Web Design & Dev

Website Design Theme: 20 Things to Consider When Choosing One

Samuel Darwin 25 September, 2020

Web design goes beyond how good your website looks and feels. In fact, there are a variety of things you need to think about before you begin picking out a theme for your website. Next time you start browsing your website design theme options keep the following list in mind.

choosing design theme

1. Your Brand and Appropriate Website Design Theme

Have you ever visited a business’ website, only to discover that their design theme seems to be out of place? If you have, then you already know what it means to have an on-brand website theme. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when picking out a design theme for your website.

choosing a design theme for your brand


There are many things to consider here. What is the personality of your brand? And what kind of voice does it have? Moreover, what is the message your brand wants to send? If your brand personality is more serious and formal, you wouldn’t want to have a website design that undermines that message. Your website theme needs to reflect your brand accurately.

2. Your Purpose

The purpose here refers to the purpose of your business. In other words, the reason why your business exists in the first place. Knowing your purpose helps you determine the who and why of your business. Who do you want to impact? Why?

web design purpose

Knowing the answer will help you determine what your website will look like by telling you who you serve and why you’re serving them. A website theme that doesn’t reflect its stated purpose can seem misleading and untrustworthy, causing users to leave your site as soon as they arrive.

3. Your Goals

While purpose tells you who and why, your goal gives you a how. It breaks down your purpose into pieces that you can track and measure. If your purpose is to help other businesses, your website goal might be to create brand awareness.

With this in mind, choose a website design theme that reflects your goals and helps you achieve them. This means your website theme should look the part and offer your audience what it needs. Which brings us to the next point…

4. Website Design Theme for Your Target Audience

You wouldn’t design your website for a teenage audience the way you would for an audience of marketing professionals. This is why you need to have an in-depth understanding of who your audience is before you begin designing your website.

selecting design theme for your target audience
It doesn’t matter how good your website design might be if it doesn’t help you connect to your target audience. Identify your target audience and create buyer personas. This will help you pick a website design theme that will attract and keep the attention of your target audience.

5. Your Competitor’s Design

It’s important to keep yourself updated on what your competition is up to. This still goes even if you’re doing better than your competitors. You can still learn as much from a business’s failures as you can from their success.

analyzing competitors' web design

Before you begin designing your website, identify your competitors, and take a look at their website. Their design can give you pointers of what you should avoid. It can also inspire your own design options and help you improve upon what has been done before.

6. Your Budget for Website Design

Great website design themes are seldom free. This is not to say you can’t find a good theme for your website for free. This simply means that if you’re looking for a high-quality design theme for your website, you should always be prepared to pay for one.

budget for the website design

The price ranges can vary, depending on the design and its features. Either way, if you know what you want, you should know how much you’re able to spend on it. Set a specific budget for your website theme and keep it in mind as you sort through your options.

7. Web Design’s First Impressions

Here’s a shocking fact: 94% of first impressions of websites are design-related. This means that you only have seconds to make a good impression before a user decides whether to leave or stay on your site.

web design's first impression
Before picking out your website theme, consider the first impression it might make on your users. What will your target audience think of your site the second they arrive? If you know your target audience well, you can use this knowledge to determine what first impression your preferred theme will have.

8. Originality of Website Design Theme

Let’s take a step back. You should definitely think of your target audience and look at what your competitors are doing when picking a website theme. You should make sure the design of your website is as good as possible. However, you must also maintain a sense of originality with the theme you choose.

originality of a design theme
Think of it this way: if your website looks and feels the same as every other website out there, what will stop your audience from leaving your site out of boredom? This is where originality comes in. Before choosing a website design theme, make sure to pick one that illustrates what makes your brand unique.

9. Content and Web Design

Content here refers to all of the information that is going to go on your website. A minimalistic website theme might seem like a great option, but if you plan on having a lot of content, your website will end up looking crowded and unorganized.

Make a design plan that considers the amount of information you need to have per page, and find a theme that fits said information in a visually appealing manner.

content in a design theme

10. Useful Features of Website Theme

The same applies to the number of features you need to have on your website. For the purpose of this article, features refer to the elements that a website can have (image sliders, tabs, accordions, contact forms, business location maps, etc.).

useful features of a website theme


Some themes incorporate features better than others. This means that before making a final decision on the website theme you want, you need to ensure that you can easily incorporate all the website features you need.

