It is easy to think that purchasing a theme for your website will be a fast and cheap way of getting your business online. There are some factors to consider before you purchase your theme however to ensure you don’t spend a lot of time and money.
Themes are cost effective
Yes they can be, but not always. If you are willing to make some compromise in order to ‘fit’ your content into the theme then yes it can be a cheap alternative to designing your website from scratch.
Sometimes it can be as simple as getting your logo to fit the template. If your logo is suited to a light background and the template has the logo on a black background, it can be difficult to get your logo to look good in the template. You may have to get a designer to develop your logo to look good on a dark background, will likely incur a cost.
Themes can be difficult to customise and you never really know how difficult the customisation will be until you delve into the code and find out how the template works. Making what seems like a simple change could prove to take a considerable amount of time – which could also cost you more.
Choosing the right theme
There is a huge range of themes to choose from so finding the right one for you can take time. It’s an important step too as choosing the wrong theme will have negative effects.
Theme developers can easily make their demo sites look amazing, but the work involved in getting to that point can take some time. They also like to do sneaky things like have a link back to their own site at the bottom of theme, which doesn’t look very professional. It also takes people away from your website.
Make sure to check out the user ratings for the theme. If the average rating is high, it’s more likely the theme is solid. Be sure to check there are a high number of people that have actually ranked the theme too. A five star ranking from 1 user doesn’t mean the theme is going to be five star for you! Also check the comments and the support forums. The support forums often identify any glaring problems that people are having with the theme.
All those features come at a cost
A custom design is more effective
And it can often ended up saving time. Taking the time to choose a theme that suits you, customise the look and feel to fit with your brand and then fit all your content into your theme, it can often take just as much time to design your layout from scratch.
There is a lot more flexibility when designing a custom website and we aren’t fitting the content around the theme. We are designing a theme that fits our message. I buy pants that fit me, I don’t buy great looking pants and then put on weight in order to fill them out! A distant analogy but you see what I mean.
Are you willing to compromise?
If you are willing to compromise a little on how your website looks, then a theme can be a good way to get a website up and running quickly. But a website designed and built from the ground up will always be better suited to your needs, and of your users needs.