How to Make a Web Page Skin

by Deborah Cohn

If you have built a website using an online building tool or more professional software, it can be either very simple or fairly complicated to change the look and feel of your site. Many web tools use templates to make background images, text styles and layout easier. But these are often not customizable. And more complex web editors and software that allow for more customization often call for moderate site-building skills to make "global" changes throughout your site.
But some web-building/hosting sites meet in the middle. Bebo allows users the ability to create skins for their Bebo websites with ease. You can create a number of personal templates and switch back and forth. It's a great way to make your Bebo page unique.

1

Head to the Bebo site (see additional Resources) and log in. Go to your profile, take a look under your picture and click "Change Skins." Click "Roll Your Own," then "Read the Detailed Specification."

2

Spend some time looking at the skins other users have created. You could very well find exactly what you are looking for without having to make the skin yourself. If you still want to make your own skin, continue with the steps below.

3

Have a good idea of what you want your skin to look like before you start playing around with the tools. Though you can always edit what you've created, it's going to take some effort to build the skin, and you want to make the best of your time.

4

Open your photo and/or graphic editing software program. While you can create a skin using images created in very basic photo programs, the more professional your software, the better the result.

5

Create a new canvas for the Navigation Background. The canvas must be 760x40 (760 pixels width by 40 pixels height). Bebo has a required set of image sizes for each element of its skin, which must be followed precisely. Build the background image for navigation. The nav background should be pretty simple and uncluttered to make it easy for visitors to read.

6

Create a 760x375 canvas for the Main Background and build the image.The Main Background is a good place for creative imagery. But if you plan to make a wild page background, keep in mind that you still want visitors to be able to see the text and the other images on the site. Animated backgrounds can be cool, but you don't want to give visitors a headache.

7

Go down the list of elements and create images for each. Note: If you don't want to make a major modification to an element, there's no need to create a new image file. Even if you want to make simple edits, such as changing the background color of an element, you can do that right on the Bebo site without making a new image.

8

Create a Main Footer at 11x15, a Main Icon at 20x20, a Module Header at 375x44, a Module Background at 375x50 and a Module line at 32x3. You may want to keep each image open while you create and save the others, so you can see what the different items look like together. You can even arrange the images on your desktop in a faux layout.

9

Save all the new images as either a .jpg or .gif file.

10

Go back to the Bebo site. You were on the Roll Your Own menu. Now click on "Add a New Skin." Create a name for the skin and some keyword tags so it will show up in the search engine.

11

Click on "Upload Graphics." Browse through your computer files and upload all the new images you created. Each file will have a tick next to it once it's uploaded. If your file is the wrong size or not in the correct format, it will have a red cross next to it, and you will have to fix the image and upload again.

12

Click on "Edit Stylesheet." Here you can change the basic look and feel of each element, and make sure the page is laid out to your specs. Once everything is set, click "Use This Skin." That's it, you've got a new skin.

Items you will need

About the Author

Deborah has been creating and managing web content for over ten years. She has a BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in screenwriting from The American Film Institute. Her writing has appeared in the Netbook web guides, and she has created and managed content for Yahoo, ABC.com, and dozens of websites ranging from web comics to IBM and GE.