 2008 02:29

Have you ever been stuck for where to begin with a new website? I don't know about you but there have been times where I just didn't quite know where to start whether on a site for myself, something to use in a tutorial or yes, even for a client.

So what do you do to get past that empty blank first web page?

First, I look at what the subject matter is for the site. If it is for a business I'll look to their logo assuming they have one for colors.

Then I'll look at any images the client provides or if there aren't any I'll think about the subject and go browse images at http://istockphotos.com and see if there are any images that relate to the site topic and build my design from there.

If I am still stuck I may go over to CSS Zen Garden and browse there for inspiration. I may also use Google to bring up sites from companies that are competitors to see what they have done. (Sometimes this is very instructive on what not to do ) Remember that what you see as you browse the garden or competitor's sites that the purpose is not to copy any particular site but to get ideas on what you like or don't like for the website subject matter.

Once you have an idea about how the site should look you can start from scratch OR you can start with a high quality template and modify it to suit your needs. That is one reason we offer both site templates and single page basic layouts that you can use free of charge as a jumping off point.  However, we only offer a very limited number of templates and layouts that may not suit the design you have in mind.

Pat Geary, one of the moderators here on by-expression and a current FrontPage MVP has a website with Expression Web templates as well at http://expression-web-tutorials.com/ew-templates.html Each of these Expression Web templates is css based using no tables for layout. These EW templates are written with an XHTML transitional doctype and have an external stylesheet. They are all F REE and while some are genealogy based, they are easily adapted for nay site. More genecology subject templates are available at http://www.genealogy-web-creations.com/css-layouts/index.htm

Where else can you find good free templates?

Note that these templates will not be Expression Web or Dreamweaver templates but page designs with graphics. You will have to convert the designs to a template for your editor of choice after you make whatever modifications to images, links and other bits you desire.

Make sure that you read the terms of use on for each template you may download. Some are free for non-commercial use while others may be free for use on both commercial and non-commercial sites. Others may require credit and link to the design author.

  • This month (December 2008) Smashing Magazine is offering 100 free xhtml/css templates you can download directly or others simply by registering.  Some of the ones requiring registration are offered as free downloads from Template Kingdom.
  • andreasviklunk.com is a site from a single person Andreas Viklunk who offers templates and WordPress themes that can be used and customize but check his copyright and terms of use notice. He provides links to sites that have used and/or modified his templates as well.
  • oswd.org short for Open Source Web Design is just what it says - an open source resource of web designs. Note that the quality of each template can vary since this is an open source project.
  • openwebdesign.org is another open source design site, one that hosts contests so again you get some variety in template quality.

If you know of any other template sites we should be listing let me know.

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