If you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of person who wants a good looking web site, you might be saying to yourself, “OK, where do I begin?” One way to learn about how websites are built is you can visit almost any site you like and download all of their graphics and CSS stylesheet and HTML and scripts. Usually in a browser, it’s something like “File”, “Save Website – Complete”. Then using your favorite web editor, play around with their HTML and LEARN how they made the site work. Of course, don’t USE that site’s template since it would be considered stealing. But starting with a template is a great way to build a site quickly.
If you don’t have the time or patience to design something yourself, you might want to think about purchasing a professionally-created web template. You purchase the rights to use one of these beautiful templates for your site; it is yours, you can do with it what you want on your site. Good templates — like those from Template Monster — are professionally created and come with all the things you’ll need to re-brand the site to be your own. You’ll get unflattened PSD files (Photoshop’s layers — the text is one one layer so it’s very easy to edit — while image is on other layers), the HTML, the scripts, additional icons, etc. If you compare the cost of a template to hiring a professional, you’ll be amazed — a simple site with 5 pages for a template might cost $60, but a professional building the site might START at $300. Of course, there’s usually a good reason for hiring a professional — to get a top-quality job. But if you are willing to try to build the site yourself, you might be able to have a great looking site, and save a lot of money.
If you want to DIY on your own site, some of the skills you’ll need: Dreamweaver basics — be able to edit HTML, understand about linking, etc. Photoshop intermediate — work with layers and build HTML from images. You’ll also need to understand about FTP — how to move those files from your computer up to your webserver. And, if you purchase a Flash template, you’ll need to have and know the basics of Flash Pro. There are also companies that will build out, or re-brand, the site for you based off templates. One example is: Template-Help.com. There are templates available for business, WordPress, osCommerce, Flash, and just about anything else you can image.