If you’re looking to create your online presence, templates are a great option. There are so many great designers and developers who’ve built functional, beautiful templates that are customizable for any purpose or business. Services like Squarespace, Wix, and more have made this process even easier, but there are a slew of other options. How can you sort through it all?
Our website developers know the ins and outs of building great websites, so they’ve put together a list of what to consider when choosing a website template.
How does the template organize content? Does it rely on heavy imagery to showcase your business, does it focus more on telling the story of your business, or is it a healthy mix of both?
There are no wrong answers, just different ways to showcase your company and the people behind it. However, it’s important to make sure your template has room for what you want to highlight, and that you don’t have to jump through hoops to make your content fit. For example, some templates, especially now, are very minimal. While that can be good in certain situations, a simple, minimalistic website may not accomplish your goals.
The right template allows you to add the content you want without having to make sacrifices in quality, text size, or length while still accomplishing the goals you have in mind for your website. Make sure your business has the necessary imagery and text to fill out your template of choice, and you’ll start out on a great foot!
It’s great to take a look at what your competitors are doing so you can figure out what you like and what you don’t like about other websites in your industry. Take this opportunity to refine what others are doing and add to it what you want to make your own unique site. As said by Steve Jobs, “Good artists copy; great artists steal”. However! Make sure your template doesn’t look too much like your competitors – you also want to stand out, and a website is a great way to do that.
With that, it might be a good idea to look at the customization options for a template. Sometimes adding your logo on the top isn’t enough. Having the option to set your own font, change the colors, and add more identifying characteristics is important in making your website stand out.
How easy is it to use your template? Are you confident you can make the changes you have in mind?
For websites like Squarespace, this isn’t as big of an issue, since they’ve optimized all of their templates in the same user-friendly ways. WordPress is a fantastic framework for building websites, but many templates have their own editor built within their themes.
This presents potentially tricky situations as each editor has different features and settings and ways of building elements within a site. Finding the right balance between usability and features and settings depending on your skill level is important when perfecting your business’ site.
Sure, a template meets your needs now, but what about in the future? Between receiving submission forms, showing galleries, selling online, blog posting, and more – websites today are much more than static text and images. While you don’t need all those features on day one, if you anticipate future additions, be sure your theme offers the flexibility needed. As your business grows, your website should grow with you. Having the ability to easily make updates is extremely important to prevent future headaches.
Is your favorite template up to date? Not only do you need to find a template that looks updated and offers your needed features, but how active is the developer? The last thing you want is a beautiful theme acting up with a developer who can’t be reached. Additionally, an outdated template might have security issues to deal with, adding more headaches than you need in your life.
Who sells your theme? Shopify, among others, sell themes on their own marketplaces. However, there are many other marketplaces that offer themes with so many options and customizations! However, it might be a good idea to do some research before making a purchase on an unfamiliar theme site as there could be compatibility concerns or security issues when dealing with 3rd party retailers.
Another thing to consider when looking at vendors is support. Generally, when you buy a theme, some support will come with it. However, the support can vary from provider to provider. Some have an actual ticketing system, while others make you post on a message board. With free themes, there’s often to support at all – you get what you pay for!
Generally speaking, very few vendors have any kind of real-time support like phone or chat, so keep that in mind. Whatever works best for you and your business, the theme and vendor’s support policy should be spelled out on the site where you’re buying. If you don’t see a support policy, that’s a red flag, and that vendor probably isn’t the one for you.
When doing research for an important purchase, chances are you take the time to search out others’ experiences. The same should go for a website template. Take the time to look at reviews and comments and look for user experiences, especially considering our list above. For example, did they find enough room for their content? Does it make them stand out from the competition? Was it easy to use and set up? Were they able to make updates easily? Listening to others could set you on a theme you hadn’t previously considered or help you avoid a possible issue!
These are all the things we consider when choosing a template for our clients. One way we’ve made Romega Basic such an affordable option for small businesses is by using high-quality templates, finding three that fit all the criteria above and the clients’ branding and goals, and narrowing down the seemingly hundreds of options to just a few optimized for their needs. We also utilize the platform Webflow, which offers plenty of support, flexibility, and scalability to create beautiful, functional websites for any client, no matter what goals they have for a website or what growth they might have ahead.
If all this feels like too much to deal with, Romega Basic may be the solution for you! However, if you’re ready to jump into templates yourselves, we hope this arms you with everything you need.