Absolute noob, need some advice on making a site


Hello everybody, I apologise for my lack of knowledge in making a website although I can design logos and stuff sighs - I have for the first time (random) been asked to make a site for someone.

I said no problem but the back of my mind is going GULP!

So I figured, OK I will buy a template from this site, then customize it with the logos I designed, etc and slap a price tag on it and give it to said client!

I wanted to ask the following:

  • Is this legal?
  • Is this moral? Am I being deceiving, or am I perfectly right to charge for this service even though I didn’t make the site, I just customize the template and slap a few images I take for their business?

If I am OK for the above, then may I ask, what should I edit it with since I am a noob? Also, once I finished editing the template, do I just give it to them or do I have to pay for a host first and then give it?

As I say above, I apologise for my lack of knowledge in this, I am currently also overwhelmed with learning After Effects but I have been watching many tutorials and am proud to say I an no longer a noob at AE but an absolute rookie xD

Many thanks my fellow human vegetables!


Hello Robert, may I speak with you here? You can private message me?


If you are a complete newbie are you going to be able to swap and edit successfully?

In most cases people will always want some modifications made and rarely will an exact copy of the file be correct. You will look very silly if you don’t tell them it is a template and then can’t make the changes they want.

Legally you can do this (morally it’s questionable) but bear in mind how bad it will look if you charge a lot and don’t tell a client it is a template and then they find out. Honesty is always the best policy.

You have every right to charge for editing a file but you can’t really justify charging much for changing text and images.

The hosting thing depends on the client and what they need.

With the best will in the world there is a lot more to becoming a developer and changing got web services than buying a template and changing a few bits and it reall Is not that simple


Very appreciative of your response Charlie:

  • I believe I can swap and edit successfully, I will be using google if I get stuck, but I know my way around using computers and some software like, word, excel, after effects so I hope that I can quickly learn the basics of actual editing using something like Dreamweaver perhaps?

  • The client has no idea about website design or anything, I figure what they will see even before I change the colours will be more than satisfactory to them (they recently sent me a TV ad they paid for, it looked horrible and incredibly cheaply made but they were over the moon with it, simply because of the strong voice actor…)

  • I am confident they have no intention of making any specific needs, I already went through what they wanted (a site, that people can use to book).

  • I think my significant difficulty would lie in the booking system, but since it’s already made in the template, I only need to change the headers, etc.


There’s nothing wrong with using stock assets and charging for your time when it comes to editing them, altering them and combining them into a final product. As for telling the client, it depends on the extent of how much you’re using templates and stock assets. If you plan, shoot and edit a video from scratch, but buy a lower third template from VideoHive that appears in less than 1% of the video… then I don’t think it’s an issue if you don’t tell the client the lower third was a template. But if 90% of the final product is a template, then I think you have to tell the client so.

Like Charlie says, you’re going to look a bit daft if you present this amazing looking website and you can’t make the most basic of changes.

The other (very important) things you have to keep in mind if you don’t tell the client…

  1. You buy a standard license and the client ends up doing something with the site that would require an extended license. You’re going to have to pay out an additional $2K+ for an extended license to keep everything above board. That’s if you know about it. If you don’t know about it then the client might end up getting their site taken down, legal action or emails from the author of the template asking them what they’re playing at. That all comes back to you.

  2. The client sees another website that’s almost exactly the same. If he gets in touch with you then you’ve got some explaining to do. If he doesn’t get in touch then he might try and sue the other person or get their site taken down. When the truth comes out, those legal costs and/or lost earnings for improper DMCA’s are going to cost you a lot of money.

  3. The client sells the business and transfers ownership of the website, sets up a new business and duplicates/uses the same template, or decides to sell the template on Themeforest. All of this will end in tears.

That’s the way I see it anyway.


Sorry, should mention I have no price criteria, We haven’t spoken about the cost or anything, I may just use this to help build my logo design portfolio since I am literally just starting to design for money, as of current, I have not advertised to make logos and have not sold anything I’ve made. I still have my fulltime job in transportation.


“Booking System” - that’s totally different…

  1. As @SpaceStockFootage said you need to be very careful how they are using the site to make sure you have the right license

  2. Dreamweaver and HTML - if it is a HTML site you plan on using then 95% chance that the booking functionality will not actually work and lack the back end dynamics to function correctly and depending what they are booking no Google search is going to teach you how to do this.

  3. A WordPress version may have a better functional management system attached and probably be easier to edit BUT then you will need to know how to set the them up correctly (Google can only help so far as themes can differ) and you need to consider updates/security changes etc. to the WordPress platform or theme, not to mention unless you know what you are doing and don;t want to be honest about it being a theme it is easy to disclose what the file is

I am not trying to ruin your plan but I genuinely think there is a lot more to consider than you may realise.


I know a real case when a totally noob photographer wanted a WordPress website.

He hired a web development agency for this, he paid a quite impressive price and he had his website…

After two months he found another website (of a photographer from the same country! ) which was almost identical with his website.

Of course, he went mad and he contacted the web agency.

The agency finally admitted that both websites were based on a template from themeforest, but unfortunately omitted to let the photographers know. The agency said that the contract does not have a uniqueness clause…

I would say that is always better to be sincere from the beginning with your clients…


Whoa, eye opener right there. The layout will remain the same, but the colours, headers, font stying, and ofcourse the images and videos (both my own stuff) will all be customized. The only thing that would remain the same is the layout and the booking system.

Their primary form of promotion as of current is literally photos on instagram and a couple of hashtags. The business they run is to book vehicle reservations, the booking system will simply send the quote to them and then they contact the customers.

I’ve dealt with many of these businesses (friends have the same businesses), there is literally no expansion or drastic changes or of offering a new service. It’s literally a one trick pony of a business and will remain so. It’s like someone who runs a carwash service.

The what if scenario is, what if they do change, etc. I will simply pay refer them to an actual web developer/ site maker.

I think they would let the ‘old’ website just die and get automatically suspended as I have witnessed from past businesses doing the same thing. I don’t think they’re understanding of why they want the website other than to show up their friends to be perfectly honest with you, I’ve had this happen before when I created a song (a couple) for some people (been making music since a young age using software).

Sorry if I am going way off track or posting some irrelevant things, I haven’t slept since yesterday because of building my custom PC


The booking system is essentiallly, just a ‘reservation’ detailing just 3 things. The product, the price and date, nothing else and in between.

I want a Blue icream on my birthday, here’s my contact info - hits send - BAM, business receives the response and calls them back and the actual process would be done in person. They have no virtual system that handles any part of their business whatsoever, it’s all one paper and a signature.