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Content is King!
You won't need an HTML change/add content to a template. You can do it all by hand with a plain text editor. You would replace the "filler" content with the text you want. You could copy and paste a paragraph to add more and then replace the words within that paragraph with the new wording. You could add links and images with HTML code.
Personally, I use an editor because, for me, it's easier and faster. However, knowing HTML basics does come in handy. It allows me to troubleshoot the code to look for any problems caused by the editor.
You can use whatever HTML editor you want. There are many editors to choose from, but there are more choices for folks who use Windows. Some editors are WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get). An WYSIWYG HTML editor generally has a view that shows what your page should look like and have options that are very similar to a word processing program. But it will write the HTML code for you and you choose options. It will also have a source code view you can use when you need/want it. Some editors don't have a WYSIWYG view, but rather have various methods of adding the basic HTML code to reduce the amount of typing that needs to be done.There are some commercial editors of both types that have many more bells and whistles.
Here are two WYSIWYG editors that I've used that work with Windows or Mac. They aren't the best in the world, but the price is right. They are free!
If you don't already have an HTML editor, you might want to download some various choices and start playing around. Most commercial software also has a version you can download to try out. If you decide to try Kompozer or SeaMonkey, there are help files that might give you an idea of how they work and/or might help you get started:
Introduction to Kompozer - Many of the icons will be familiar. However, as you type in the normal view, the editor is writing the HTML code for you. You can toggle between the normal view and the source code to see how things are done.
Kompozer part 2 - adding an image: This is a continuation of the exercise on learning how to use Kompozer.
Introduction to SeaMonkey (another free HTML editor) SeaMonkey is a browser and HTML editor combination. It also comes in Windows or Mac versions and works much the same as Kompozer.
Folks have their own preferences. The main options I use with the editor are the options to add images, links and tables and to set text as paragraphs, headings and preformat divs. I don't use the editor to style the font (color, font-face, size, etc.), to style the background of the page/containers or to add other styles. I use CSS in the external css file, instead. There are some options that are not available in the editors I use, such as adding a blockquote, so I add that by hand in the source view of the editor.
The main thing is to choose the method that is most comfortable for you. If you want to use an editor, it helps to know some basic HTML so you can troubleshoot. But, generally, the editors do a fair job when you are only adding content and not trying to build a template from scratch.
Just for Fun
If you are in the mood to just play with graphics or text, you might want to check out some links on the Fun Sites Hotlist