Deciding where to begin on your website (or business in general) can be tough! There can be a lot of moving parts and things to consider when deciding on a theme. Your blog or business’ content, focus, and strategy are going to be big components on how to decide which theme will bring your site to life and really attract the readers and customers! I’ve definitely been where you are and luckily have figured out a few strategies to help me decide what theme’s work best for individual businesses, so here are a few guidelines on how to choose a theme for your blog or business.
Evaluate Your Blog or Business
Before you can start designing and working on your website, you need to figure out your goals for it. Knowing your business’s vision and needs will help you create a site that matches! If you’ve never done branding exercises, we have a few linked below and you can start by asking yourself these questions:
- What’s the purpose of your site?
- What sales funnels will be important for your site?
- What is your content focused on? Images, blog posts, discussions, a shop, etc.
- How will your brand fit into your site? Isn’t simple, bold, or really colorful? How does your target audience like to interact with you?
After taking a look at these and writing out what’s important for your site to have and how it will be used by your readers or customers, you can start figuring out the layout and how you want it structured to match your audience’s interactions.
Tip: Need some help figuring out your brand voice and style? Take a look at a couple of our posts to get you started in the right direction: 4 Steps for an Epic Brand Identity + A Free Style Guide and 5 Steps for Naming Your Blog (Or Business) + Free Logos.
Decide on Layout & Focus
Now once you have a list of the purpose of your site, any sales funnels you might be creating, what your content is focused on, and how your audience likes to interact with your content – you’re ready to start planning your layout and finding out your website’s must-haves.
First step is to create a list of features your blog has to have, this could include things like: a sidebar on your blog, easy menu navigation, a shop feature, easy commenting and user experience, email sign-up, etc.
Something to consider for any website is to create an easy user experience and navigation. Simplify and direct your audience where you want them to go as much as possible, because throwing too many options in their face can get overwhelming!
Once you have this list, create a rough but really simple outline (you can add the pretty stuff in later!) of what you want your site to look like: where you want the navigation bar, social icons, and how you want your user to move from one place to another. Remember to reference back on your list of questions and how these features will impact your audience.
This outline will be different for everyone, some might want the homepage to be there blog with a sidebar, someone else may not want a sidebar, others may need a landing page. Focus on what your website needs to connect with your audience. In our shop, we carry a variety of layouts for customers with different needs: Coastal is focused on portfolio sites, Kindred has food blogging features like recipe cards, and Monstera and Parker have a variety of homepage layouts for different focuses.
After you’ve figured out your website focus and layout options, you’ll have parts of your brand that you’ll want to incorporate. Most likely this will include your fonts, logo, and color palette. When considering a theme, look at what areas you can customize and make sure you will have enough flexibility to create your own brand on the theme. A simple area that helps give your site that extra special touch is your favicon, learn how to upload a custom one here.
Tip: If you want more control and confidence in your website or blog, learning CSS is one of the greatest tools you can have! It will give you so many more styling options and allow you to create a site that completely reflects your brand. To get started in learning CSS and download a 4-page cheat sheet check out: How to Style Your Blog with CSS and How to Learn CSS Using the Inspect Element Tool.
Once you’ve walked through the steps above, there are a few other features you may want to look into when picking a theme to make sure you have the tools you need to create a killer website.
Be sure your theme will have proper SEO capabilities and you can customize it to your needs. If you’re on WordPress may also want to check that it works with Yoast SEO, which is a great tool to help optimize your site.
Make sure your theme is going to help you create a wonderful user experience. You don’t want your audience looking for where to begin or what to click on, you want them to easily find what they need and connect with your brand!
Decide how much support you think you’ll need and find how much the shop you’re purchasing from offers. Are you a beginner in the internet world and need the ability to have someone set up your site for you? Or do you feel pretty comfortable with setting up themes and just need help if there’s a bug? Some shops let you purchase additional support, some offer it free, just be sure to do your research!
Not having a mobile-friendly website can really hurt you when it comes to rankings and user experience. Check the themes demo sites on your phone and see how it works, ask questions if you aren’t sure about certain aspects on the mobile interface, make sure the user can easily get around!
Creating a website to reflect your brand can be really fun but it’s also important to remember those key aspects that will help your audience connect with you. If you’re ready to take your content to the next level be sure to download our free workbook to help guide you in your search for the perfect theme. And be sure to check out our shop of themes and other resources for your blog and business, we might have just what you’re looking for.
What’s important to you when choosing a theme for your new site or rebrand? Did you recently switch to a brand new theme and are loving it? Tell us more in the comments below!