Whether you’re remodeling your existing website or launching a new site, you need a good, reliable template. With literally thousands of choices, how can you know which themes are good and which are bad?
Here are some guidelines to help you distinguish a good template from a bad template.
A good website template will be updated regularly
Web development experts from dev.co say it’s critical to choose a theme that has been recently updated. A theme that doesn’t get updated regularly could eventually become a backdoor for cybercriminals to gain access to your website and/or server.
Hackers are always waiting to pounce on known vulnerabilities. If a theme is popular, there’s a chance its vulnerabilities will become widely known in the hacker world and your site could become a target. Updates are the only way to close off these vulnerabilities.
If cybercriminals gain access to your website, they could use it in a phishing scheme without your knowledge. When your webhost finds out, they’ll take your whole account offline until you clean up the server.
How to identify secure themes
When browsing themes, look for when the theme was created and last updated. Make sure any theme you purchase has been recently updated and verify the theme creator has a history of releasing updates. You can usually find this information by viewing the theme creator’s profile and checking out other themes they’ve created.
If a developer never updates their themes, or their updates are years old, you should find a theme from another developer.
A good website template will leave native CMS elements in place
On the surface, a website template can seem perfect. When a template has the look you want for your site, there’s no reason to think it might be a dud. However, looks can be deceiving in some pretty sneaky ways. You could build out your entire website before noticing some native CMS features are missing.
For example, some WordPress theme developers omit the code for widgets in the theme’s files rather than allowing users to turn widgets on or off. If you end up with this kind of theme and you want to use widgets, you’ll need to pay a developer to customize your theme, which can cost as much or more than you paid for the theme in the first place.
Before purchasing a template, ask the developer if they’ve removed or disabled any native CMS features. Don’t buy a template that permanently disables core features like widgets and sidebars. At least with WordPress, you can use plugins to control what widgets show up on each page. There’s no reason for developers to hard-code widgets out of the CMS.
An ideal website template will have its own admin panel
Your content management system has an admin panel where you can select options, change settings, and create and edit content. That’s great for admin work, but it won’t help you customize your website’s theme.
High-quality website templates will come with their own admin panel that allows you to make changes to the template without having to know HTML. For example, most theme admin panels make it easy to:
- Change the site’s color scheme to preset colors or custom colors.
- Change the header image.
- Change the typography, including font face, size, color, line spacing, and letter spacing.
- Change the logo.
- Change the contact information in the header if it’s a business website.
- Link all included social media icons to the proper accounts.
- Change any other unique aspect the template provides.
Take your template for a test drive before you buy, and make sure you can edit all the important elements with ease.
A good website template comes with great typography
Typography directly affects a website’s conversion rate. Many studies have shown that visitors don’t read more than 20% of the text on a given page. However, the typography creates an impression that can either cause a visitor to bounce or continue browsing.
Good typography makes people feel comfortable, even when they don’t read all of your content. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the better chance you have to make a sale.
Make a list of required specs before choosing a template
The easiest way to choose a template is to narrow down your choices first by aesthetics and then by technical specs. Once you’ve bookmarked several templates you like, compare the specs to your list of required specs. Only buy a template that looks great and meets your technical requirements.