If you have ever considered building a website for personal blogging, your online business, or your portfolio, the main question you probably asked yourself is how and where to start. And if you are not a particularly tech-savvy person, creating a website might seem like an impossible task. There are plenty of online services out there that can help you out but, obviously, their assistance comes at a certain price. And if you are on a tight budget, hiring a web designer might not be the best option. Moreover, a website requires regular updates and maintenance so it is wiser to handle it personally anyway.
Ironically, though there is an overabundance of websites now than there was a few years ago, websites have become more complicated to set up. Compared to a little over two decades ago when there were only a handful of websites available, they were much simpler to create and design. Of course, websites back then did not have as much functionality or flexibility as they do now and not a lot of people bothered to invest that much time on their website’s design. These days, websites are incredibly handy and are a real advantage when it comes to e-commerce.
Still the problem remains: how on earth can someone possible set up a professional-looking website that is simple to maintain and configure? Fortunately for you, pre-made website themes are available for anyone to buy and use online.
A ready-made website theme is a set of files with already prepared coded layout, functionality, and logic. Web themes are usually tailored for specific content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, and the like. Most of the time, these themes come with additional modules and plugins.
No matter how much (or how little) you know about setting up a website, these ready-made website themes can give you a beautiful design with just a few clicks. You do not need to spend days and weeks learning how to build a website from scratch. You will not have to suffer migraines in poring over lines and lines of code. And, most importantly, you will not have to spend too much on getting your site up and running. With a little study, practice, and patience, you will have yourself a decent-looking website that your audience and potential clients or customers can visit.
Additionally, you can customize your theme to fit your personal preference. Your options will be limited, that much is a given, but you can still give your site a unique flair that can help you stand out from other similar websites.
Now there are a lot of website themes that you can use for free or pay for a certain affordable price. There are plenty of resources online where you can browse thousands of pre-made themes. However, while it is definitely beneficial to have so many themes to choose from, it can also be a real hassle to find the perfect one to suit your needs. Wading through web theme after web theme can be difficult and confusing, especially if you are not sure what you are even looking for. Even if you are just looking for a nice and simple theme, there are literally hundreds of that type of theme to choose from. It can be quite frustrating.
That is what this article is for. Newbies and experienced web users both know the pains of finding that ideal website theme that will perfectly convey one’s message or brand. Here we will give you some tips on how to choose the right website them for you to help make the selection process much easier. We have also listed the latest popular themes to give you an idea on what most people find appealing and useful.
Important Factors to Consider
Before you start hunting up that perfect website theme, you need to decide on a few things first. There are different kinds of websites for different purposes and you need to consider these factors to get you started.
Type of Website
First and foremost, you need to decide what type of website you want to build. A website theme can determine a site’s structure, its overall look and ambience. If you are building yourself a personal or professional blog, you will need to choose a theme that’s capable of handling text-heavy posts. If you are building a website for your online business and need to catalogue your products and/or services, you will want a theme that will emphasize the products and be easy to navigate around in.
Then there is the website’s layout. You will also have to consider how you want to organize your content. For an e-commerce website, you will want your landing page to display your brand’s core message and products/services to get people instantly interested. Most business websites now prefer a more minimal approach for their homepage. Consider what you want your audience to view first so you will know what section or area of your website to highlight.
Of course you will want a theme that you can customize to reflect your brand. Some themes have more customization options than others. If you have additional content you want to showcase (images, videos, audio files, etc), make sure your theme has multi-media support. However, if you are not too keen on spending that much time on customizing your website or do not really know how to enhance an existing theme that well, you can always choose simpler themes that require minimal customization.
Finally, you need to decide what you want your website to look like. Do you want your website to exude confidence and professionalism or radiate a certain personality? Do you want a minimalist design or an intricate one? What sort of appeal do you want your website to give off to your audience? Remember, first impression matters, especially on the internet where people’s attention span is severely short. How your website will look is an important factor to consider. And with so many websites available for everyone to peruse, you have got some tough competition. You need to make your website stand out.
Tips on How to Choose an Ideal Website Theme
Once you have determined the important factors of your planned website, you are ready for the next step: finding the right theme Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are out looking for a website theme.
