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Buy an Exclusive Web Template for Your Professional Site

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on December 22, 2007 in Writers' Resources
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One of many things I regularly tell new writers is that it's vital to have a professional site set up where you can host a real portfolio (pointing people to "fake" portfolios like Associated Content pages or member profiles on freelancing sites is just flat out unprofessional, and what far too many do).

There's a Web template supplier that I've considered buying from in the past: Template Kingdom. If you're familiar with Template Monster, they're similar. The big differences are that prices are often cheaper at Template Kingdom, and they give you exclusive rights to the templates you buy (whereas Template Monster sells the same template to multiple buyers).

It looks like their prices are significantly lower than I remember them being the last time I'd checked them out, so I just wanted to share the resource for anyone interested in creating their own professional writer's website, but without having to design it themselves or dish out a lot of money for a first site's design.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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10 Comments

  1. Diana December 22, 2007 Reply

    Is it really worth it to buy a template? There are tons of them available for free download. The template the designer used to create my site was a free template I found and asked him to use. Also, uploading your own template is NOT easy unless you’re proficient in HTML, so people should be aware of this before they spend any money. Have you ever used a template yourself? Did you do everything on your own or paid somebody to help you set up your websites?

  2. Jennifer Mattern December 22, 2007 Reply

    If you can get an exclusive template for $25-35, then it’s absolutely worth it. It’s the free templates that aren’t worth it, unless you’re proficient enough in HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. to alter them enough to have them look different than all of the other installs. I usually use free templates, but that’s because I know enough to alter the design (sometimes heavily). So if someone doesn’t know much about Web design, they’re much better off making a tiny investment like that for something that would be completely unique to them. Branding is important, and that’s a key element of it on the Web.

    If the prices were $250-350, I might not say it’s worth it for someone new.

    As for them being difficult, I actually wouldn’t agree. Everything I know about Web design was pretty much self-taught back when I launched my very first site towards the end of 2004. The uploading is actually the easy part, and most Web hosts will even do it for you for a very small fee (a friend’s host did it for like $5 / site) if you really didn’t want to do it yourself. Just use a graphics-based Web design program instead of trying to edit the HTML directly in the beginning, and you’ll generally be fine, and learn a lot. And honestly, I think every writer in this day and age should be learning at least the basics of things like HTML and CSS, as they’ll often help you land Web writing gigs if you understand the basic formatting elements over a complete HTML virgin.

    Sorry for the rambling, but yes, I’ve used a lot of templates (paid and free). I’ve also designed sites from scratch in table-based and CSS layouts. If I could go back, get something unique, and save all of that design time by going with a totally exclusive template in that kind of price range, I’d absolutely do it; no questions asked. I’m even looking into the CSS templates there. If I find something interesting, I may be buying it / them and hiring someone to convert them into WordPress themes.

  3. Diana December 22, 2007 Reply

    Thanks for the explanation. I wasn’t really thinking of the unique aspect of paid templates. As somebody who doesn’t know anything at all about HTML, I can assure you it does sound to me like an impossible language to learn. I’m sure it can be learned, but not so sure the first attempt at a website should be the one that showcases your work to potential editors and employers. I was also under the impression that templates you buy are harder to modify and handle that those provided by your own web host.

  4. Jennifer Mattern December 22, 2007 Reply

    Maybe that’s something I’ll talk about here in the new year… a series of posts on basic HTML, CSS, setting up a professional website, etc. :)

    I used to be scared to death of coding. The trick was doing it all visually. I started off using Frontpage (much better now than it was then), which lets you basically edit the website the same way you’d edit a Word document. You can edit visually that way, and then go into code view to see what the code looks like if you want to learn (but you never have to look at code if you don’t want to). :)

    A template from a Web host is just like a template you buy. The things to look at are the images. I’d prefer going with something that doesn’t have a lot of images in odd places (because that’s what’s tougher to modify if you’re not familiar with .psd files and editing the layers in Photoshop or a similar program). If it’s image-free, or has images that can very easily be swapped out (like images in a simple rectangular shape as opposed to one that’s cut up among several table cells), then it can be really easy to modify.

    Web design has been more towards the CSS side of things over the last few years (as opposed to tables). However, those you can’t edit quite in the same way (you’d change colors and such in the CSS code).

    Perhaps what I’ll do is find a free table-based and CSS template, and use them as examples as far as modifying them, how to change images, how to change colors, how to format the text in HTML, etc. It might be worth doing that with a tie-in to SEO too. I’ll have to map something out.

  5. Diana December 22, 2007 Reply

    That would be great, actually. Either gives a crash course on web design or point us somewhere where we can read about it in NORMAL LANGUAGE. Editing a page in Photoshop is not easy task, so if there is an easier system, I’d love to hear about it.

    I actually designed the first version of my website with Frontpage. It didn’t look bad, but I couldn’t get the formatting to show up right on Firefox (looked fine on IE, though). At some point I got so frustrated with it that I used a free template that came with my website hosting program. Only much later I got a real professional to work on it.

    I have a general idea in mind for a second website (not a writing one) and it would be great if I understood enough to design it myself.

  6. Jessica Mousseau December 23, 2007 Reply

    Actually by using a free template, I have taught myself HTML (a goal of mine for years) — but it wasn’t easy and I almost threw the laptop out the window a few times hahaha :)

  7. Diana December 23, 2007 Reply

    Yeah, that was my experience as well. When I was designing my website, I tried to learn HTML but eventually gave up. It just wasn’t the right time and I didn’t have the patience to do it right then and there. I’m sure it’s possible, but people should be aware it’s just work and requires practice.

  8. Diana December 23, 2007 Reply

    I think it would be nice to give some tips to beginner writers about setting up a website, showing all the options available, and what works and doesn’t. Buying a template for those willing to put in the time to learn HTML, using other options for those who need a basic website, etc. Maybe even the do’s and don’ts (no free hosting, no music or animation, etc.). If you do have a post like that somewhere, can you link to it so we can take a look? If not, it may be a nice thing for beginners to learn (so they avoid mistakes from the get go!)

  9. Jennifer Mattern December 27, 2007 Reply

    I don’t think there’s a post like that yet (other than on not using free blog hosts perhaps), but I’ll definitely work that kind of information in more in the new year. :)

  10. Jess December 27, 2007 Reply

    I actually am going to write a blog on this topic in mid january.

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