Web Site Templates

This is a two-fold question:

I want to know if there are places that I can buy templates of Dreamweaver sites to get me started.  I am a college student trying to get into Web Deveopment.   I created a descent site using a program called NetObjects Fusion (which is not very flexible).  And now I have a baseball team that wants to hire me to create a site for them.  I need to get away from NetObjects if I want to be a serious programmer, and so I purchaced DreamWeaver and have been trying to get the hang of it.  What I want is a template that I can use to get myself started so the development won't take so long.  I will gradually learn DreamWeaver, especially throught the daily maintenance that will be required.  

1) Anyone know where to find something like this????

Secondly I am wondering if anyone could describe to me what kind of charges I should be looking for during the development process.  I don't want to overcharge, but I don't want to rip myself off either.  This site will probably consist of about 12 pages.  I would like to make it much better than my current site, so if you want to see what I have done it is the following link:


2) How much should I charge per hour, or for the site as a whole???

Thanks for any comments made.
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InternAuthor Commented:
btw: I would like a baseball template, with a Flash banner or some flash included.  I am also learning flash
hello intern,

here're my two cents:

what version of DW did you buy?  i'm currently using DW MX, and as far as templates go, it's loaded with them.  i've never used them, but when you click on:


and a list appears, asking what you'd like to create, scroll down to "page designs".  in that category there are lots of different designs to choose from, but as far as a themed site, such as baseball, you're going to have your work cut out for you locating a "template" like that, especially with flash built in :)

my suggestion is to pick a template from within dreamweaver that you feel has the look you'd like to see as far as layout, and keep that layout throughout the site, only changing the content throughout the pages.  keep the logo/navigation in the same areas, this will help users navigate easily throughout the site.  it sounds to me like you want a page that's basically designed already, and you just want to add some content, but i could be mistaken.  Dreamweaver is an excellent program, but it doesn't have anything like that built in.  simple flash banners are easy enough to design yourself, and there is much more satisfaction in that anyway.

now, pricing, my thoughts:

you don't really know enough about web design to be able to be fair in charging an hourly rate, at least it seems that way to me.  i feel like you should hear what they want as far as design goes, get a good feel for how long you feel it might take you to do, then think about how long it might take someone else to do it that has more experience than you.  based on that, i feel you should make your bill.  realistically, you're going to gain as much from creating the site as they will by having a site created, just in what you'll learn in the process.  the money is just an added bonus at this point.  be very fair, and realistic.  bid the whole site up front, so that no matter how long it takes you, they know how deep they're getting into cost.  i always give prices up front, as a rule.  everyone moves at different speeds, so it's only fair to bid.  there are a lot of things to consider in pricing too, like these:

is there going to be e-commerce?
any server side scripting?
just basic content and images?

these are my thoughts, and anything you add to what you've already said would help alot in gauging things better.



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Specific discussions about how much to charge per hour is most likely considered price-fixing, and we should all stay clear of that.

On the other hand, it's pretty much impossible for anyone else to determine how much your local market would value your websites. Your best bet would be to do a little market research, find out how much your competition is charging, and how much you think your client is willing to pay.

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I'm going to be BRUTALLY honest....

I don't think you should charge much at all. Do it really cheap, or on a volunteer basis, or ask for a donation to your favorite charity.

Why? Because you don't have any real skills yet, and it's going to take you 20 times longer than it would somebody else who has those skills. You need to tell them that, and right up front, so they know exactly what they're getting in this deal.

What you have as an example is fine -- for a personal site, done by someone who really is just running through the wizards. It's not a professional site, and you admit you're still learning.

I understand that you'll be doing something of value for them -- but they can certainly go out and buy Dreamweaver or FrontPage (much as I hate FP) for a few hundred bucks and do it themselves. If you ask for less than the cost of the software, they're still going to have to pay for maintenance -- which means they're dependent on you, when they might want to do that themselves.

You'll need to create graphics -- have you done that before? You'll need to edit photos, or perhaps even take some -- do you have the tools/skills for that? If you haven't worked with Flash, you'll need to learn that -- as well as HTML, and how to use DW, and what it does and doesn't do well (because no WYSI(N)WYG editor does everything well).

12 pages is not a large site. I can tell you from experience I've had with students who have taken on this type of thing, it will take you probably 10 hrs per page -- mostly because you don't know what you're doing and will have many, many things that flat out won't work, and will have to be redone or totally rethought. I've had students spend a WEEK of solid work on ONE page, because they don't understand what's going on and/or how to make it work.

And whatever you do, the client will want to change it after you've spent all that time working on it... ;-)

So think about it... if you do it as a volunteer effort, or VERY cheaply, advising them up front that it will take you much longer than someone with more skills, that's fine. But you most certainly can't ask whatever the going rate is for experienced web developers, because you're NOT experienced.  
InternAuthor Commented:

Thank you for being honest, I appreciate that.  But they already know my skills.  The person in charge is my Father-In-Law and he wanted to pay me way to much.  I was just trying to come up with a figure that might work for both of us.  

I understand it is a learning process, that is why I am taking this on.  I have only been taught plain old programming in school (C/C++, Assembly, blah, blah, blah).  I needed to do something else with my mind so that I would not be trapped into just programming.  I am planning on spending VERY long hours working on this, and learning all kinds of things.  I have already spent many hours creating the backbone of the site along with a Flash banner.

I will be competant enough to create a professional site, it will just take about a month to do (which is fine with them).  The only thing that I am really lacking is the skill to work with graphics.  I am OK using fireworks.  But I really would like to use Photoshop to create some cool graphics, the only problem is the price.  Kind of hard to stomach that price as a college student.  Would you have any other suggestions for graphics other than Photoshop?  or should I keep going with fireworks and freehand?

