As I have little to no design skill, I don’t often attempt to create my own HTML design. It’s really for the best. (When I do sites for clients, I’m normally using HTML and CSS created by an actual designer.) But when I go to write a book, I have to come up with a design to use for many of the examples. In such cases, I try to find something as simple and clean as possible, while still being a bit stylish. HTML5 goes a long way towards this end, as do the many CSS reset tools that have been around for years. Well, HTML5, CSS resets, and more have been beautifully combined in a couple of different blank HTML5 reset templates.
Very similar is the HTML5 Reset. It also includes Modernizr, jQuery, and Google Analytics, along with a CSS reset, but doesn’t get into the server-side configuration, caching, and such. It’s also available in a corresponding blank WordPress theme, which I’m likely to use as the basis of my next site redesign.
Even if you don’t need to use an HTML5 reset template yourself, you can learn a lot about creating a well-constructed HTML template from these. A lot of very smart people put quite a bit of thought into the ideas and functionality expressed in the templates. In sum, both represent the current best of the best practices, considering CSS3, jQuery, HTML5, meta tags, SEO, etc., etc.