How to Spot a Good Web Template Design

    December 16, 2003

There are many web templates out there these days and many of our customers get confused on what is a good design and what makes for a bad design. Here are a few pointers for consumers to look out for when shopping for a quality web template.

1. You need to consider your site objective when shopping for a web template. And you need to know who your target market or the majority of your site visitors will likely be.

The majority of site owners want a professionally styled web site. They are providing some type of information, products or services to the WWW community. Heavy graphics can be beautiful, but if they leave little space for your content, they really are not realistically functional for your site needs. On the other hand, if you do not have an abundance of content, like the WOW factor when your page loads, and you know that the majority of your site visitors will have high speed Internet access then that is a different scenario. Always remember that your web site should be designed with your VISITORS comfort in mind. If you do not mind waiting three minutes for your site to load those WOW graphics, that does not mean your site visitors will appreciate it. Your visitors comfort is your number one concern if you really want them to stay or return.

2. Graphics should not take up more than one-third to one-fourth of your web page.

Content is king. People are searching the Internet for information. Web templates that are designed so that the graphics take up the majority of the page are not really functional. If the person viewing your site is forced to do a lot of scrolling downward or worse – horizontally because the template is too wide for their screen, they will leave your site. The same is true if the template graphics takes up one-half to three-fourths of the page and you have to create 12 pages to publish your content. Perhaps if the web template were designed correctly or you chose one that was not as graphic intensive, you could have put the same amount of content on 2 or 3 pages. Your important site content that you want your visitors to be sure to see should be placed as far toward the top of the page as possible. When the page loads in the browser, and the graphics immediately forces the user to scroll downward just to view what else is on the page is very poor designing for the majority of web sites online today.

3. Avoid the use of splash pages unless you have a good reason to use them.

It may seem like a cool thing to have and they look great. However, splash pages simply force your site visitors to make one more extra unnecessary click before they find what they are actually looking for at your site. Although splash pages were the rage several years ago, they have outlived their usefulness long ago. Unfortunately, some designers use the splash page concept as an added incentive to buy or a reason to price their templates higher, because after all, you are getting two pages. But do you really need two pages? More often than not no.

4. Avoid buying templates that use redundant font tags, color tags, inline or internal CSS, etc.

Professionally designed templates should ALWAYS be designed using “external” CSS (cascading style sheets). We cannot stress this enough to the consumer. But how can you tell when you do not get to examine the template before buying? That is simple. Take a peek at the source code of the template designers own web site. If they are not using “external” CSS, have redundant font and color tags, the program GENERATOR meta tag is shown in the source code, the code looks cluttered, disorganized and simply difficult to read, then you can make a fair summation that their templates look just as bad. Avoid buying a template from this type of designer, because they are likely inexperienced in website template development. Their main goal is making a sale and not the end users ability to use their product with ease. In the long run you will be the one who suffers by using a poorly designed template.

5. Avoid purchasing multi-page template packages.

99% of the time you will not need to purchase a multi-page template package. The designers who develop them (approx. 5-25 page packages) are doing exactly what you could do within a few minutes. They feel that supply you with unnecessary pages (ie. about.html, info.html, contact.html, etc.), it justifies a higher price. In reality they are charging 10x what the template is really worth and delivering a template to the end user that is underdeveloped but stuffed full of unnecessary pages and filler text that you have to delete or modify on every page! Argh! :( Read more information regarding the “Myth of Multi-Page Template Packages“.

Click here to sign up for FREE B2B / Tech. newsletters from iEntry! designs Website Templates with External CSS and has been providing webmasters worldwide with affordable template designs since 1994. BasicTemplates currently offers 650+ designs which may be purchased individually or get complete access to all templates via an affordable membership plan. Most templates were strategically designed with interchangeable graphics and elements to increase the potential number of design layouts for the end user. Each layout utilizes an external style sheet for easy site maintenance and to ensure fast page load.