LESSON #31: Using Templates and Site Builders

By | February 3, 2009

Within the past few lessons, I showed you how to build a basic website with HTML and how to use an HTML editor.

Today I’m going to show you a way that is even easier (but not always better)…

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

  • Templates are great times savers. (Ex. a Letter template in Word, report template in Excel, CD cover template for Photoshop, website templates, etc.)

  • If you’ve built one website, you can use it as a template for your next website (ex. I took my template from EricsTips.com and used it to save time when I built LOLministry.com and KaitlynStover.com.

  • Remember that a website template is a TEMPLATE 🙂 You need to customize it to make it your own unique site (you can customize it using the HTML methods from the previous lessons).

  • Web Authoring Software vs. “Site builders”

    Here are my personal definitions…

    Web authoring software – You tell it what to do… you only get out what you put in. (ex. FrontPage, Dreamweaver, KompoZer, etc.)

    Site builder – It does most of the work for you (usually template driven). You put in some required variables, and it produces an entire website.

    Some “hybrid” programs blur the line. A software that gives the best of both worlds is: XSitePro

    What I like about site builders…

    -they’re easy
    -they’re fast
    -some of them build attractive sites

    What I don’t like…

    -the HTML coding is often sub-par
    -Could create footprints that the search engines may not like
    -Often tied to hosting/subscription

    (watch video above for demo of Hostgator site builder)

    UPDATE: Here is another site builder that I reviewed: Site Profit Bot Demo and Review

    Action steps:

    1) Decide if you would like to use a template or a site builder to build your site.

    2) If yes, choose one and start using it.

    In the next lesson I’ll be covering membership sites!

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below 🙂

    Have a great day!

  • 153 thoughts on “LESSON #31: Using Templates and Site Builders

    1. make own music

      Hello Eric… I like Dreamwaever, because it is generating a clean code, it is a wysiwyg editor, and you can work on the quellcode.

      All the best,

    2. Edward

      Hey Eric:

      Being your fan since I bought your PLR product and your webinar with PPC Classroom.

      Why would google penalized publisher that use templates due to footprint? Isn’t most of the WP Themse are templates also and therefore have lots of footprint too? Quite frankly I am a bit confuse about footprint. I thought everysite have some form of footprint. In my mind footprint means having “similarity” am I correct Eric? If that is true, then all website have some form of similarity or am I wrong? For exmaple, like all html websites, it start with the followig codes – HTML, then HEAD, then BODY, then DIV codes and so on. Is this flow consider “footprint” then? I would appreciate very much if you can help me to understand.

      Lastly, what is consider a good code or clean code in Web designing and a bad code in webdesigning? What does a bad coding do to a website?

      Thanking you in advance Eric and I will look forward to your response and advise.


    3. Eric Post author

      Good question. Yes most websites have similar elements, such as the HTML tags you mentioned.
      And some systems such as wordpress to create similar elements also.

      My understanding of what google might look for in regard to “footprints” are specific elements found in common among what it considers to be “spammy” or low-quality websites.

      I would not worry about common HTML tags. What I would be concerned about is using templates or site builders that are often used in spammy methods. In that regard, using WordPress COULD be a concern. I also think that Google is smart enough that they wouldn’t penalize WordPress sites across the board. But I think that they can and do penalize sites built by some site-builder/page-generator methods.

      As far as what’s considered to be clean code, you can check the actual standard here:

      Bad coding can affect the way a site is displayed, it can affect how quickly it loads, and it might even affect SEO.

    4. Edward

      Hello Eric:

      I really apprecaite your prompt response and unlike many blogs I have been to, you are truly true to your words in responding to the comments posted on you sites. I am really impressed. Unfortunately not too many so call “gurus” do it. They want us to leave comments/questions on their blog but they wont response to it individually like the way you do.

      One last thing Eric, what is consider spammy and low quality websites by google then? What kind of specific “elements” do google consider to be unacceptable footprint then?

      Thank you,


    5. Eric Post author

      You can see google’s quality guidelines here:


      For example, one of their guidelines is regarding doorway pages:


      So if they find a bunch of sites with doorway pages, they might notice that all those pages have similar elements because they were made by the same page generator.

      It’s not so much specific elements that would be considered an unacceptable footprint. It’s the page itself that is unacceptable, and they are merely looking at the footprint as a way of identifying similarly unacceptable pages.

    6. Joyce

      Hostgator Site Builder or Site Profit Bot which do you prefer and why.

    7. Eric Post author

      Depends on what kind of site you’re building. If you’re simply monetizing unused domains, I would prefer SBP because it’s so fast and it has monetization built-in.

