David

Interview with David Braun from TemplateMonster

We had the opportunity to communicate with David Braun (co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com) recently. TemplateMonster is a marketplace featuring 46,000 templates for many different types of websites.

Why should Web Professionals care about this?

  • TemplateMonster can save you time
  • Templates exist for major platforms (WordPress, Drupal, and much more)
  • This means you can speed your workflow

David Braun is a co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com. This company is the oldest and the most experienced on the market in this area. We invited David to talk and provided some questions for our discussion.

David Braun, co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com

David Braun, co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com

What is TemplateMonster.com from your point of view?

TemplateMonster has become a marketplace now. It features 46,000 pre-designed templates crafted for different types of sites, business niches, and engines including the most popular platforms: WordPress, WooCommerce, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, PrestaShop, and Moto CMS. Our aim is to meet the requirements of as many customers as possible. We offer plenty of cool stuff apart from the ready-made templates. For instance, landing pages, plugins, email templates and many other products. 100k people are visiting the site every day. A team of 427 geeks is working for TemplateMonster. Their joint efforts let TemplateMonster reach $15M in revenue.

Template Monster landing page

Why should web professionals care about companies like TemplateMonster?

Because it’s beneficial for them. Cooperating with TemplateMonster frees their time, speeds their workflow, and lets them earn much more money.

Today all business owners understand how important it is to promote their services/products online. But not every entrepreneur is ready to pay for custom design, hire a developer, and create their online presentation from scratch.

They want to get their website within a reasonable budget, they want it to be quality, to look good, work flawlessly, and don’t wait for ages before their project will go live.

Web design agencies can cater to all these needs if they use our templates.

Tell me about the history of the company and how it was launched.

TemplateMonster was founded in 2002. Can you imagine that: people around the globe used our products when you knew nothing about Facebook and YouTube. We watched the evolution of the web and were proud to contribute into it. Hundreds of thousands websites you see today were built on the basis of our templates.

How everything started… I had been working at a custom design studio then. We tried our best to deliver top-quality products, but, unfortunately, most of our potential customers considered our services too expensive for them.

One day, I saw a designer who used a ready-made template to simplify and speed up his job. That was the moment when an idea to launch TemplateMonster crossed my mind. Eventually, this idea started to turn into a successful business.

Our company has held a leading position in the market for almost 15 years. Of course not all days were fine for us. We survived the rainy ones when something went totally wrong with our products. We got negative testimonials. And the bitter truth is that some of them were true. However, most of them referred to our outdated templates. What did we do? We just removed them from our marketplace.

They say “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. And even negative feedback can be useful. We thoroughly analyzed it and took the right turn. We got deeper understanding of what our customers need, and gave it to them.

Example of a templateMonster template

Thanks for sharing your history. Why should one rely on a template?

Both entrepreneurs with little to no development skills and professional developers use our templates. All our customers get their benefits from our products.

The best thing about templates is that TemplateMonster’s customers see the final result, a ready-made product before paying any money for it.

Templates save time, money, efforts, nerves, whatever, and guarantee satisfaction with the future website.

What are the advantages of this approach instead of coding all by hand (or using Foundation or Bootstrap or other frameworks)?

Entrepreneurs get independence from designers, coders, and other professionals who sometimes overrate their work and don’t meet the deadlines. They don’t need to spend hours and hours searching for a responsible, skillful freelancers who may design something that they may be disappointed with in the end. As I have mentioned above, at TemplateMonster you see the final result at once. In other words, you see a ready-made product you are paying for. All you need to do is just replace the default content with your own.

Suppose you are just getting started and have no idea how to install the template, add your logo and other content, change colors, etc. You think only about the ways to generate more revenues and have no desire to mess with all those things.

So, you want to skip installation, customization or, say, integration with Google Analytics. Then, contact our Service Center. Our trained professionals will take care of everything and deliver you a ready-to-use site within 24 hours. Some tasks are completed even faster, i.e.: we install the template and plugins within 3 hours. There’s no issue members of our Service Center can’t cope with.

As to the coders knowing Bootstrap and other frameworks. Developers who are able to build sites themselves pay money for our products because it is advantageous for them.

