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For new, small or developing business, website design and development can be a daunting, if not expensive, endeavor. While there are more “web designers” out there than you can shake a stick at, finding the right one at the right price can be difficult.

One option, for the more technically intrepid, is to create your own site based on templates. If you have some knowledge of HTML and have the time, this option can save you money. The trick is to find a well-designed template that closely approximates your vision for your website. There are several free design template directories on the web, but finding the good designs can be a lengthy process. The following are a few of the better opensource design template directories that I’ve come across:

  • TemplateNavigator: A big catalogue of free website and flash templates.
  • OSWD: Huge collection of free web design templates.
  • CSS Tinderbox: Basic design templates that get you well on your way.
  • OpenWebDesign: A huge and active community that shares free web design templates.
  • Open Designs: A non-profit design community that reviews each design submitted before allowing it on their site.
  • Free CSS Templates: Another large and frequently updated design template catalogue.

These 6 sites should provide you with some good starting point templates. Take your time and review several designs before making your choice. Your website will only be as good as the foundation upon which you’ve built it. These templates should get you up and running, letting you decide later when to bring in a consultant or web developer.