To get started building a website there are thousands of website templates available on the internet. Most of those templates are well formatted with enough features, widgets, social sharing buttons, subscription widgets, etc. Some of the templates are specially made with SEO in mind whereas some are advertising optimized and some are suitable just business website, personal blog or portfolio site. Choosing a near-perfect template which suits your style of blogging can be a headache especially when you have so many options to choose from. Most of us just have a look at the template once or twice and just select it right away just because it looks good for your eyes. But there are a lot more things to consider like SEO, Load time, Browser compatibility and much more.
Today we are going to provide you with a list of things to check and taken into account before you choose a website template to avoid or at least to minimize any kind of problems or frustration in the future. So let’s get started.
Look and Feel
Whenever you look at the demo of the template, the first thing you will see is the look of the template. Make sure the template looks neat and clean and the overall structure is not messed up. The template should offer easy readability. You should also have a look whether the template uses default standard web-safe fonts or Google fonts. If you are looking for a template for your personal blog, then do have a look at the typography used in the template.
Make sure the template is easy to navigate. Basically here you need to have a look at the navigation menus and page navigation. Have a look if the navigation menus have a drop-down feature because once your blog gets popular and when you have lots of categories, this feature will prove to be useful. Page navigation, on the other hand, is for navigating from page to page.
One of the most important things to consider is whether the template is well structured and SEO optimized or not especially when you are looking to get yourself or your blog noticed by the people. You don’t need to be an SEO expert for analyzing the template. You just need to look at the basic SEO stuff like if heading tags are used properly or not. This can be easily done with Inspect Element feature in Chrome.
Features and Technology Used
Do check that the template is using the latest features and widgets. With technology, I mean the use of CSS3 and HTML5 features. Though they are not necessary it is always good to walk with the time. In all, you should avoid templates that were made years ago which uses old markup, depleted tags and properties.
Space for Advertising
If you are looking to earn from your blog, then you must have a look if there is enough space for displaying ads in the sidebars, header, etc. Have a look at templates which are advertising optimized or some are filed in the category of AdSense optimized.
Page Loading Time
One of the most common mistakes we make while choosing a website template is that we do not check it in different browsers. We just choose a template on the basis of what we are seeing in the current browser. We do not check whether the template and its other features work fine in other browsers or not. Not all people use the same browser as you are using. So do check the template in at least Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. You can also use some services like Browsershots which can check the compatibility in various browsers with different versions.
Responsive web design is gaining a lot of attention and getting increasingly popular. A responsive template is the one which can nicely fit on mobile devices or on any screen having any dimensions. If the template claims to be responsive, then do check the responsiveness on your phones and different screen width. You can even check the responsiveness by re-sizing your browsers in different dimensions. Try resizing your browser on our blog and you will see how it automatically adjusts the width. You should also appreciate the author who made a responsive template because it’s not easy at all to make one.
Do check if the author of the template is available for help. Although there are many blogs which help people to solve their template issues, it is always good to have the author of the template for any help because they know better about the structure of their template and they can solve the problems much faster. You should possibly download the template from his/her official blog and ask for help on that blog. Also, have a look at the recent comments on the template and see if the author is responding.
Ease of Use
They are many templates which come with a compressed CSS and markup. ‘Compressed’ here means that the comments and line breaks are removed from the CSS and HTML. It is usually done to reduce the overall size of the code but there is no major difference. Compressed CSS and HTML are not easy to read and customize even for a good web designer. So, choose a template whose CSS and HTML are not compressed.
Those were some of the points you should take care of while choosing a website template. I hope these points will help you in choosing the near-perfect template which will minimize any future frustrations or problems. Always take your time, surf and make a list of templates you like and then compare and choose the best one out of them which suits your needs.