With the help of our templates, developers considerably speed up their working process. They deliver more projects and earn more money respectively. We have a vast choice of templates in stock, which means that anyone can find the theme that meets the requirements even of the most picky customers. Creating something from scratch simply makes no sense if our marketplace offers so many ready-made designs. It’s like reinventing the wheel. Smart developers prefer to customize something here and there and deliver the website to the customer as quickly as possible.

I would like to tell you about the project we have launched not so long ago. It gives developers from all over the world an opportunity to get an official certificate from TemplateMonster that proves their skills. They just need to complete a course and then pass a final test (or pass the quiz at once) at our Certification Center. Having a certificate from a globally recognized web design company is a great way to improve your online image and look more credible for the customers.

Besides, having the certificate from TemplateMonster lets you get into Web Studios Catalogue, which gives a heap of additional opportunities.

You raise good points about certification. That is why Web Professionals has been certifying web designers, developers and more for so nearly 20 years.

What are the disadvantages of using a template?

Ok, you caught me;). It’s a tricky question, but I will answer it.

There is an opinion that using a template you fall under the risk to be unoriginal. If you’re going to use a template, then the chances are that you’re not alone, that’s the truth. But what is your chance of seeing a similar website on the Internet among millions of websites if you have bought your template from a marketplace like TemplateMonster with its terrific choice especially after customization? To my mind they are next to nothing. However, if it is crucial for you to be the one and only owner of the design, you can buy it out.

The quality of available templates varies, but in some cases, you might find the choices are rather basic. Some templates rely on you to fill in most of the gaps, and may have a poor set of graphics or visual elements. Frankly speaking I don’t see a big problem here as filling the template with your own content makes your website unique.

Using a template is unchallenging. Relying on templates to put together your projects, means you don’t get the benefits of learning the ins and outs of the software you’re using. But don’t you think that this is the essence of the template – to speed up and simplify the process of website launch? Not all entrepreneurs want to learn to code, design, and so on. They just want to get their benefit from the brand new website asap. A template gives them this possibility. In case they want to study everything that was left behind the scenes, they can sign up for one of our free educational projects (like “Your web studio in 61 days marathon“) and make up leeway.

61 days marathon

Templates are naturally designed to help you get the results as quickly and easily as possible, but in many cases the customization options can be limited, restricting what you can do with your files. That’s why it is important to read the template’s documentation carefully before the purchase. Don’t want to read? Watch the short video from our playlist on YouTube. Don’t want to watch the video or can’t find the relevant one, ask the support manager. They are always available to answer all your questions and help to choose the right template for your purchase. Don’t worry, the guys will work until you are 100% satisfied.

What other products/services do you offer?

2016 became the year when our team focused on developing flagship templates. They are much more multi-faceted compared to our regular products. Let me explain the things with using flagships on the example of WordPress templates. Of course I can’t help mentioning the recent release of Monstroid2 – Multipurpose WordPress Theme. It’s not an ordinary template, it’s a whole toolkit to build an online magazine, business site, personal portfolio, web store, whatever. You can create a complex portal combining several types of sites into one as well. Supposing you want the impossible from a single template: to present your company, plus share some interesting info with clients and sell products at the same time. It’s hard to believe, but using Monstroid2, you can build a business site, add blog and store functionalities to it. Monstroid2 is a one size fits all solution for all the needs you may have.

Here’s how it was. At first we created a flagship for WordPress because it’s the most popular CMS in the world. But then we decided to develop flagships for all popular engines: Joomla, OpenCart, PrestaShop, etc.

But that’s not all, we didn’t forget about the guys who don’t use any CMS at all. You can find new flagships among HTML5 templates. You already know that it’s one of our goals to meet the needs of everyone who comes to TemplateMonster marketplace.

Please note that we don’t charge more for flagship products. You can get any of them for the price of a regular template. Considering professional 24/7 support that we provide for a lifetime, our flagships are the best deals you can find on the market today.

It also should be mentioned that the users can figure out everything by themselves, without professional help. Every template comes well documented. The instructions guide the users through all ins and outs of using it. There are also numerous detailed tutorials at our Help Center and Startup Hub for those of you who are just at the start or want to learn how to handle their template by themselves. What’s more, we run a blog to share a lot of educational content with our audience, particularly, free eBooks, webinars, tips, tools to become more productive, and much more. At TemplateMonster, you won’t just learn how to build beautiful and functional websites lightning-fast, you’ll learn to enjoy the job.

