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Creating a website is so incredibly easy these days, that you literally can just whip up a “business” website on a site builder platform in 20 minutes.

But because launching a website is so “easy” nowadays, people can neglect the grittier details of what leads to actually successful websites. For example , choosing a website template might seem like you just pick the theme and website layout you think looks best, but there’s actually a bigger decision-making process involved.

In this article we’ll cover 8 helpful tips on how to choose the best template for your website.

Define Website Goals Early

Websites can be subject to scope creep in many cases, and this is why it’s important to define your core website goals early on. When you have a clear purpose in mind for your website, it’s easier to choose a template that structures your content around the defined purpose.

For a business website, you can keep it simple by choosing one of three strategic options. You can build an e-commerce site, a leads generation site, or a credentials site. Choosing one of these relies on a number of factors, such as the nature of your business, your supporting business structure, and the geographic scope of your business.

According to FreshySites, a Denver web designer, a solid web strategy is one of the most important considerations for defining the purpose of your website.

Know the limitations of templates

Choosing a website template can be a bit like choosing a tattoo from a wall of designs. You’ll get something that looks nice, but it won’t be original.

This is where you need to consider budget, because it’s possible to choose a template but have it highly customized and tailored to your brand. The cost of buying a template and then having it deeply customized by a CSS developer should be significantly cheaper than web design from scratch, but it also boils down to scope creep, and whether the template itself is designed for customization in mind.

So it may be important to put together a few website templates you really like, and then consult with a web designer on how templates could be customized further to more uniquely represent your brand. You’re still picking a tattoo design off the wall, but at least you’re adding some meaningful changes to the design.

Focus on Mobile-Friendly Templates

Mobile design should actually be your priority, especially if you intend to rank up your website on Google searches. This is because a few years ago, Google started prioritizing the mobile version of your site for ranking purposes, and so it’s prudent nowadays to focus on designing for mobile first.

Having a website that appears great on desktop is still important, it’s just that you should consider mobile design first, and then adapt to desktop, instead of the other way around.

Consider your content width

There’s generally two content width styles that are popular, and choosing one boils down to the type of website you’re building.

You have the options of full-width or boxed-width. In full-width content, the background stretches the entire width of the screen, and this gives the appearance of site content without limits. It’s popularly used on creative industry and personal websites.

Boxed width is where your content has frames that separate different aspects of your website, so everything is neatly arranged into boxes. This is more popular on business-oriented websites.

Plan for expansion

Another problem with just picking a template design off the wall is that you really don’t know how the website template will be able to adapt to future expansion on your web design.

Because right now you may be just trying to build the website and get it launched, but you also have to consider down the road whether or not you want to add plugins and other kinds of features, and so you have to ask yourself how friendly is the template towards integrating with those sort of popular plugins for e-commerce websites.

You kind of want to dig deep into any template you like and try to figure out how difficult the template itself will make future expansion.

See what competitors are doing

You absolutely want to take the time to study what your competitors are doing with their websites. That’s not to suggest you should copy anybody, because you’ll end up with a generic clone of your competitors. However it is worth studying your competitors’ websites to get a feel for elements of their web design that funnel the traffic towards conversion.

When you study your competitors websites , don’t focus on the theme and colors and the visual aesthetics of their website. Those things are tailored to their brand and not necessarily important for you. What you want to observe is the flow of their website and where they might place links to more information and sales pitches.

Consider SEO Friendliness

It’s often said correctly that you really want to build your website for humans, and not search engine bots. Which means to say that you shouldn’t revolve your website design around an SEO-points checklist.

However you do want to consider how your website template can be adapted to common SEO strategies in web design.

Always choose responsive.

This is an easy decision. In the event that your site isn’t responsive, your site is obsolete. Responsive formats make it easy to change the design of your sites across various screen sizes and gadgets.