Lesson 9: Working With Templates


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Next Step

Step 2: Templates


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Some sites let you download entire website templates.

Pros: You don't need to start from scratch and build HTML pages and External Style Sheets. Here are a few sites that offer free downloads of attractive website templates:

HTML5Up
HTML5 Templates
Free Website Templates
Flypixel
Open Designs

Cons: It can be time consuming to try to change a template created by another developer because you have to do some detective work to find out what CSS rule applies to what element.

 


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For a monthly fee, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly let you drag and drop your way to a website.

Pros: These sites have become popular because of their easy interface and good-looking templates. If you need e-commerce, these are good options, too.

Cons: Though you can customize the HTML in Wix with a plugin, you can't touch the CSS. Squarespace is rolling out a developer option, but it's still in the testing phase. Weebly let's you edit both.

All of these cost money. The platforms offer different pricing plans.

 


There are thousands of other template options.

These examples and the ones in Step 3 are popular options to give you different options. I have no stake in any of these sites or companies, and you might want to look around yourself for templates.

If you're going to pay for a template, you're likely to find more polished options. $30 to $40 is an average template price.

Here are the questions I would ask before I spend money on a template.

1) Does this template do something extra that I can't do myself? Can I get the same kind of template using a free option?

2) Are there clear, comprehensive instructions on how to modify the template? Are there help links or forums if I run into trouble?


Next Step

Step 3: More Templates


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Tumblr is the blog platform that lets you customize the most.

Pros: The core functionality of Tumblr is that it lets you curate a feed of posts by following other Tumblrs. Those posts are really easy to reblog. It looks good, and is the most customizable of the major blogging platforms.

Cons: That reblogging means that your content can very quickly lose its tether to your name or the idea of intellectual property.

Tumblr can also be a little blue, so if you're worried about users stumbling across bad language or NSFW content, it's not the best choice.

 


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Wordpress is popular, but it's a pain in the neck to modify.

Pros: There are many template options using the Wordpress CMS.

Cons: Started in 2003 as a blogging platform, Wordpress has become extremely popular without necessarily becoming more user friendly. The interface is notoriously finicky.

There's a free platform, Wordpress.com. But there's also a paid section, Wordpress.org. They are not always the same. The infographic in the video is via infographics Mania.

 


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If you're working with a developer, Drupal is a flexible CMS platform.

Pros: In Lesson 11, you'll meet developer Bri Hermanson. Her recommendation for a comprehensive CMS is Drupal. It lets you create all sorts of server-side functionality.

Cons: Getting oriented in Drupal is an investment, and so I wouldn't start from scratch unless you have some serious free time or can hire a programmer.

The image below comes from the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Next Step

Log in to Moodle to complete Assignment 9.