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PostHeaderIcon Tips On Using Templates For Your Adsense Or Business Websites

Website templates are easily obtainable online, ranging from simple, to technological wonders packed with clever scripts and codes to add functionality, priced from free to download, to very expensive, but you have a wide choice of designs available at all price and technological levels. Using a template can significantly speed up the building of a website, and can also give you a professional look for your site without the expense of hiring a designer. Using website templates can also be a bit of a minefield in a number of areas, including copyright, skill level, and search engine placement. So what do you need to know to use predesigned templates for your next website project?

1. What rights do you have with the templates?

As with any piece of work, designers can give you a multitude of rights, allowing you various levels of freedom to use the templates you buy or download. It’s important to read the terms, and / or clarify your rights with the supplier of the template. Some will allow you to change the template as much as you like and may include source files for any graphics so you can customise those too, while others will limit you to using the template as is, and only changing the text to your own. There are many levels in between too, you may be allowed to change the copyright notice at the bottom, or may be required to keep it there pointing back to the suppliers website, or there maybe some other small link back required for you to use the template. So check your rights.

2. Where can the template be used?

You need to check this as well as part of your rights. Some templates you download, and even some you buy will restrict you to non commercial use. This would mean you can’t use the template on a business site. Using a non commercial template as a basis for an Adsense site could be a legal grey area, as you are creating a site purely to make money, so it could be construed as commercial use. Other restrictions may mean you can only use the template on one site, or domain, and you’d need a license for each site you use the template on. Check the usage policy before you buy or use a template.

3. Experience level.

What is your own experience level of web design? You are going to need to know enough to edit the templates main areas to add your content. This may involve a little tweak here and there to make it fit your template, so you will need to ensure your knowledge covers the technologies the template uses. It’s not all HTML either. Your chosen template may include CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Javascript functions, Area Maps for navigation, and any number of other additional components. Find out first what you will need to know, and decide if you know it already, are willing to learn or are going to need to pay extra to get it modified by someone else.

4. Do you have the right tools to edit the template?

If a template has any special code, or tricks included, will your editor of choice be able to cope with them? Not all editors are created equal, and some will mess up code they don’t recognise, and stop the site from working altogether. You may not always find this out until after you have uploaded it. Obviously if you are using a text editor like notepad, and doing it yourself you should understand what you are doing before changing anything. If you are using a wysiwyg html editor, like Frontpage, Dreamweaver or any of the free utilities like NVU then you need to make sure it won’t mess up the underlying code as you add your content, and personalise the template for your site. Checking up front that you have the required tools may save you extra wasted time and money later.

5. Room for expansion.

Right now you have an idea for a site you want to create, and the template you use is perfect, but what about the future. If you want to add extra sections, pages or content, will it be able to expand to compensate for it? You need to take into account navigation links, if you will need to add extra links to new sections, can you personally add them (see experience and tools above) and do you have room for them especially if an image is used with an area map as navigation. It’s not going to be easy as you never know what the future holds, but believe me when I say your website is very likely to expand and grow, in fact it will need to if it’s to do you any long term good.

6. What will it be used for?

Do you intend to use a template for a straight html website, Wordpress blog, forum, or any other kind of site? A straight html template will need a lot of work to convert it for use on a wordpress blog, as they use tags to build the site as they go, unlike a static html website. They also require the template to be broken down into header, footer and display elements with the necessary code for menus etc. in the right place. It’s not easy, and forums use the same methods. It’s easier to get a template (called themes on interactive sites like blogs and forums) which is designed for the purpose, than adapt one, unless you are experienced in PHP and html and most likely CSS too!

These are just some things you may wish to consider before using a template for your first (or next) website. It could save you a lot of wasted time in the long run for a few minutes checking beforehand. Templates are a great shortcut to a professional looking site and now you know what to look for to make sure you don’t regret it later.