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free website & FLASH template

 
 
brahmin
 
Fri 5 Mar, 2010 06:39 pm
Hi.
a friend of mine who has a rather plain website, is toying with the idea of upgrading the website, preferably with a descriptive flash animation to wow people. think is it may cost him 1000's of dollars. i want to help him a bit.

do anyone of you know some free or cheap website builder sites/templates?
also are similar free flash templates available?? i know websites can be built free.

once more thank you very much for your help.

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brahmin
 
  1  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 08:03 am
@brahmin,
no one used templates??
0 Replies
 
brahmin
 
  1  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 07:10 pm
please someone help me with this if you know.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 08:02 pm
@brahmin,
Our fellow member Sozobe started a similar thread years ago. She ended up using a service called SiteKreator. I remember her saying she was happy with it, but I haven't used it myself.

www.SiteKreator.com

Good luck!
sozobe
 
  1  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 08:13 pm
@Thomas,
Hi there,

Yes, I'm very happy with it! It's really flexible. There are evidently other templates that are even cheaper/ free (Sitekreator does have some free templates, they just have fewer bells and whistles than the ones you have to pay for).

I have a package for $20/ month that does pretty much everything you could hope for. Thomas' link will take you to an overview (it's kind of complicated to find the free/ extra cheap packages, let me know if you're interested and can't find them).
0 Replies
 
brahmin
 
  1  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 09:37 pm
yes thank you both of you. I will check sitekreator out tomorow when i have the day off.

And yes i would be interested in other alternatives if there are some more. Also does Site creator give any option to incorporate an animated flash bit?? My friend would love to get a flash animation in the site to wow people but it is too costly in the market, so a free/cheap flash creator website is also something i am looking out for,
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:12 pm
@brahmin,
I got your PM, and I can help with a couple of recommendations:

1) The flash idea is probably dumb, only about 5% of the time flash is used is it a good idea (e.g. youtube, that is a good idea). I'll point you at ways you can smear that crap on the site if you want but it's an amateur hour move.

2) Free templates (ranging from simple css layout grids to full graphic templates and all):

http://www.opendesigns.org/
http://www.ostemplates.org/
http://www.mycelly.com/
http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/resources/101-high-quality-css-and-xhtml-free-templates-and-layouts-part-1-2/

I have thousands of commercial templates I own the rights to, and if you really can't find anything I can find a way to get some of them to you (we are talking gigs of stuff so hopefully you can find something on your own).

3) Free site creator:

First a caveat, any site creator that includes hosting (like sitekreator) I would avoid like the plague for anyone not looking for simplicity only. It's niche is just that it is super easy but if you are halfway serious about your site you should avoid stuff like that that locks you into bad hosting prices just for the setup simplicity. You can't take your site somewhere else, it's lock-in.

So if you don't care about the site at all and just want to get the job done they are fine, but if you care about the future of the site it is so much better and not much more difficult to use out-of box software to create your site instead. Even free is a bad price for them because you are stuck there, you can't take what you build with you. Using something like wordpress is what I would recommend instead, you just download the files, upload them make a database and then run the install script. It literally takes 5 to 10 minutes and you can then find hundreds of themes and plugins to customize it. And don't think this is just for blogs either, have a look at this site Nick (a2k's developer) and his wife just launched (the design is professional for multiple K, but the whole site runs on wordpress but you'd never know if I didn't tell you): http://www.leahashley.com/

So with that in mind I recommend you look for what is called a "CMS" (content management system) as those are just barely more difficult than the site creators to setup and once they are they are just as easy to use and more powerful. More importantly, you still have freedom to move to a new host (and you can get perfectly fine hosting for as low as $5/month so sitekreator and ilk's $20 hosting is a rip off, you can host dozens of sites on your $5/month account and for $20 you can get a good VPS (virtual private server).

Here are two sites that let you compare between the hundreds of CMS options there are out there (with demos and all):

http://www.cmsmatrix.org/
http://php.opensourcecms.com/


Or if you just want to generate a template or something you can use the following site to customize and download a template.

http://www.dotemplate.com/

4) Not free, but cheap templates:

http://www.4templates.com/
http://www.templatemonster.com/ - this is the biggest template site online, and here you can find all that flash crap if you want for around $50 a piece.

