April 10, 2009 8:16 AM EDT
Using website templates are a cost-saving measure, but rarely plug-and-play. If the files have been designed in HTML, you will still need to tweak the content to fit the provided spaces and will probably want a developer familiar with Cascading Style Sheets to have it match your business brand. Moreover, the templates usually come with image-based navigation elements that are to be edited in Photoshop or related software. For beginners, this is a time-waster. What will take you hours to attempt can be readily completed by a skilled graphic designer in minutes. Even templates that are supposedly easy require some knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP and while you may not create a website that is complete trash, it may also not match the the picture you had of it when purchasing the template. (Those were done by skilled designers, naturally, and they are designed to sell.)
In short, my advice to you and other web novices is to find a template and either hire a web developer to make it your own or purchase the add-on customization services that the template seller offers. Of course, purchasing a unique design, especially for simple sites, is still affordable.
If you would like to receive a quote on a project that you are ready to move forward, I would be happy to help.
---Tammi L. Coles
Archer Targeted Communication
Follow me on Twitter @archertc