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Web Templates: Replacing Designers?

web designer equipmentWeb Designer EcquipmentI’ve seen articles (and websites) that suggest you can buy a website template and skip the expense of hiring a professional website designer. Recently, I read several testimonials from the very satisfied customers of a website template vendor that mentioned how quickly they were able to get their sites done. The template vendor commented that he/she had known people to complete their websites in around two hours.

With experiences and statements like these, it not surprising that more and more people are attempting to build websites themselves. I think that’s great in a way. For those of us who are concerned about the trends in the web industry and community, it’s great to see more people becoming web oriented and involved.

However, I think there is a misunderstanding by many of these people about what a website template really is – and is not. At this point, I think it only fair that I should mention that I am a professional website designer (the person you supposedly don’t need anymore). I should also mention that this is not my sole motivation for questioning this idea of templates replacing web designers. As a matter of fact, I think website templates are extremely useful. I recommend using them to my clients as a way of getting a great graphical look for their site. What I hope to convey is that template consumers need to know what they are and what they aren’t getting with a template.

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What’s a Design Dinosaur

dinosaurDinosaurAre you fond of applying and scrambling old and new design clichés in one helpless web page? Are you one of the thousands not yet enlightened that ‘too much of a good thing is bad’? Are you too engrossed in improvising other designs and not coming up with your own?

Being a design dinosaur is a common sickness among designers who tend to be exposed and awed in latest design clichés coming out and copying or improvising them to concentrate on making his / her original design. But this practice isn’t entirely wrong, though. There’s always some "monkey see, monkey do" in the design world. Someone comes up with a great logo, Website, package and the next thing you know, they’re everywhere.

What’s bothersome in using most design clichés is that it implies you're not using up your own talents as a designer. In graphic designing, the ultimate creation to make you cry “Eureka!” may come upon us on our thirtieth attempt. This moment will happen once you really challenge and stretch yourself.

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What's the Fastest Way to Ruin a New Web Site?

planning websitePlanning WebsiteI’ve been asked, “How do I design a successful Website?”

I often respond, “Do you know the fastest way to ruin a new Web site design?” As you might suspect, the answer is, “Lack of proper planning beforehand.”

Let's put it another way. In programming, there's an old axiom, which states: "The sooner you start your coding the longer it takes to finish."

Planning out your Website before you build it is essential. To borrow a technique from the film industry, I recommend that you create a storyboard, which is a type of a flow chart of your new Web site design. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist to draw out your idea, but it’s essential to create it on paper first.

On each piece of paper, the goal is to have room for an image at the top, plus space underneath for writing down information. As you might suspect, the first page to start with is your home (or welcome) page, which will typically have the most information as it will contain the page the people visit before they enter your site and as people go through your site, the will encounter more information (in tiers) as they go down.

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What an Automated Web Site Can Do for Your Business

newsletterNewsletterAs your Internet business grows, your free time will dwindle. Site changes will become time consuming and stressful. Automate your site and you can use your time for better purposes.

Automating

Automating a web site can cut out tedious tasks such as updating HTML, FTPing pages and changing site designs. Advanced automated web sites can send follow-up emails, send out newsletters, manage sales, do invoicing, track users visits and more. There is practically no function that can’t be accomplished.

There are many different types of automated web sites. Typically, the platforms break down into two categories, prepackaged or made to order. Automated web sites can range in complexity from simply using server side includes to full database driven sites. Server side includes are little snippets of code that allow content from one file to show on many pages. A database driven site, on the other hand pulls content from an online database.

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What are Web Standards?

web standardsWeb StandardWeb standards are technologies, established by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and other standards bodies, that are used to create and understand web-based content. In order for the Web to reach its full potential, the most fundamental Web technologies must be compatible with one another and allow any hardware and software used to access the Web to work together. Therefore, to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential, protocols and guidelines have been developed that ensure long-term growth for the Web.

How does your business benefit from adopting web standards

Lower development costs:

This is due to simpler development and maintenance using more semantic and structured HTML. The one site will work with all major browsers.

Lower hosting costs:

Less HTML results in smaller file sizes and quicker downloads. Smaller file sizes mean lower bandwidth which will lower hosting costs.

Increase in usability:

Your customers will find your site renders and downloads faster due to the smaller file size. This will make them respond and showi more interest in what you have to offer in your business.

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