Save Money: Template Your Web Site

February 1, 1998

Your Web site probably includes static information, such as points of interest and links. It also most likely includes changing information, such as a page for each of your current listings.

You hired a professional to design the original site, but you prefer not to keep paying the designer every time you change or add a listing. By having the designer create a cascading style sheet that defines the layout of your listing pages, you’ll be free of the ongoing design fee.

Like desktop publishing systems, which apply templates to text so that you can create newsletters and other materials that have a professional look and feel, cascading style sheets are HTML templates that can be applied to any Web page. The style sheets can define margin settings, background images, font size, image placement, white space, and wrapping, among other elements. Just have the style sheets designed by a Web developer--currently no software does this--and use them over and over again.

Basically, style sheets let you separate content from layout. For example, type text and locate pictures on a page using Microsoft Word or any word processor that lets you "save as HTML." Add a preset style sheet code to your page and save the page as HTML. Finally, send the page to your Web server, and you’ll have added a new listing to your site consistent with the design of all the others.

Extra Reading and Tutorials

To learn more about cascading style sheets, visit the World Wide Web Consortium Web site (the group that sets standards for the Web) at www.w3.org/ or C/Net’s style sheet tutorial at builder.com: www.cnet.com/Content/Builder/Authoring/CSS/ss12.html?bl.fd.coolgif2

Jack Harper is a technology expert and REALTOR®.

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