Help - I Want To Redesign My Company Website, But Where Do I Start

Update: I added what I think might be my favorite site -- Slicehost (and, yes, they are my current hosting provider).

I am in the market to redesign my company website.

A few months ago, I put version 1.0 of the Twin Roots website out to the public. It is based on a free template that I thought was interesting and relatively unique (for something that is free). But I knew all along that it was only a temporary stopgap until I decided I wanted to get serious and get a more permanent design for Twin Roots established.

Well that time has come, and you know what, I am as confused and perplexed as ever on where to begin. Here are some things I know:

  • I am not a good front end or graphic designer. I have no shame in admitting that. Thus, that's why I am looking around for a "3rd party" alternative.
  • I am open to free templates, free templates that can be modified, paid templates, or a real life person doing the web design
  • I am willing to pay money for the website design (whether template or web designer), but I am not willing to break the bank. For what I currently want, I have a top threshold price that I know I shouldn't go over.
  • I want a clean, crisp look (see below for examples of sites that I really like)
  • I have no e-commerce need yet; this is currently a purely informational site
  • I like my logo; simple, clean, yet unique. So I want that incorporated into the site.

But, where to start is actually quite mind boggling. There are an infinite number of template websites, tons of "Bid For Design" sites, many individual website designers offering their services (but whom I don't know personally), etc. Do I use a Wordpress CMS theme or something else? Many questions are running through my mind.

Here is what I found in my research:

And I have just hit the tip of the iceberg.

Any advice on a sane, coherent process to get a new website for my company would be MUCH appreciated.


Using A Website Template For Your Business

I have a need for 2 websites:

  • One of my business ideas has as its foundation an informational website. In other words, the information on the website is how I would make money, either through ads or subscriptions.
  • The other website would be my company website.

I am not a web designer, by any means. My artistic ability is near nil. So starting a website from scratch seems counterproductive.

However, I am technically savvy and, maybe to my detriment sometimes, like to try technical projects myself before going off and hiring someone to do it for me.

I am considering choosing and using website templates from Open Source Web Design for both of my website ventures.

My reasoning is that there are many free, artistically viable templates that I can start with such that some of that legwork has been started for me. I can then take the source code and modify it to match my needs. Also, did I say they are free!

I have heard mixed thoughts around using canned website templates for business ventures.

Some of those against citing that you don't want your website to look like any possible shady (e.g. porn) websites. Others against the idea say if you don't know what you are doing enough that you need to use a template, then you should just hire a professional to do the work correctly.

However, people for the idea say if you use modifiable templates (e.g. open source), you can customize the site enough to make it look original and provide a unique look and feel value proposition for your business.

I am hoping to hear from people for and against the "use a template for your website" idea. Specific case examples would be great.

Let the comments roll.....