Anyway I reread this and it seems like a jumble of incoherent thoughts all put into one.  Sorry about that, kind of tired right now.  Thanks for the imput, it helped me think about some of the challenges that I may face.
Paint Shop Pro - http://www.jasc.com/products/paintshoppro/- is a very cheap alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Altough Photoshop is the industry standard, Paint Shop Pro is something you should look into if price is an issue.

Bad url, here's the right one:
If your just starting with flash I am going to recomend SWISH.

First of all, it's dirt cheap. Second of all, it is hands down SOOOO much easier than flash.

Good Luck with the web design. Don't be discouraged by the above. Everyone has to start somewhere. Family and friends could be the best.
Hi intern...

Here are some thoughts that may help if you're still interested.

Templates:  here is an interesting site with low-cost templates http://www.lynda-design.com/

You can find many, many more just doing a web search for "dreamweaver template"

As for where your work lies in the spectrum of experience and charging a fair rate, the posts above are correct in advising you to go light - but, you are playing in an entrepreneurial world and the bottom line rule of thumb is "supply and demand."  If you take advantage of your situation, it will catch up to you so it is better to start light and communicate your experience as you have.

This is your father-in-law and I am hearing that he wants you to earn a fair rate - consider this - if you don't absolutely need to earn a buck for your efforts for bills, consider a rate that allows you to buy PhotoShop and/or other top-shelf development tools if you plan to make a career out of this and let your father-in-law know what you are working to earn - he'll feel he is contributing to your future and you won't be taking advantage of a nice situation.  A simple site as your describing shouldn't cost more than $500.

Then, come back in a year and sell them on a new version of their site which takes advantage of your new talents!

For design of simple sites you should be able to earn from $30-75 - add more complicated programming and the rate should be $75-150 or more per hour.  But use that as a guide for you only to guestimate how much time a site should take multiplied by the rate.  Clients will typically desire a flat, fixed rate and be nervous taking on a deal for a flat hourly rate multiplied by God knows how many hours.  And, as posted, go light on your hours guestimate - you will surely take more time and eventually take much, much less.

Another thought if you grow with this - pay a graphic designer to create your future client's looks - they will be much better at it and take far less time.  Then add your rate for slicing up the graphic design, converting it to html and adding content and links.

One more thing, as for Flash, unless you are comfortable consider a .gif with motion.  Simple might be better unless you can do the same thing in Flash.

I hope this helps - for what its worth...
>>Specific discussions about how much to charge per hour is most likely considered price-fixing, and we should all stay clear of that.

I disagree completely - price fixing has to do with 2 companies supplying the same product, and agreeing on a price for the market. This is totally different. There's lots of sites in the US that list salaries for different professions:

Discussing how much current web design rates are in the market is completely realistic, good advice for someone starting out, and well within the constraints of this thread.
I agree with GM.  

*Discussing* pricing with people that provide the same services as you are, is called price fixing and is a federal offense in the U.S. Most western countries afaik have regulations on this. It is not uncommon by people who enter the web design world, without experience in business, to not know this.

Salary surveys  as offered by dice.com and salary.com are a different matter, they are surveys, snapshots of the current situation.

Price-fixing is not as much up to personal interpretation, qualified or not, as it is a legal interpretation of the antitrust laws in the US. Many of the professional forums I am part of in my industry, has explicit rules about this to prevent forum users to break antitrust laws.



I'm sorry klykken - but I still disagree. And I don't see anything on the page that would lead me to believe otherwise.

If you're referring to this:
Do not discuss prices with your competitors.

That "is not" what is being discussed here. By any means.
ddarby14 comment on Interns question about how much to charge is price-fixing as defined by the Sherman Act.

I see nothing wrong with the comments made so far. Indeed, they are helpful, considerate, and objective. Price fixing, again, is about 2 parties agreeing to charge a specific price for a product. We'll just have to agree to disagree. And with that I bow out :-)
Hi all...I see that an interesting conversation has evolved since I left!  This is probably not the place for this but I'll give a brief rebuttal...

The first assumption is that I am a web designer - I am not.  This is the premise of the Sherman Act and later the Clayton Act as mentioned by George, by George.

The second assumption is that I am price-fixing by collaborating with Intern to gain a competitive advantage or a monopoly as protected by Anti-trust laws - I don't believe anybody senses that going on here.

The third assumption is that I was giving specifics - looking at my post you can see that I too only gave snapshots - or ranges - of current marketplace conditions.

>>Your best bet would be to do a little market research.<<  That is precisely why Intern was posting here to research among the knowledgable without paying an arm and a leg for said research - short of broad research, such data is anything but cheap.

>>It is not uncommon by people who enter the web design world, without experience in business, to not know this.<<  My business experience is fairly broad and deep as opposed to Intern's and this was at the heart of his message - to gain wisdom and experience.  No fouls here except that I was not as brief as I promised!

Nonetheless, klykken, your energy and concern is appreciated.

Best wishes Intern...
Re - prices
Maybe the best thing to do would be to base the total cost of the job on the minimum basic hourly rate of pay (do they have that in the USA ?) and adjust it accordingly - bearing in mind that as a 'learner' you will take a lot longer than it would take an experienced designer and it wouldn't be fair to to pass on that extra cost to the client.  Maybe 50% of the minimum rate would be a fair starting point to negotiate from.
Well that's my viewpoint - the thing is, try to enjoy what you're doing and take as much out of it as possible for future reference.  Good luck and have a Happy Christmas.
Have you guys checked out the newest version of Netobjects Fusion?  7.5 is out and is incredible!

There is also a high end template source for Fusion - www.fusionfx.co.uk

I have always found fusion to be very easy, quick, yet powerful.

I have a few dynamic data driven sites done in it that would have taken forever in DW.
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