Simplicity is beauty
While there is definitely an allure to getting an elaborate website theme to immediately impress your audience, most professional web designers would advice going with a much more simple option. Not only will it be easier for you customize and update whenever you need to, generally speaking, flat designs and minimalism are much more preferred these days.
Most websites forego the fancy features, the bright colors, the bells and whistles. Years ago, a website that loud and crowded would have garnered praise from visitors but nowadays people are tired of such obnoxious designs. Modern-day web design are focused on getting the message across instead of the packaging. It makes sense since a minimalistic design would look clean and easy to explore.
Additionally, there is a subtle brilliance to a simple theme. Some people might think that a flat design is too plain and unimpressive but the truth is that a website is more effective if the visitor gets exactly the information they need without jumping through any hoops. The more elaborate the website, the harder it will be for the viewer to find what they are looking for.
Keep it simple and straight to the point.
Platforms and Plugins
One of the key things you need to know before you settle on a theme is the platform you want for your website. You need to choose which platform will be the most suitable for your purposes. Once you have got a platform, then you will be able to narrow down your theme search even just a bit. After that, you can explore the add-ons you want to include in your website.
You have to keep in mind the strengths of the different platforms. For example, Shopify is an unbeatable platform for e-commerce websites. If you are running an online business you might want to choose Shopify since it is way ahead of its competitors and it is a trusted platform for online buyers. Another example would be WordPress which is great for personal use or for generating leads for a small service-based business. WordPress offers an excellent platform for publishing long blog content that can pull in traffic to your site.
If you are looking to enhance your website, no doubt your chosen platforms will have plugins and apps to help you. Most of the popular services you could use with your website has plugins readily available that will make integration simple. You will not need coding or development skills to implement these enhancements.
Years ago, there were not a lot of web browsers to choose from. In fact, the now considered defunct Internet Explorer was the only browser anyone really knew existed. These days, people have access to different web browsers so you need to make sure that your website theme looks good on most if not all browsers. How your theme looks on Chrome might not look as clean on Safari.
Testing how your website appears on different browsers and operating systems is important if you want to ensure equal user experience and functionality. There are plenty of ways to do this. You can utilize free tools and resources online, like Browser Shots which lets you run your website on different browsers at once. There are also paid options if you are looking for a thorough testing.
Studies have shown that a large percentage of people browse the internet with their smartphones and tablets these days which is why it is vital that you choose a theme that will adapt well on smaller screens. You will want a theme that can give users a great mobile experience, one that will look good and function well even on a phone’s small screen.
Even though smartphones are extremely prevalent, there are still some websites that do not offer a mobile version. These sites, when visited using a phone, are a pain to navigate. You have to zoom in on certain areas and have to double your efforts to find menus and links. These websites might look great on desktop but on mobile they are infuriating to explore.
To ensure worthwhile user experience, look for a theme that is adaptive and designed with converting mobile visitors in mind. Choose one that is easy to explore even on mobile. Do not neglect mobile users since there is a high probability first-time visitors will visit your website on their phones. And if they can’t immediately discern the important information on your site, they will leave and might not visit again, even on their desktop.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the main reasons for a website’s success is search engine optimization (SEO) SEO is basically focused on growing visibility in organic search results. Take note that majority of web traffic is driven by popular search engines like Google and Yahoo. For most Internet users, search engines are their primary method of navigating the web. Put another way, search engines are the roadways that provide targeted traffic, directing people looking for what your website has to offer.
While search engines are smart – and getting increasingly smarter over time – they still need help. There is a limit to how search engines operate since the Internet is so expansive and complex. The right SEO will net you more visitors and increase awareness in search engines. If you do not work on your site’s SEO, you risk burying your website deep in the search results where hardly anyone bothers to visit. Statistically, people only bother to click on sites on the first page of the search results.
But where does the website theme fit in all of this? There are some features on a theme that can help with your site’s SEO. For starters, a theme with a lightweight code generally has fewer flaws in its core files. This makes the site rank better and load faster.
Another feature is your content’s accessibility. If you make your website’s content two to three clicks away from the homepage, it will improve your SEO rankings as well as improve user experience.
Then there is the issue of how light or heavy your content is. High definition video files are pretty heavy and can make your site load slowly. This could then negatively affect your SEO rankings. Unless you absolutely have to, try to limit heavy files on your site. Or you could just install third-party extensions that could boost your website’s loading speed.
