using free web designs

Introduction

When building small, standalone multimedia sites (i.e. mini-sites not directly generated by your content management system, if you have one), you have several options:

  • Build your site in Flash, as covered in our Building Flash Templates tutorial
  • Build your site from scratch with HTML and CSS, integrating Flash components as necessary
  • Modify freely available HTML + CSS templates to suit your needs, integrating Flash components as necessary

The development path you choose depends on many factors, such as whether you have more Flash or HTML+CSS skills in-house, how important search-engine optimization is to your organization, and whether you can locate a freely available design to suit your needs. Unless you're a professional designer (or have access to one), it's almost always going to be easier to modify an existing, ready-made design to suit your needs than it will be to create a polished design from scratch.

Developing a functional and attractive page layout can be tricky if you're pressed for skills, time, or both. Fortunately, there are literally thousands of HTML+CSS templates available on the internet, free for the download. Most of these templates are labors of love by designers who have benefitted in their daily work from the gifts of open source and want to give something back, while other designs are sold on a commercial basis.

In this tutorial, we'll look at some of the options for working with pre-existing HTML design templates, and provide a "starter kit" of our own you can customize to suit your needs.

Filed under: Web Development