Monthly Archives: March 2013

Free Website Templates Guide


You can have a professional looking website in a matter of minutes without having to pay a web designer hundreds to thousands of dollars in fees…

Free website templates sites are available everywhere on the web. They can be easily found by typing “free website templates” in popular search engines. You can preview hundreds to thousands of cool looking themes to match the type of product or service you provide.

Save Time and Money

Not only will you save in costs, but you will get your website completed much faster than if you had to build one from scratch. If you have some working knowledge of HTML, CSS and Photoshop, then using these free website templates should be a snap… If you are not familiar with these skills, then you can learn the basics from free online tutorials. It will only take you a little bit more time to build your site than someone who already has the experience.

This brief guide will introduce you to what you can do with these free website templates.

Getting Started

Before you do anything, you should read the rules that these sites have for using their templates. Usually, they will let you modify the templates and redistribute them if you give them credit as the original source… And you don’t necessarily need to link back directly to their site.

They will allow you to remove their link from the templates. But, what they don’t want you to do is repackage the templates and resell them. That’s only a fair condition for using their templates if you consider that you didn’t pay for them and they gave you something that would have costs your hundreds if not thousands of dollars in individual web designer fees.

High Quality Themes

Don’t be fooled by the word “free.” Many of these templates have a contemporary professional look… And the way that is achieved is with the high quality stock images or photos included. If you were to build these templates from scratch, normally you would find these images from sites that offer stock photos that may then make you pay royalties for using them.

Immediate Download

With some free website templates sites, you won’t need to give your email address or register. They are not going to make you sign up to a newsletter and send you spam. You will be able to click a download link off their site and save a zipped file immediately to your hard drive.

Everything You Need

As an example, inside these zipped files you will find an index.htm file, a style.css file, a PSD file and an image folder containing images. Here’s a breakdown of what these files are for:

1. Index.htm – This is the basic template which contains the HTML code. In this file you can add the links going to other pages within your site or links going outside. To keep the theme or design the same within your site, you’ll have to copy this file, modify it and rename it for each of the different pages you want your site to have.

2. Style.css – This is the file that controls the look of your site. In this file, you can change the font type, color and size. You can also modify or add things such as background colors, borders, spacing, alignments, positioning and more.

3. PSD – This is the graphic file that you can modify. You can open up this file in Photoshop to customize it. For example, you can overlay text over a header image with the name of your website. Since many people are using these templates, it is a good idea to make your site unique by changing the elements a bit on the graphics provided.

4. Image folder – This folder contains the images related to the theme of the template you chose. Besides images of objects or people, it may include buttons, round corners, borders or spacers. Files are either in the .gif or .jpeg format.

Summing Up

If you are afraid of screwing up these templates, then there’s always the option of hiring someone with the necessary skills and experience.

Now that you know where to easily find free website templates and what you can do with them, you’ll soon be on your way to creating your own professional website giving your visitors the confidence to buy what you’re selling.

Copyright © 2008 by Leroy Chan


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Adobe Dreamweaver


Adobe Dreamweaver is a desktop-based web development software application, that was originally developed by Macromedia (who were purchased by and merged into Adobe Systems Incorporated in December 2005). Versions of the software are available for both the Microsoft Windows operating systems and Apple Macintosh computers. As well as supporting the design of web pages and web sites using HTML, recent versions of Dreamweaver have also added support for other web techologies, including CSS and JavaScript, and server-side scripting languages such as ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Java Server Pages (“JSP”) and PHP.

Dreamweaver is based around a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) development environment that is powered using the Presto layout engine (originally developed for the Opera web browser). Editing of web pages, is all done on the user’s local (client) computer, and only when the changes are complete, are the edited files are uploaded to the user’s web server.

Dreamweaver incorporates a number of features that makes it well suited for use by professional web developers. These include the ability to access underlying the code behind web pages and edit it using a powerful syntax highlighting (keywords are automatically colored according to their function) editor, find and replace capabilities, the ability to convert HTML tables to layers and vice versa, and a template feature that makes creating multiple pages with similar structures into a breeze.