11. Color Scheme of Website Design Theme

If you have established your brand, then you should already have a color scheme for your website. Your color scheme should reflect the voice and personality of your brand, but it should also mix well with the theme of your website.

web design color scheme
If possible, test out your color scheme with the website theme you’re looking to use and confirm that both work well together. If they don’t, go through your options and choose a theme that makes a better fit.

12. Website Design and Usability

The usability of your website is just as important as the look of it. This is because usability centers around the user first. If your website theme makes a good first impression but lacks usability, your web design efforts will go to waste.

checking website's usability

The best way to avoid this is to thoroughly test out your desired theme before making your final decision. This way, you ensure that your user will have a seamless experience browsing through your website.

13. Navigation

In the process of planning your website, you should have created a navigation structure. In other words, you should know the architecture your website has to help users get from one page to another.

As you pick out a theme for your website, you should also consider this architecture. Does the theme work well for the navigation structure you intend it to have? If the answer is no, the theme you’re considering is probably not for you.

14. Responsiveness as Must-Have of Design Theme

A website with responsive design works well no matter the device used to access it. This is an important feature that your website must have. As such, you need to test the theme you want to use for responsiveness.

responsive design of a website theme
How does the website look on a desktop? How does it look on a tablet? Does the theme adapt to the size of the browser and screen? If it does so well, then you have a good candidate for your website theme.

15. Web Design and Readability

Website readability goes beyond the reading level of your written content. Notably, readability is also determined by the color, font, and spacing you use to present your text. While this is a feature you will probably be able to edit, having a theme with poor readability can hurt your website’s success.

website theme readability
A good website design theme will make every piece of content easy to read and understand. The colors, spacing, and text size you use should help the user interact with your website. A website theme that fails to be readable loses the audience it’s meant to attract.

16. Mobile-friendliness of Website Design Theme

The way your website looks and works will change drastically when it’s accessed through a mobile device. Thus, the change in screen size is so drastic that optimizing a website for mobile devices is almost like building a second website.

mobile view of a website design
This is why the mobile-friendliness of your website theme is so important. With most internet usage coming from mobile devices, you need a website theme that is fully optimized for smartphone users. Fail to meet these criteria, and you might lose a significant part of your target audience.

17. Website Speed and Web Design

Speed is a significant factor in how your audience uses and stays on your website. This means that if your website is slow to load, your users will quickly lose patience and leave. When it comes to website themes, not all are built the same way.

Website themes that are full of complex features can slow down the performance of your website and make it frustrating for users to interact with it. You can easily avoid this by testing out the theme you’re interested in using. So, the faster a website loads, the better.

18. SEO and Design Theme

There are a variety of ways in which your website theme can impact your website’s SEO, such as speed and design. One important way your website theme affects your SEO is through the structure of the theme itself.

seo and web design

If the website theme you want to use was not designed with SEO in mind, your efforts in reaching more people through search results pages will be lost. Make sure to pick a theme that is structured in a SEO-friendly manner, such as using heading tags correctly within the theme’s code. Once you do, double-check the infrastructure of your website for any other errors.

19. Browser Compatibility

Ensuring that your website is functional across all browsers is just as important as its cross-device compatibility. As such, browser compatibility testing is a necessary step when picking out your website theme.

This doesn’t apply to just the look of your website. Your website theme might look the way it’s supposed to, across all browsers, and still not function properly. This means you need to test the theme’s buttons, images, and other features.

20. Social Media Integration as a Part of Website Theme

These days, social media is a vital aspect of any website’s marketing strategy. If you want your website to be found, you need to integrate social media and make it easy for users to find, view, and share your content. This is why most websites have social media share buttons in nearly all their pages.

social media integration in the website design
Given their importance, a website theme should follow all of the previously mentioned points, as well as social media integration. When you’re going through your website theme options, make sure that the one you pick seamlessly integrates social media. It should, at the very least, give you the option to integrate it. If it doesn’t, remember the relevance that social media will play in your website’s success and move on.

Picking the Right Website Design Theme

Choosing a website theme that meets all of these criteria isn’t easy. It requires time, effort, and lots of research to know what theme will work best for your website needs. This effort, however, is worth it. Having a good, functional, website theme can make a significant difference in your business’ success.

Hopefully, this list serves as your website theme checklist and helps you pick a theme that looks, feels, and works flawlessly. It should also give you clues into what you need to watch out for when going through your website theme options. Knowing what you want and need is an important first step in securing a theme that’s right for you.

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Tags: design theme guide on web design web design website design website theme
Author: Samuel Darwin