What differentiates you from the competition?

The cost and value of our products comes to my mind first. Our prices are not higher than the ones of our competitors. If you want to save, just search Google and you will always find promo codes to reduce the price by 10%-40%. We always offer great discounts on Christmas, Independence Day, and other public holidays.

Sometimes you find out that the price for this or that template is a bit higher, but, remember about the value we provide. All our customers get more goodies as bonuses to their templates. For example, all our products, except for GPL WordPress themes, are delivered with HD images shown in the demo. It’s a good opportunity to save, as there’s no need to buy stock photos. At TemplateMonster, you can also benefit from free professional technical support.

How long are your templates supported?

TemplateMonster is the only website developer that provides this service for a lifetime without charging any extra payment now. Our competitors provide it for free only for a limited period.

I don’t think it’s fair. Some people don’t use the template straight away. It’s your right to decide when to use the product you paid for. But with a time limit on free support, you’ll have to pay extra money to get consultation, say, in half a year or stay on your own with your issues.

This is not our method. We are ready to help our customers any time at TemplateMonster (the same day, in a week, in a month, in a year, and so on). What’s even more important, our team of experts works until it’s over. Every customer should be absolutely satisfied.

Though, words are not a weighty argument. Thanks to our unsurpassed customer service, we entered the top three of web design companies per the TrustPilot rating. Do you believe this bullet-proof resource with verified customers reviews? So many people can’t be under a delusion.

Here is a video to prove my words.

David, what happens with a purchased template as web technologies continue to evolve?

It’s a good question. You need to update your site regularly and redesign it from time to time if you don’t want to look outdated. Trends are changeable, you’d better not miss the moment when your site starts looking rusty. Customers never take your seriously if your corporate web presentation looks outmoded.

I also recommend you to check how user-friendly your site is in terms of navigation, readability, and other essential aspects. It’s very important to test how it works on smartphones and tablets all of us use to browse the web on the go. Your site must adjust to all modern mobile devices, otherwise you will lose clients. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you can forget about high SEO rankings. Google doesn’t like such kind of sites.
BTW, flagships owners may not worry about the matter. Their websites will serve them for many years to come as regular updates are included into templates packages prices.

Thank you very much, David. You provided lots of thought provoking information for both practicing and aspiring web professionals. Have any more questions for David? Ask them in the comment section below.

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A Web for Everyone: Interviews with Web Practitioners — David Walsh

We’ve heard now from Rachel Andrew, Chris Coyier, and Belén Albeza. Each of these great web developers offered ideas for accomplishing cross-browser compatibility. The fourth interviewee in our web-compatibility interview series brings some new tools to the table.

David Walsh (@davidwalshblog) taught himself HTML, CSS and JavaScript at a young age, and soon turned those skills into a vocation. He started blogging about front-end development after landing his first job in the field. Now, a decade later, David’s blog is daily reading for tens of thousands of web developers who go there for tips, tutorials, and reflections about the life of a developer. David has spoken at JavaScript conferences around the world including LondonAJAX and BrazilJS. He works as a front-end developer and evangelist at Mozilla.


David Walsh

David, what does cross-browser compatibility mean to you?

Cross-browser compatibility means functionality and design working across not only different desktop browsers but also browser apps on different mobile devices, sometimes extending to gaming machines like the Xbox One.

How often do you have to think about cross-browser compatibility? Have you found ways to work that allow you to reduce the amount of time you think about it compared to when you were less experienced?

Working with some bleeding edge APIs at Mozilla, including Service Workers, WebVR, and A-Frame, cross-browser compatibility is something I have to think of often.

Cross-browser compatibility changes meaning but has always been present.

Earlier in my career I would also think of cross-browser compatibility but it was a different environment: IE6 had stalled, user-agent checking was commonplace, and both WebKit/Safari and Firefox were implementing features with their own prefixes, making using new features difficult.

Cross-browser compatibility changes meaning but has always been present.

What motivates you to make the extra effort to build a cross-browser compatible site?

Mozilla properties are visited by millions of users on different browsers, devices, and variant versions of each, meaning that cross-browser compatibility is a must. Also the idea that everyone deserves the same experience if possible.

Everyone deserves the same experience if possible.

Could anything convince you not to make that effort? What?

