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Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 3 | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 3

Date January 29, 2008


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Customize Your Site Template(s) 

This step does require Web editing software. To ease your dilemma in choosing a Web editing package, I recommend Microsoft FrontPage. It’s widely used, widely supported and inexpensive. However, Microsoft is no longer upgrading or promoting FrontPage. But, you can still buy the latest version online.

If you absolutely abhor Microsoft, my next choice would be Adobe (formally Macromedia) DreamWeaver. This package offers more advanced features that may not be available in FrontPage. But, it will cost you. Either way, you’ll open your template files with the editor and add your own business information.

This step will probably be the most discouraging. Don’t let it be! Remember, learning a software program is like learning any software program. You just need to use it a few times before you feel comfortable. Also, remember that generating layout ideas and styles is the hardest part about Web design.

Making pre-packaged ideas come to life with an editor is the easy, and fun, way to design Websites. I once re-designed a site five different times. That was a lot of effort my clients didn’t want or care to see. Of course, I was just starting out so I didn’t limit the number of changes I would make for the price I quoted (don’t do that).

They wouldn’t have noticed if I’d plucked a template from my stash and customized it to their specs. Did I give them a solution they were happy with? Did I give them excellent customer service? You bet. The bottom line is that I solved their business problem. How I solved it didn’t matter in the end.

Before you start, make a copy of your template homepage (index.htm or index.html). Open this copy in your chosen editor. Now, just play with it. Move elements around. Look at the crazy code underneath. Click the different buttons and see what happens. View the file in a browser after you’ve made changes.

The great thing about Web design is that you can make corrections—sometimes on the fly. Web design requires no compiling and no waiting like a standard programming language. I recommend spending one hour per day for the next week just practicing. I guarantee within 2 weeks you will feel more than comfortable working your way through the software.

After a little practice, then you can buy a book. It will make more sense and you can actually learn more advanced tricks without having to wade through the beginner information. You’ll feel like a pro in no time!

Go to Step 4

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  1. Freelance Web Designer
  2. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 2
  3. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 5

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