Like many other Adobe applications, one of the best features of the program is that it is extensible. A wide variety of third party extensions are available that add additional capabilities to the program (ranging from graphics effects to complete HTMLecommerce building systems) are available – some of these extensions are free, whereas others are commercial. Additionally, the program’s ubiquity means that there are large numbers of people who know how to use the software, and many helpful resources available including Internet tutorials about books about Dreamweaver.


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Review of the New BlueGriffon Web Editor


BlueGriffon is a free WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor powered by Gecko, the rendering engine inside Firefox. It is cross-platform with versions for Windows XP and Windows 7, Mac OS X and popular Linux distros. There is also a portable version (for Windows only).

Like its predecessor, NVU, BlueGriffon provides an easy to use interface and includes all the most common options to build web pages that comply with the W3C’s web standards (HTML 4, XHTML 1.0, HTML 5 or XHTML 5 / CSS 2.1 and parts of CSS3 already implemented by Gecko).

A handy wizard guides users to set up their canvas, starting with selecting the document type, filling in data for the property, picking the colours, adding a background image, and deciding on the page layouts.

The interface is intuitive and almost basic at first, as it closely mimics a word processor toolbar layout. Icons to the most common options are clearly laid out: adding a table, a single image or a thumbnail linking to a large image, a link, a video, an audio file or a form to a web page is easy. Switching from WYSIWYG view (where you can arrange objects visually) to the web page source code (where you can manipulate the web page by editing the HTML code) is done by clicking on the two buttons at the bottom of the page. Several web pages can remain open in multiple tabs, which makes it easy to quickly switch from one document to another, copy and paste, etc

Adjusting styles can be done through the style properties panel, which would require some coding knowledge for most functions other than the most basic ones though. For example, it is easy enough to change a font colour or adjust the style of a border but, while the style properties organises the numerous style options quite neatly, most of the style options available would probably not be understood immediately by novices: this makes BlueGriffon more adapted to intermediate coders.

Another drawback of BlueGriffon if you start building your first website layout is the lack of proper (offline or online) documentation yet. If you have previously used any decent web building tool or if you want to build a fairly basic page, this should not be too much of a problem. However, if you’re a beginner in website coding, you may find yourself stuck at some point without much help available. Let’s hope that BlueGriffon documentation will improve with time, starting by offering a few walk-throughs on creating new pages and sites and developing its forum.

On the other hand, one of BlueGriffon strengths is the add-ons: the most obvious one is the free FireFTP add-on to easily publish your page from BlueGriffon. Most of the other add-ons need to be purchased for a small fee though to support future development, according to the BlueGriffon website. The CSS Pro Editor extension for example is much more powerful than the default CSS toolbox and provides web authors with full control over their stylesheets. Some popular paid extensions are the Mobile Viewer add-on (to test your pages with a large number of mobile devices), the Eye Dropper (a colour picker which allows web authors to pick a colour from sources that are not directly viewable or editable inside the editor), the Project Manager add-on (a sync tool between a local directory on your hard disks and a remote directory reachable through FTP), the Snippets add-on (useful when manipulating the exact same chunk of HTML code or text inside the documents) and the Toolkit Manager add-on. It is possible to buy all add-ons at once at a discount price on the publisher’s website.

Clicking on the Preview button will open the web page in any browser of your choice (as long as it’s already installed on their system of course) which is useful for cross-browser testing, to check what your page looks like in Internet Explorer or Google Chrome for example. This is also useful to check your scripts since these won’t run directly in BlueGriffon.

The Markup Cleaner which can be found at Tools menu can help you with cleaning your HTML code. You can also spell-check your pages and BlueGriffon even integrates a small SVG editor (svg-edit, originally distributed as an add-on to Firefox and adapted to BlueGriffon) for quick drawing jobs.

BlueGriffon is a very promising open-source and cross-platform web editor. At only version 1.31, it can’t of course compete directly with massive and expensive web development applications such as Adobe Dreamweaver, but this is already a very nice application to create web standard compliant pages without too much effort. It also makes a great tool for educational purposes, such as teaching design students the basics of HTML and CSS. Documentation and online forums need to be improved but, once it gets traction and support from the community, it could quickly become much more popular.


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