Template Resources for Web Developers
In this article is a list of all the resources I've discovered while writing this series on web development templates. The intention of this resource listing is to provide you with access to some great resources for building a website using templates.
In general, the most cost effective way of building a website is to find free or commercial templates, then modify those to fit your site's theme.
Still, there will be some situations when a free or commercial template doesn't give you what you want, or you may be the type of person who wants total control over your layout. In that case, building a website from scratch might be your best solution. Still, this should be the last resort, not a first option. While the idea of total control can be appealing and seductive, it could drain your time and resources (knowlege and money) quickly.
As I've said before, one of my favorite web design tools is Dreamweaver. The down side is that it's also quite expensive. Fortunately there's another option. If you only want to use Dreamweaver for a short time, you can make use of the Adobe subscription model. You can find more information about Adobe Subscription model here.
Free CSS Resources
The use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) with web templates can help you transform a vanilla template into your own vision. Here are a few resources for delving further into CSS:
- HTMLGoodies CSS Tutorials
- Best CSS Tools
- 40 Excellent (Yet Free) CSS Tools And Generators For Developers
- Top Free CSS Resources on the Web
Photo Gallery Resources
There are many options for the creation of photo galleries. As with all of these resources, some are paid, some are free.
My number one favorite approach is to create photo galleries with Adobe Photoshop CS3. This is detailed in length in these two articles:
- How to Build Web Galleries in Photoshop CS3
- Graphics School: How to Customize Web Photo Galleries in Photoshop CS3
Photoshop isn't the only game in town. You can also build photo galleries with a number of applications. Check out this resource list of 57 image gallery options, some free, some paid.
When building a new website, there will be times when you get stuck and don't know what to do next. If that's the case, you can get your questions answered by going to forums. Two that I recommend are: The Warrior Forum and our own Web Developer Forum.
- If you're building a site with a Joomla! template and you need help, go to the Joomla! forums.
- If you're working with WordPress and you need help, you'll want to check out the WordPress forums.
There are other forums available to you if you buy a paid template. If you use a free template, the major down side is the lack of support, or, if support is available, it can come with a hefty price tag, which could be more than the price of a paid template. If your design is really important to you, and you don't have a good background in CSS, HTML, etc., invest your dollars in a template with support.
WordPress Resources and Tips
The number one source to find templates is on this page, where you'll find both free and commerical plugins. You can search the themes by keyword or filter tags.
Comment Spam Plugin
When you install a blog, you'll wind up with Akisimet pre-installed. Activate it asap. This is your first line of defense against comment spam. Unfortunately, it's not enough. I also recommend that you install WP Spamfree and configure it with all the default settings.
- If you want to monetize your site with advertising, I recommend using Google Adsense and Kontera for inline text ads
- To install Adsense (and other advertising on your site) I recommend the use of WP Simple Adsense Insertion to control how you add Adsense to your site.
- For sharing of your posts, I recommend SexyBookmarks (by Shareaholic).
Joomla Resources and Tips
For templates, visit the resources directory.
More About Spam
One option is to use the spam killer recommended by my colleague, Jeff Mulligan. You can find it here. This application encrypts your email address so it's visible in a browser, but the spam bots can't read it.
Another option is to install a contact form, preferably one the a captcha option. I recommend the Alf Contact. This is a component and it makes use of two files, both of which are necessary to use the capcha option. There are video tutorials which explain this and they're quite thorough.
Previously, I recommended the use of HikaShop for an ecommerce plugin. HikaShop has now been removed from the Joomla! directory because of a UR13-Bait & Switch/Fraudulent Practices. When I searched for more information, I found the following:
You can read more about the issue here,
Social Media Extensions
The place to find Social Media extensions is on the Social Web page. Here are two extensions that I recommend:
- ITPFacebookLikeBox extension is a module and has an excellent rating--25 users have rated it as 4.88 out of 5.
- ITPSocial Buttons extension is available as a module and a plugin. It also has a good rating--35 users have rated it as 4.74 out of 5.