Since a couple of years, Artisteer has been providing us with an excellent tool to create templates for our blogs and web sites. Last month, they released a new version, Artisteer 3. In this review I’ll handle some changes and new features. By the end of this article you’ll also know if it’s worth for you to upgrade to Artisteer 3.

I still can imagine the days before I knew Artisteer. Creating nice looking templates took a lot of time and efforts. Until I saw an advertisement for Artisteer. I was very curious so I downloaded the trial version. When I first used Artisteer I was blown away. It now was possible to create custom, professional looking templates within 1 hour! I remember I gave a demo to some collegues, and they were all also very enthousiastic about this new software. Since that day, I’ve been using Artisteer for a lot of projects.

Today I’m very excited to review Artisteer 3: will it be as user friendly as the previous version? Did they made it better? Are there a lot of interesting new features? You’ll get all the answers in the following review!

Short introduction on Artisteer

Artisteer is software to generate templates for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, DotNetNuke,.. The thing is that it’s really easy to use and that you don’t need any technical knowledge to create stunning templates.

New features

There are a lot of new features in Artisteer 3:

Additional header and background graphics and effects

A lot more color themes

More design layout options

Flash headers are included

Support for fluid layouts (resizable sheet width)

Publish your website direct to Artisteer.net

Online templates

New vertical menu

If you want more information about these new features, read my previous post “The 13 Best New Features In Artisteer 3”.

How Artisteer 3 works

Get inspiration

If you don’t know where to start you can always let Artisteer suggest you a design. This can be the whole design, or specific parts (for example different menus).

Create a design

It’s easy to create a design with Artisteer. At first, the many options can be a bit overwhelming. But the more you use Artisteer, the more useful all those options are going to be. Thanks to all those options it’s possible to create the custom design like you want.

Export your template from Artisteer 3

After you created your theme, you have to export your theme. Just save it as a zip file on your computer.

Import your template into WordPress (or another blog system / CMS)

In WordPress, go to “Appearance” > “Themes” and select the “Install Themes” tab.

Click the “Upload” link, select the zip file on your computer and click the “Install now” button. That’s it!

The result

Cross browser

Let me start with asking you a question; which browser do you use? Internet Explorer? FireFox? Chrome? Safari? Did you know that every browser handles a web site a little bit different? This means, that the same web site will differ a little bit depending the browser. As a developer, this is the part I usually hate because it can really cost you a lot of time before your web site looks and acts the same in all browsers.

Luckily, if you use Artisteer, you don’t have to care about all this! Artisteer generates the needed code so you don’t have to worry about the browser of your visitors.

HTML code

One thing I like about Artisteer is that it generates well coded templates. Maybe you’re wondering why this is so important. Well, it’s not only very important for SEO reasons (see below), but also if you want to do some changes yourself afterwards. Imagine searching for a file on a chaotic desk or a clean desk. Which one do you prefer? Well, that’s the same thing when you want to make some changes at the code of a file. When it’s well coded en the structure is good, it won’t take long before you find the part you need. But when it’s bad coded without structure…

SEO

I already wrote that Artisteer generates well coded templates, and that this is very important for SEO. Well coded files are easier for search engines to read.

But there is also a little negative point, and that’s the fact that Artisteer doesn’t take advantage of using the right header tags on the right place. Artisteer uses the H1 tag for the name of your blog. I don’t like that. And much more important, Google doesn’t like that either . The H1 tag should contain unique information about the page, and no general information. It’s the same problem for the other header tags.

However, there is a very simple solution to solve the Artisteer 3 header issue which you can find here!

Pricing options

If you only want to use it for creating WordPress templates, then the Home version is an excellent choice.

You can only buy Artisteer as a download, it’s not possible to buy it in a regular store. Price is $49 for the Home version and $99 for the Standard version. You can also buy an upgrade. You have to submit the license key of your older version of Artisteer to know the price of the upgrade.

If you want more information about the differences between the Home and the Standard version, then take a look at the comparisation table. If you only want to use it for creating WordPress templates, then the Home version is an excellent choice.

Still not convinced? Download the trial version and see for yourself!

Verdict

As you can see, Artisteer 3 makes life much easier. If you don’t have the skills to develop your own custom template, then Artisteer is the best choice you can make. If you’re a professional web developer, like I am, then you should also give Artisteer a try. It’s a great choice when you need to create a basic but professional looking template. For a lot of web sites, Artisteer 3 will just be fine. There is only 1 major downside: wrong usage of the header tags (but you can read here how easy it is to solve this problem!). But don’t let that spoil all the fun (and if you’re a pro, it’s easy to edit).

Oh yes, and then there is that incredible low price tag. In my opinion, $49 (for the Home version) is a real bargain. I just don’t think there is a better way to create custom templates at this price level.

Do you also want to share your experiences about Artisteer 3? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment, the other visitors will be very thankful!

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