I suspect that some developers and/or organizations may see cross-browser compatibility as a bloat in time and cost. Luckily, the browsers have come together on the importance of standards and are roughly on the same timeline with features, so unless you’re using bleeding edge capabilities, cross-browser compatibility isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Have you ever had to convince a client or boss that building a cross-browser compatible site was important? How’d you do it?

Absolutely, especially in the days that I worked at a small agency.  Cross-browser compatibility was seen as a time-consuming task, one that the analytics didn’t justify. I made the case that cross-browser compatibility would “future-proof” sites in case new browsers came along, and I was right: Chrome debuted with a WebKit engine, quickly took hold. Mac users (Safari) were no longer the only users of the WebKit engine and set of style/feature differences.

Did you ever have a specific experience that caused you to take cross-browser compatibility more seriously with your next project?

Yes — the growth of Chrome! Chrome not only used WebKit but then moved to its own engine and started implementing features on its own timeline.  This all seemed to happen fairly quickly and it was very eye-opening to me to see!

You’ve blogged a lot about tools — for example, just this summer you talked about Slimer.js, Phantom.js, and Wraith, among many others. Which tools (or techniques) would be at the top of your list for coding compatible sites or testing for compatibility?

Selenium testing is a great place to start, regardless of which abstraction you use on top of it.  I really liked Slimer.js, Phantom.js, and Wraith, as you’ve mentioned. The truth is new tools are popping up all the time!

What would you tell a brand new developer graduating from a coding bootcamp about cross-browser compatibility?

I would tell them they’re incredibly lucky to have missed the early days of browsers doing their own thing!  They should start with the mindset that cross-browser compatibility (outside of bleeding edge features) is a must, and that if they start with that attitude, they’d always have it.


Tips from David’s interview

  • Don’t overestimate the difficulty of making a site compatible across browsers. Cross-browser compatibility isn’t as hard as it used to be.
  • Try automating parts of your browser testing using command-line tools like Slimer.js, Phantom.js, and Wraith.
  • Functional testing with Selenium — using multiple browsers, of course — can make it easier to discover browser-breaking bugs in new code.

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Web Professional Trends for 2014 – Mobile Web and Desktop with David Balmer

In this 7 minute interview with David Balmer, Mobile HTML5 DeveloperAdvocate we talk about Web Professional Trends for 2014 including the merging of mobile web and the desktop including:

* Benefits of HTML5
* Resources such as HTML5Test.com
* Browser vendors
* Mobile equipment vendors
* Web GL and accelerated 3D inside the browser

More about WebGL

According to Wikipedia, WebGL (Web Graphics Library) is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins.[2] WebGL is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. WebGL elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and composited with other parts of the page or page background.[3] WebGL programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and shader code that is executed on a computer’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). WebGL is designed and maintained by the non-profit Khronos Group.

Design

WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and provides an API for 3D graphics.[5] It uses the HTML5 canvas element and is accessed using Document Object Model interfaces. Automatic memory management is provided as part of the JavaScript language.[4]

Like OpenGL ES 2.0, WebGL does not have the fixed-function APIs introduced in OpenGL 1.0 and deprecated in OpenGL 3.0. This functionality can instead be provided by the user in the JavaScript code space..
History

WebGL grew out of the Canvas 3D experiments started by Vladimir Vuki?evi? at Mozilla. Vuki?evi? first demonstrated a Canvas 3D prototype in 2006. By the end of 2007, both Mozilla[6] and Opera[7] had made their own separate implementations.

In early 2009, the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group started the WebGL Working Group, with initial participation from Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera, and others.[4][8] Version 1.0 of the WebGL specification was released March 2011.[1] As of March 2012, the chair of the working group is Ken Russell.

Early applications of WebGL include Google Maps and Zygote Body.[9][10] More recently, Autodesk ported most of their applications to the cloud running on local WebGL clients. These applications included Fusion 360 and AutoCAD 360.[11]

Development of the WebGL 2 specification started in 2013.[12] This specification is based on OpenGL ES 3.0.

The post Web Professional Trends for 2014 – Mobile Web and Desktop with David Balmer appeared first on Web Professionals.

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David Kaneda

Mobile apps can now be built with web standards. David Kaneda, creative director at Sencha, explains the benefits of Sencha Touch, a new framework for developing apps that feel native

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