#FreeWebFriday is our celebration of the free worldwide web; Great sites that are free to use with a little help from online advertising. We are going to share one of our favourites here on the blog every Friday, but hope that others join in with the hashtag on social media.
Today we’re looking at TemplateMaker.nl, a clever and useful site that lets you print out templates to make different shape boxes of any size and proportion you choose. You simply select the shape (anything from a simple cube to a sphere) and enter the dimensions of the box that you want to make. The website then generates a PDF that you can print to use as your template.
I love niche websites like this that perfectly solve a problem that few people will ever think about. It’s such a simple concept that it’s easy to overlook some fairly serious mathematics behind the scenes. I just had to find out more.
About the website
TemplateMaker.nl is the brainchild of Dutch web designer Maarten Van der Velde. Maarten’s background is as an Industrial Design Engineer and TemplateMaker.nl is the coming together of his passion of Industrial, Graphic and Web design.
The site started around 4 years ago, and continues to be regularly updated and have new templates added every couple of months. When I asked how long the site took to build Maarten just laughed, but he says that it usually takes around one full day to add a new template to the site.
Who uses the website?
TemplateMaker.nl serves up around 150,000 page views per month to an audience around the world. A large part of that audience are ‘Crafters’ printing templates for their own box making projects at home. Alongside the crafters other professional graphic designers are well represented. TemplateMaker.nl is quick, free and accurate and is a real alternative to expensive software and illustrator add-ons for box design.
How is the site funded?
Maarten describes TemplateMarker.nl as a hobby, and there are just a few conservatively placed Google ads to help cover running costs. In a wonderfully Dutch turn of phrase he describes the ad revenue as being “like an extra slice of cheese on your bread” rather than being the reason for the website. In addition to the Google ads, there is also an occasional banner inviting users to buy him a book through an Amazon wish-list link, which seems like a great way to show appreciate for a website that you love.
What free sites do you love?
I’d love to hear about ad-funded, free-to-use sites that you love. Let me know in the comments and we might feature it on a #FreeWebFriday soon.