If you’re like me and have spent countless hours searching for the “perfect” website theme (also known as your website’s layout or design), then read on for tips on how to make the decision simpler. Let’s face it – nothing and no one is perfect. The key is to jot down your “must-have” list. For example, what are the elements and features you must have on your website? These would be the photos, colors, homepage layout options, etc. you want as part of your website. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you’ll have a better plan of attack for searching and shopping online for your theme.
[dropcap]1[/dropcap] Start with a category. Is your website going to be used for a blogging, consulting or a photography portfolio? These are just a few of the options. There are several categories of websites to choose from. Based on your use, ONLY search for a website theme within that category. If, and only if, you don’t find a theme you like, then branch out to the other categories.
[dropcap]2[/dropcap] Weed through search results strategically. Search results – even when narrowed down to a category – could yield 10, 20 pages, so pick every other page to search through. Try not to click on each option. Within Theme Forest, for example, if you hover your mouse over the theme icon – on the left (next to the description) – a preview window will pop up. This allows you to take a sneak peek before you select the theme to learn more (and eventually purchase). Generally, once you click/select for more details on that theme, that’s it. You’ve been sucked in by the process. Make sure when you choose to learn more about a theme that it’s a theme worth checking out, so use the preview window option – it’s your friend!
[dropcap]3[/dropcap] I found a theme I love! Congratulations. You’ve selected a theme that will take your website to the next level. Now, pay close attention to this step. BEFORE you select the BUY button, read through ALL of the available options for the theme you’re about to select. The worst thing you can do is buy a theme and then realize it doesn’t have all of the features you need.
Homepage. Some themes will offer more than 1 option for a homepage design. Look at all of the different options (if applicable) and make sure you like or love, what you see.
Blog. Similar to the homepage, there should be several options for how your blog posts will be displayed (right sidebar, left sidebar, gallery/slideshow for images, and more).
Colors. If a splash of color is what you prefer, then make sure to choose a theme that offers an extensive color palette.
Pages. Similar to your blog’s main page, additional pages (i.e. About Us, Contact, etc), should also have different options – sidebar, full width (no sidebars), etc).
Features. This will show ‘What’s Inside” the theme – from the template perspective (what the site visitor doesn’t see). If you’ve hired a person or company to create/build your website – like Craft Web Solutions (shameless plug) then don’t concern yourself with this section. But please do share this option with whoever is building your site.
I hope these simple steps will ease the pain and frustration of searching for a website theme. Have fun!