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i've been doing seo for a few years now, mainly for my own website but also for a handful of small clients.
i have recently created a website for a uk cricket centre that wants to promote its corporate hospitality services. the site ranks fine in google for the target keywords but they have said that they want it to look more polished and eye catching which i fully understand.
my problem is that i don't want to give the site over to a designer and give them carte blanche to do as they wish. i don't want java script nor buttons. ideally i would like a tailormade template to frame the content and contain my text links. just to add to the problem they don't have a large budget.
do you think i have an impossible task? if not are there ways to find someone willing to pretty the site up yet maintain all the seo work that i've done?
finally, have i done this the wrong way around? should i have gotten the site built, without content by a graphic designer and then done my seo stuff?
thanks in advance
Most of them are based around clear text links and navigation.
For a small company this could be a great match.
but you run the risk of looking just like someone else out there
I used to worry about this but with over 3 billion websites in Google, I doubt that it will be a problem. Especially if you are creative with your use of filler images, or small edits to the graphics in the template itself.
I have used free templates for two large sites, and have never run into anything even close to similar. They also look much more professional than the cr*p that I tried to do on my own. ;o)
There are quite a few template sites, and many that sell one time purchase designs. Do a search for templates and "exclusive" to see what comes up.
have i done this the wrong way around?
you did it absolutely the right way IMO
As a developer who uses designers a lot, I suggest you look into finding a live person who can meet your specs, and have an ongoing relationship so you can easily do more tweaks in the future.
Look at elance or scriptlance or find a local freelance - and I agree go with css and templates to make it easy for you too.
So, you can simply find a template which hasn't been sold yet. And they have a LOT of them, so most are only sold a few times. 2-4 copies in 4 billion doesn'T sound so bad...
have i done this the wrong way around?
I read here a couple of days ago in a post a very simple but enlightening theory.
In HTML the M stands for Markup - remember that, get your content and mark it up. You have done this the right way round.
I have had very good results with elance, you should be able to find the perfect match of designer to come up with your graphic design and CSS code.
There is still alot of work to make it SEF but thats part of the fun, stripping all those font tags and without breaking it :) It usually looks quite different from the original by the time I'v finished.
Guess I'm going to have to move from paint shop pro to photoshop and learn about layers!
I also found that the free photos that are available are great for adding some visual appeal to a high content site.
All you programmers out there will no doubt disagree with me, but I think it makes more sense to first map out your content and how you want people to be able to interact with it, then to build a design template for it (using a designer who knows the technical issues and can provide mark-up with stylesheets as well as fast graphics and designs that reflect the interaction requirements). Then, once you've assembled your content (including the graphics and page templates) you start coding everything. This in an ideal world of course. :)
But certainly any designer worth their salt should be able to work with your framework and "prettify" it.
The problem I see with you trying to buy a design template after the fact is that you're still going to have to modify it's layout most likely, or else change your code to match the template you've purchased.
I usually do the layout comps and then send them to the programmer for comments - to make sure everything will work together well, before sending it out to a client. So afr, this process has worked very well.
The comment about building a relationship with a designer is also right on. I work with the same programmer for most of my projects, so over time, we've come to understand eachother very well and are able to accomodate eachother in situations where a certain design makes the coding too complicated, or vice versa.
I took a random template from one site and found a similiar site for another and ran them through this [url=http://****.com]webpage analyzer[/url] to see how fast these templates loaded on 56K modems.
Smartwebby hi-tech3 preview,
20.91 seconds to load on a 56K modem
Template monster won't let you view the template, as far as I can see, so I found a website very similiar to one they sell at this location.
I chose this website because it looks very similiar in design. It really means nothing, just a rough estimate at what you might expect from the above template.
32.01 seconds to load on a 56K modem.
No previews at h**p://www.boxedart.com either.
I do see that all three of these sites are image heavy. All those images and cool designs do look really good but they are all huge in size. They say that most people will not wait longer than 10 seconds for a page to load, unless your page really covers a niche market.
I guess all these templates are good if you don't mind not getting any 56k modem traffic. It's too bad most people still use this method to view websites. If I didn't like designing my own sites I would look for a designer who has a knack for good design using minimal size.
P.S. Webmasterworld.com loads in under 10 seconds for modem users :)