5) Cheap labor:

Sure, a real designer in the US may run you a couple grand for a full site design, but you can get cheap custom design too.

http://www.logoworks.com/website-design-pricing.html - this is an HP company mainly focused on cheap, low-quality logos (I have yet to use a single logo I purchased from them, even though they tried their best to please me with extra revisions and went the extra mile logo design is inspiration and you can't buy that cheap without luck) but they also do cheap sites (as low as $550 for a single layout.

Then there are many freelance markets where you may be able to get a flash header for $50 or something, and a site for a couple hundred. Here are some of those:

http://www.elance.com/
http://www.guru.com/
http://www.rentacoder.com/
http://www.freelancer.com/
http://www.project4hire.com/
http://www.ifreelance.com/
http://www.freelancedesigners.com/
http://www.getacoder.com/

Thing is, those sites let almost anyone bid so pay attention to their reputation systems (previous history, reviews etc) and know that when you pay an Indian kid a couple bucks to do a bunch of work he won't be as reliable as the Indian kid you pay a couple hundred bucks for and so on and so forth.

You get what you pay for is what I am saying, and while you can get perfectly good work from overseas you can also get really bad stuff and the long distance work relationship, time zone differences, and language barriers may make communication more difficult.

These marketplaces work best when you are very explicit about what you want, as the sites often serve as a form of escrow and you can put the case into arbitration. If you are explicit about what the project is then you can win the arbitration if they fail to meet the exact specifications and deadlines. So do your homework if you want to cut costs.

Remember, you can only pick two of the following:

Good, fast, cheap.

Hosted site creators are just fast.

Templates are cheap and can be good.

CMS is cheap and good and can be fast (just the least fast for beginners of this bunch).

Cheap freelancing is obviously cheap, but might not always be good or fast (I've had many projects go dead on me on some of those marketplaces).

Anyway, that is all I can think of for now. Good luck.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Sun 7 Mar, 2010 01:16 am
@brahmin,
brahmin wrote:
My friend would love to get a flash animation in the site to wow people

A few words of caution about that. Flash might have "wow"ed people 10 years ago, but the time is long past for generating a "wow" factor with Flash animations. Indeed, they usually annoy me. I try to avoid sites that feature them. The safest way to impress visitors with your website is the same today as 15 years ago: Have something to say.

But don't let that keep you from doing what you think is right. It's your friend's website, not mine.

***

Robert, it's good to see you posting again.

Oh, I just read your message. I see your feelings about Flash are the same as mine.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Sun 7 Mar, 2010 02:04 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
A few words of caution about that. Flash might have "wow"ed people 10 years ago, but the time is long past for generating a "wow" factor with Flash animations. Indeed, they usually annoy me. I try to avoid sites that feature them.


I'd go on to say that not only do they actually look bad to most people but they fundamentally break the site. They make it slower and less compatible. It's a non-standard part of the web that should be used only where the standard part just can't cut it. And HTML 5 aims at doing exactly that.

Want an example? Nobody with an iphone will see it. They will see a big empty box. Use a standard technology (images, animate them if you want) and everyone sees your eye candy. Another? Search engines don't work with it as well as standard text and markup. Search engines are important.

Eye candy can be good, flash eyecandy is almost always bad and if your friend wants the typical flash header with auto play audio he might as well just make a site on his own hard drive because only the person who picks it can stand listening to it and everyone else who suddenly gets a speakerful is clicking away in a microsecond.


Quote:
Oh, I just read your message. I see your feelings about Flash are the same as mine.


So we both think it's the spawn of Satan? Yeah, I clearly feel strongly about it, I just used your post to launch into an anti-flash intro/header rant for brahmin.
0 Replies
 
brahmin
 
  1  
Sun 7 Mar, 2010 05:12 pm
thanks very much robert and thomas.

no he doesnt want to host the site somewhere else. in fact he has some space bought already where he is hosting his present plain-jane site. so we are looking to make the site easily somewhere and then transfer it. Flash is optional not needed but somehow he is keen on that.

thank again.
0 Replies
 
 

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