Current Popular Website Themes
If you are still unable to visualize what you want your website to look like, we have gathered a list of top quality, well crafted web themes that you can use or get inspiration from. These themes are designed for a wide array of website platforms and come at a range of prices.
If you are looking for a classy and simple theme for your business website, you might want to give Enfold a try. It is designed to be one of the most user-friendly WordPress themes ever created. It is versatile yet elegant, not to mention fully responsive. You can even set up an online store since this theme has WooCommerce support.
You can customize your own layout with this theme or choose from a stack of ready-made demos. Its regular license might be a bit pricey for some but it is definitely money well spent. Enfold will give your website the bold and minimalistic appeal that is incredibly popular in a lot of quality ecommerce websites these days. This theme is great for online business sites, e-commerce, and even portfolios.
NOHO (Adobe Muse and WordPress)
This extra sleek and modern theme is perfect for creative professionals. Whether it is for an agency’s website or for your own creative portfolio, NOHO is built to be easy to edit and customize. Changing texts and images is quick and simple with this theme so you will not have to spend hours adjusting your website. Moreover, NOHO is built to have zero clutter, allowing visitors to focus on the site’s images and content entirely. It is aesthetically pleasing and functional too.
NOHO comes with a lot of features you can use like image sliders, CSS rollover effects, and parallax scrolling. Its responsive design guarantees that your audience will not have any trouble viewing your website on mobile or tablet. NOHO’s regular license is fairly modest for such a high quality theme.
With such a neat and organized design, it is no wonder why Newspaper is one of the bestselling blog and news themes of all time. If you are running a blog, a news portal, magazine, or even review site, this theme is ideal for you. Its intuitive interface is great for your readers and is super simple to customize. It even comes with a custom advertising spot so you can run ads without worrying about distorting the layout.
Newspaper supports videos from major platforms like YouTube and Vimeo so you can link videos on your page instead of uploading them which has a tendency to increase your site’s load. Additionally, this theme offers a lot of custom widgets that can enhance your website. From social media widgets, social counter widgets, to even weather widgets, Newspaper has got you covered.
The regular license for this theme is a little bit high but you get a lot out of it so it is definitely worth the investment. Publish your articles or blog posts with style with this website theme. Viewers will find your website trustworthy and reliable with such a refined web theme.
Rhythm (HTML5, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla)
This award-winning website theme is perfect for a blog or a portfolio. It is fully responsive and offers a large selection of templates to choose from. The backgrounds are easy to customize, the color schemes are simple to change, and Rhythm even comes with incredibly smooth animation.
One great thing about this theme is that it comes at a relatively low cost yet offers a lot of features and demos you can use. Rhythm even has great browser compatibility, video support, and isotope portfolio filtering. Whether your site is single- or multi-page, Rhythm is a solid theme to choose.
Definity (Bootstrap, WordPress)
This multi-purpose website theme comes packed with features and capabilities. Definity has a clean and modular design perfect for portfolios and online business sites. With the way it is designed, you can move around sections of your pages around until you are satisfied with the way your website looks. Its regular licensing fee is quite affordable too which is great news for those on a limited budget.
Definity is incredibly responsive and uses a parallax effect which is a subtle but effective artistic touch. It even comes with a wide range of icon sets that you can use.
Admittedly, website themes do have a shaky reputation in the web design and development community. A premade website might seem lazy and uncreative to some people. However, not everyone has the time or resources to build a website from scratch. Websites are complicated things and there is nothing wrong with buying and using ready-made themes for your own. Besides, by utilizing a theme, your website will be up and running within a fraction of a time it would have taken to design a custom website. You would save yourself time and energy, plus you can put your focus on more important matters like your site’s content and marketing strategies.
While there are definitely limitations on what a website theme can offer, oftentimes the pros of using themes outweigh the cons.
If you are starting a small business, setting up your agency’s first website, creating your own portfolio, or planning to start a blog, using premade themes are much more practical than a customized website. You do not need to be skilled and knowledgeable in web design and have a wide array of themes to choose from. Get the perfect theme and you will be attracting visitors, potential clients, or avid readers in no time at all.