      If you’re creating a sales letter type of site, then the HG site builder would be better, because SBP is not designed for it. But I would definitely recommend XSitePro over the HG Site builder (but still host the site at HG). And if you would prefer a blog type of site, then I definitely recommend WordPress, which will be covered in the upcoming lessons.

    8. mk akan

      thanks a lot Mr eric…been following your videos and all…i checked out the lolministry and loved the look of the site…it is simply beautiful.what template did you use and where did you get it…i mean other availaible ones.that is..thank you

    9. Eric Post author

      Thanks 🙂 It’s a variation of a theme called silverlight, which I modified myself.

    10. Presentacion dela Cruz

      Hi! Eric,

      Great lesson as usual but I have to read some lessons several times to understand especially the high tech ones. In time, with your kind of training I will surely be good to apply those lessons on my own.

    11. David Duncan

      Hey Eric
      Awesome info, I am learning so much and enjoying the way you deliver it in such a clear and factual way. How current is site profit bot? and do you think it has any limitations, eg any type of business it would not be suitable for, such as direct sales, affiliate or mlm ?
      Cheers David

    12. Sean Breslin

      Good lesson Eric… Agree with you about certain template driven programmes… Happy with XsitePro myself. Looking forward to your membership lesson!

    13. Ifeanyi

      Thanks Eric for this great info. I think I am gonna make a better web designer following your tips. I am going to go back and take all the other lessons because most paid stuffs don’t give half what I’ve got in this lesson.
      Thanks a lot

    14. ricardo

      God bless you even more Eric…people like you make me believe in human beings again …sharing all this crucial information to start a business on line…I haven’t started yet but I already know I will start on the right track because of you…

    15. Gary Nagy

      Hi Eric,

      I have been using a sitebuilder and have dedicated quite a bit of time to it. As you mention, being reliant on a particular host is a big disadvantage. As an experiment I went to my site’s homepage and viewed and copied the source. Then I saved it as an .html document using notepad++ (as you taught in a previous lesson). When I opened it, I was delighted and surprised to see that it saved every page, picture, and file of the site! Then I thought about it. Would it possibly be a copywright infringement if I saved the code and uploaded it to another host since I used thier templates? Of course I need to keep everything legal.

    16. Eric Post author

      You would most likely be OK, since there are probably numerous people using that same template.

      The only way to know for sure would be to find out the specific license terms of the template.

    17. edwin

      Thanks for the info ive got a site im working on your lessions are great help to me thx..

    18. Bill

      Stay away from Site Profit Bot as I purchased it but never received a download link/passwords. He did not respond to email and his supprt ticket system is broken. So I have no way to communicate with him and no way to get a refund on top of that Paypal has denied my request for a refund via their resolution process eventhough there is a 60 day “no questions asked” guaranteed refund.
      I intend to call Paypal on the phone to see if it can be resolved.

    19. Prue

      You are certainly a blessing. You have all the tools and resources to help. God has truly gifted you. What better way to show your gratitude than giving knowledge to others.

      All the questions I have are being answered.

      Thank you so much.

    20. Paul Goulart

      Hey Erir;

      Do you consider Host Gators site build it a good way to go? Is there a ‘footprint’ that google doesn’t like? What about SEO? All in one seo pack, xml sitemaps etc.? Because, if these type sites do not include the basic’s, what good are they?

    21. Eric Post author

      I think it’s fine, and don’t see any footprint problems. But it’s not ideal for SEO, and I do not think it’s an ideal solution for the type of business we are building. A much better solution for most people is to install WordPress on their site (can be done with a few clicks in your Hostgator control panel). I explain this in lesson #33-36.

    22. Rick

      I have a few sites with godaddy website tonight and I like it a lot more than RVsitebuilder.. most recently I have been editing templates to make them my own with html, css, etc. Whole new world of skill needed but much cheaper.

      Thanks for your lessons – new member here

    23. Harry

      How do I get the lessons that I have not got on my list I try to saved them in my email and some how lesson 32 is not there. some where I seen how to go down all the videos and now I can;t get back to them somebody please help me

    24. Murray

      Not sure where to put this comment but here goes:
      Have you used Multisite which is available in WordPress 3? It is not a templated approach as such but it does mean that the superadmin can manage most theme and plugin updates in one hit.

    25. Murray

      Forgot to mention that I loved the songs on kaitlyn’s site. You are going to get me seriously back to God if you’re not careful.

    26. Micah

      Hello Murray,

      No, we haven’t used that yet, but it sounds interesting. We’ll definitely have to look into it!

    27. Marija

      Hi Eric,
      Thank you for this lesson. I prefer to use templates and here I miss some suggestion where to get aome good free templates.
      Could you please send me lesson#10 to download dictionary again. I have lost it. Thank you. Marija

    28. Mark Lewis

      Thank, Eric. Cool lesson. I am way behind right now, i got slow up when i couldn’t create the sample html in lesson 29. Still haven’t but i think Micah might have open my eyes. I hope so.



