Design Series Part I – Selecting the Right Theme for Your Website
Setting up a website takes time and patience. After all, it is not just about registering a domain and purchasing hosting, there is a lot more. One of the most important aspects of website planning is designing your website. In this three-part series, we will walk you through the design process – what elements are needed and how to go about it.
In our first article of the series, we will explore themes and how they add to your website design.
Themes – What and Why?
Themes are ready-to-install design templates. They are a great way to design your website in a way that saves time and coding effort. In fact, if coding is a challenge or if you don’t want to hire a web designer then themes are a great way to design your website.
Simply put, a theme helps you –
- Style your website
- Look professional
- Define the layout of your website
- Enhance your user experience
- Save coding time and invest in generating the content
So, now you know how a theme helps you but how do you determine what kind of theme works with your content? Well, there is no definite answer to that, however, here are some tips that might help you.
- If you have a travel website/ photography blog/ food blog – basically a website that might have more photos then a theme that showcases pictures is the one to go for. The idea is in such websites, the content is the photographs so they must stand out.
- If you have a medical website/ technical/ educational – ensure you go for a non-fussy and professional theme that doesn’t have too much clutter. Preferably white or other pastel shades.
- If you a are a web designer/ freelance writer/ artist/ interior designer – you can choose an artistic and colourful theme that speaks volumes about your skills and creativity. You can experiment with bold and quirky colours like blues, purple, yellow and more quite easily.
Now that we have seen what themes are and how they help you design your website. Let us now understand the key things to look out for when choosing a theme.
4 Things to Lookout for When Choosing a Theme
Irrespective of the type of website you have (photography, medical, real estate, food etc.) there are some elements that are common to all. Moreover, with so many different themes available on the internet today it is important to figure out what the non-negotiable items are that your theme needs to have.
Here is a list of 4 things your theme should not miss:
1. Responsive Page Design
A responsive theme is the one which adapts to the changing display model. Simply put, whether you load your website on a desktop or mobile device the design isn’t distorted and is easily adjustable to the screen size.
This is important because a vast majority of users these days prefer mobile devices over desktops.
One of the advantages of choosing a responsive design theme is that you need not create and manage multiple website copies. Furthermore, it improves the user experience. If you have a WordPress website, then here is a list of about 62 Best Responsive WordPress themes compiled by colorlib.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is critical when it comes to your website’s ranking. Moreover, given Google’s mobile-first indexing algorithm, it is vital your website theme is mobile-friendly or it can result in lower page rank impacting your website’s SEO. Mobile-Friendly Test powered by Google helps you test if your website is mobile-friendly or not, and what changes to make.
Fun Fact: If your website is responsive, it improves your website’s SEO.
3. Customisation options
Don’t we all look for customisation in everything we purchase? After all, no one wants to be called a copycat, do they? However, with ready-to-install themes, this can be an issue. Nevertheless, a little bit of customisation always helps. Most WordPress themes, whether free or paid, offer customisation.
Customisation includes installing widgets and plugins, changing the layout of your website elements, changing title and tagline, changing header media and much more. Whenever you are customising your website make sure that you do not make it bulky by adding too many widgets or plugins, as it will slow down your website loading speed. A slow-loading website then affects your user experience, as well as, SEO ranking.
4. Social Media
Choosing a theme that has inbuilt social media sharing icons is a great way to connect your website to social media portals.
Take, for example, you have a travel blog. A reader loved a post on it and would like to share it on their Facebook page, they would have to copy the URL and then share it. However, the con of this is, the user might forget or think this is too much work and not share your blog. But, if you have social share icons on your website, it becomes easier for the user to share the content.
If your theme doesn’t have inbuilt social media sharing icons you can always install a plugin to support it,
Apart from these 4 things, take care that the theme you choose has good support and is updated regularly. An older theme that hasn’t been updated for a while can be risky as they might not be compatible with the latest version of your WordPress. This increases the chances of security breaches and threats.
The right theme can help make or break your website, however, it is not always possible the theme you like should have everything you need. Decide what all things are vital for you and opt for the theme offering the same. Research always helps, so don’t settle until you find the right theme for your website.
Sometimes you will need to change and tweak things a bit, don’t be afraid and experiment. A theme is, after all, a template you can always go back to where you began. So what are you waiting for? Go explore and find the right theme for your website!