Thanks to the many design templates available today, you no longer have to be an expert coder to create your own website. You can take an awesome pre-made template and simply copy and paste your own written content, images and videos to create a website that is uniquely yours. How do you know what design template to choose? Surprisingly, it depends on many logical factors aside from what just looks good.
Here is a list of steps to follow when choosing the best design template for your business website:
Define Your Goals
Before you begin shopping for templates, the first thing you want to do is figure out what you are trying to accomplish with your website. Do you plan to set up an online store right away? Do you want a more informational and entertaining website that is structured similarly to a blog? Do you want to showcase pictures and videos of your previous work? It is important to identify these goals because they will essentially inform everything about your website such as the layout and functionality. While defining you goals, think of the following questions:
- What is my business field? If you update kitchens, you’re website will have lots of pictures of designs, appliances and beautiful tile backsplashes. An electrician may choose to have fewer photos because, unless you are an expert in the field, all electric panels look about the same.
- What is my buyer persona? Who is my ideal customer and what will they be looking for? Am I looking to sell to a busy family that just wants to know their home will always be a comfortable temperature when they get home from sports practice? Or do you clean and repair fireplaces for people who will be spending hours at home, relaxing in front of a fire?
- What are my project goals? Do you want to have a complete portfolio? Are you going to sell anything directly from your site? Or is your website just verification that you are open for business and an easy way for potential customers to contact you?
- What problems will my website solve? Think about the answers you want your website to provide. It may be as simple as what types of work you do. If you want to be able to give a lot of updated and industry-relevant information, make sure your template allows for a blog. If you want customers to plan their entire remodel from your site, have a worksheet that walks them through the process.
Define Your Website Type
Every niche has its own set of website features that are standard to that specific industry. A photographer’s website, for instance, would be useless without an eye-catching portfolio and would have a layout very different than that of an attorney’s website. Do you want a simple website with minimal pages, or do you want one that is more complex? It may be tempting to want to choose a fancy and elaborate design template but that may not be what is best for your business. Consider looking at the websites of other businesses in your industry to find design trends that seem to be effective and incorporate them into your own website layout.
Don’t Skimp on Quality
There are many website design templates to choose from such as free, paid, custom, premium and many more. If you are a new business owner with a small budget, it might make more sense to choose a free design template. However, the disadvantage to using a free template is that you may end up with a website that looks just like everyone else’s if you do not take full advantage of the customization options. Even if you do, the options may be very limited.
It is important to note that when you are creating a new website, you are not only investing money, but you are also investing time and effort into building an effective site. Would you rather pay nothing but spend more time working on your website which would leave less time to work on other aspects of your business? Would you rather spend a little more money and do less work so that you still have time for other things? It is ultimately up to you but understand that you will get what you pay for.
Find an Easy-To-Use Template
It is important that your website is intuitive and easy to use. Even a feature as simple as a navigation bar would play a big role in helping your visitors find what they are looking for without too much digging around. You could also consider adding a search bar to your website so that users can easily find exactly what they are looking for at any given moment.
There was once a time when a responsive web design was optional and seen as just an extra perk. However, responsive web design is the standard for pretty much all websites today. A responsive website template is one that is capable of adjusting to multiple screen sizes.
If your website is not responsive in this day and age, it would be considered outdated. A great portion of web traffic is generated via mobile devices so if your website is not responsive, you could seriously be hurting your business as most people will immediately click off your site upon seeing that it is not optimized for mobile browsing. It is advised to stay away from templates that do not have mobile-friendly or responsive options.
Consider Customization Options
Even if a website template looks great as is, it is still important to customize it as much as you can, not only to ensure that it is different from your competition but to ensure that you are giving your audience a glimpse of what exactly your brand is and what it stands for. When searching through templates, try to find those that have options for plugins, apps and extensions that will benefit your business. Whatever design you choose, try to stay consistent throughout the entire website. Websites that use different design templates on every page tend to be harder to navigate which will bump you down in search engine rankings.
Choosing the right design template is a very serious process. Instead of choosing a template because it looks pretty, be sure that you look at the bigger picture from an objective point of view to come to the decision that is effective for your brand. Many templates offer free trials so take your time and experiment with different options.