    29. Eva

      Eric great lesson , i am new to xsitepro just got my first site on the internet , but i am still learning their seo system and how to fix errors i am creating .
      It sounds easy but you need to practice specially if you mixed up some stuff .
      I wish their forum would be faster to help sometimes takes days and sometimes no one will answer .
      I still have difficult time how to redirect snippets as they are in java , maybe you could make some tutorials on redirecting , pictures and banners are easy but java script gives me a headache 🙂
      Thanks for being great teacher for the beginners i really appreciate this

    30. Richard

      Hi Eric, Great Teachings, I Am Learning A Lot.
      You mention that instant site builders are to be avoided,I have invested much time learning the tools you mention. I am interested in the Site Profit Bot Software you are promoting. If I Purchase this, can I then forget all about following any further teachings, and just wait for the money to flood into my bank account?

    31. Eric Post author

      Well that would be nice wouldn’t it? No. Tools like SPB can be a useful tool within your business, but it’s NOT a replacement for building your business.

    32. Moureen

      Hi Eric,thank you for the lessons,they have been truly helpful to me in getting started in affiliate marketing.I am a newbie and am stuck 🙁
      here’s my story…
      i joined cb,found a good product to promote,registered a domain name,web hosting,installed wordpress.I have written a sales page for the product (in ms word),am now stuck on how to upload it to wordpress and what are the best ways to market it? please help

    33. Micah

      Hello Moureen,

      You don’t need to upload your sales page, but may simply paste what you’ve created as a “new page” from within your WordPress Admin panel.

      Here is the link to Eric’s lesson called, Introduction to Web Traffic:

      LESSON #72: Introduction to Web Traffic

    34. Anna

      Hi Eric
      These lessons are great. I am learning so much.

    35. Mike

      Your lessons have been extremely helpful in grasping a whole array of educating us on starting up an internet business and building a website. I am trying to get my daughter engaged in her down time and we will build and test together. What fun.

    36. Dean

      I am a newbie and got your IM tech training 2.0 course. Is the info pertaining to wordpress in that course the same as whats offered in the hot niche firesale. As you mentioned in lesson 3, stop buying stuff. I am intrigued by the possibilities that wordpress offers and am thinking of putting my efforts in that direction. At the present I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands to compare the two before the sale ends. Your input on this would be greatly appreciated.

    37. Steve

      Good material for basic IM training. My only suggestion would be to change your bumper music for the intro. It’s similar to the bumper music on Seinfeld sitcom and both grate on my nerves!

    38. Micah

      Hello Dean,

      No the products have different creators. The content is not the same. Also, the Hot Niche Firesale lets you create niche websites, whereas the Video Firesale is a video training course.

    39. Jorge

      Eric thanks for this lesson has been informative and helpful to your team best wishes Jorge

    40. Chris

      Hi Eric, stop me if I’m wrong, but, all of these lessons, we are up to #31 and we are learning how to build and post websites, doesn’t your push button marketer do all that, I mean that’s what got my attention in the first place.

      1. Micah

        Hello Chris,

        With Push Button Marketer, you can automate all of those tasks:

        But, it’s also important to learn the skills for how to do those things manually, via these lessons! With the knowledge gained, you will find better ways to get the Push Button Marketer/Macro Marketer software to automate tasks specific to your business.

    41. Eseigbe

      Good Day Eric. I love the lessons so far . Nice rendition of the basics of online marketing. But I have one or two issues to contend with. The first is that Nigerians cant get any of your products suggested by you because my country is not listed on your payment platform. The second is that the HTML tips on Lesson #29 is not working for me even though I have done it severally just as you configured it. Am using Windows Vista. Could it be that i need a special software to make this work? Please respond as soon as possible. Thanks.

      1. Micah

        Hello Eseigbe,

        The best solution we have at present, would be to find someone who could make purchases on your behalf, and then send the products to you.

        We’ve heard success stories from nearly every country, but I don’t know any marketers from your country personally.

        We recommend that you view the following inspiring article and user comments:

        Ladan Lashkari: If this girl can succeed – so can you!

        This can help you when there are business restrictions that must be overcome in your country.

        Here is a link that should help you to be able to view the videos properly:

        Trouble Viewing Flash Videos – SOLUTIONS

        If the video still will not play, sometimes the easiest solution is to use a different web browser, such as Chrome, FireFox, IE, etc…

    42. Steven

      Great information! I am looking at launching a social networking website. Any suggestions on site builders? I looked through the templates offered through HostGator, but didn’t see any that offered a good starting point. Elgg, SocialGO, and Ning are some options I’ve seen, but I was hoping for your opinion. Thanks again Eric!


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