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I do not use templates to create sites. Each website I create is coded by hand using my Standard Layout as a starting point. Most websites are built on a standard grid style layout and this layout gives my clients a framework to visualize their website. Most websites that use a CMS system are built using a 3x3 block layout rather than the simplified Header, Content, Footer layout. In the case of the more module CMS based systems, the 3x3 layout allows for more positions, but still allows for a symmetrical feel.

Our Standard Layout

This is the standard grid I (and many other designers) use to layout the web pages I create. It divides the page into three sections: a Header area, a Content area and a footer area. This standard layout can be used with almost any design. Below are a few examples of websites created with this layout.

Header Area

The Header area of your site should contain information common to all of the pages in your site. Your company name, logo, a top menu, search box, and a photo banner are some of the commonly used items in this area. Some sites also place social media connection icons in this area. Most often, the header area is divided into different "rows" with each row holding some information.

Content Area

The Content area of your site is the largest area on your page. The content area can be divided into vertical columns just as the header and footer area can be divided into multiple rows. Pages most often will have between one and three columns of information. If your page has one large content area this is a one column layout. In a two column layout a smaller left or right section will hold content such as navigation menus or special information while the larger area remaining will hold your main content. In a three column layout the two sides might hold items like navigation menus and the center area would hold the main content for the site. Many websites have one layout for the site Home page and then a second layout for the interior pages. An example of this would be my site. The home page has a three column layout, while most of the interior pages have a two column layout. This page has a one column content area. You can choose the exact layout for each of your pages - one, two or three columns.

Footer Area

The footer area like the header holds information common to all of the pages on your site. Often the footer section will contain items like a copyright statement or links to lesser visited pages such as a Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. It is also a popular place to put social media connection icons such as Facebook and Twitter. Some footers have a lot of information while others may only have a line or two. The footer can be anything you want and will appear the same on every page in your website.