September 8

Choosing a Website Theme or Template

What to Look For in a Website Theme or Template

There are so many resources today to help you build your website, each one offering many templates or themes that will guide the design of your website. With so much to choose from it can be a little overwhelming to choose. So today I thought I would share with you some “must haves” to look for when choosing a website theme or template.

Responsive design that actually looks good.

A responsive design is one that will auto-format to best fit the screen of the device it is being viewed on. The idea is that your website will look great on everything from smartphones to large computer screens. Having a responsive design is standard today, and it’s hard to find themes or templates that are responsive.

But just because a theme or template is responsive doesn’t mean it will always look great across all devices. Taking the time to review demo sites on various screen sizes is one way to see just how responsive that theme or template is. And it doesn’t take all that long to do it. Just pull up the demo site on your phone, laptop and a tablet if you have it and spend a few minutes navigating the website. As you do ask yourself…

  • Are the menus easy to read and navigate?
  • Do images line up well on this device?
  • Is the font appropriate size for this device?
  • Is it comfortable and easy viewing the website on this device?

If you can’t answer yes to each question then you know to pass on this theme or template.

Header/Footer customizations.

Navigation menus matter, and having a menu that is easy for your clients to use just makes it that much easier to for them to go deeper into the pages of your website. (In my last Website Wednesday video with Nancy Ganzekaufer I share more about that… Click here to watch!)  

Taking the time to see what options are available to you in the header and footer for how the navigation menu can be displayed is time well spent. This is also a chance to check out and make sure you can position the logo where you want it, as well as add additional contact details such as phone, email or social media links.

Branding customizations.

Believe it or not, all themes and templates allow you to customize the design to fit your visual branding elements. And when it comes to creating a recognizable brand that connects with your ideal customers, having your visual branding elements present on your website are a must.

So do yourself a favor and make sure that you are able to

  • Add your logo and adjust it to the size that works best for your website
  • Change fonts to match the fonts used in your marketing materials
  • Update color palettes to match your branding colors perfectly

A design that is visually appealing to your ideal customers.

If your customers do not enjoy the experience of looking through your website, they are going to probably leave and not come back. So make sure the theme or template you choose is more than something that just looks good, but something that will feel comfortable and inviting to your website visitors. For tips on choosing the right design details check out last week’s post, Creating a Visual Relationship.

Even if you are hiring a website designer…

Not all website designers are going to be familiar with the likes and comfort level of your ideal customers. Which is why it is important to you to think about these things before you hire your designer. Knowing what you are looking for is going to help you have an open conversation with your designer to ensure their design style is the right fit for you, your business and your customers.

WordPress Theme Recommendation…

If you are looking for an amazing WordPress theme, I highly recommend Thrive Themes, and here is a quick post to tell you why… Why I LOVE Thrive Themes

A little bit about Teresa...

Hello! I am so glad you are here, and I am excited for this chance to tell you a little bit more about me! I am an accidental web designer who found this dream job totally by accident! (Isn't it great when that happens!) And now I have the pleasure of spending most of my days building gorgeous websites through Squarespace and WordPress. I also have a couple of amazing grown up kids, 4 dogs, 3 cats and 9 chickens! And when I am not geeking out of some new design, you can find me hanging out in southeast South Dakota. 

Teresa Schlup

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