Whether you’re creating your first website or redoing your fifth, choosing your website’s design and theme is a big decision. You have to choose a layout, colors, imagery, navigation style, space…the list keeps going.

The first step in building your website is choosing a theme. Whether you’re building your own site using a general website platform or are using FMG Suite to select a theme, here are helpful tips for settling on a theme that’s right for you.

1. Know What Type of Website You’re Creating

It’s easy to fall prey to beautiful design, but if it doesn’t align with your business and what you provide, it won’t make much sense. A business that sells gardening supplies online will require a very different website than an advisor explaining his services.

Start by eliminating any designs or themes that are geared toward e-commerce businesses. Then, consider what features are important for your website:

  • Are there any any special features you need?
  • Will you be blogging?
  • Do you plan on incorporating videos or podcasts?
  • How do you envision the balance between imagery and text?
  • Are there any widgets, apps, software, or lead generation pieces you want to incorporate (such as Riskalyze, a newsletter sign up form, etc.)?

If you’re considering one of our Exclusive website themes, check out this helpful video for choosing a theme.

2. Set a Budget But Don’t Compromise Quality

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to create a beautiful site, and there are even free setup options available. But remember that money isn’t the only thing you’re investing in a website. You also must invest time and resources.

If you use a free option, you’ll need to customize the site yourself and provide your own images. You also won’t be able to rely on a professional for guidance or help. However, if you’re able to dedicate time to learning and experimenting, this can be a good option.

If you’re short on time and want help from a pro, you may want to consider paying for a higher level of service. One example is our Concierge and Exclusive services, where you can work with a professional. And other general website providers, such as Wordpress, offer higher-end themes you can purchase.

3. Choose a Responsive Theme

Mobile-responsive is a must, not a luxury. Over 55% of web traffic now comes from a mobile device. You don’t want to turn off a potential client just because your website is difficult to navigate.

Make sure the theme you choose is not just mobile-friendly, but mobile-responsive. There’s a key difference between the two, so make sure you clarify before choosing a theme.

4. Find a Flexible Platform

Once your website is built, you’ll need to make occasional updates. Make sure you choose a provider or theme that allows for customization and simple adjustments. Ideally, your website will be built on an easy-to-use platform that you can log into and adjust as needed.

Clarify this with your designer or website provider before diving into a project. It will save you many a headache down the road.

5. Know Your Customer Support Options

What will you do if your site goes down, you accidentally delete something, or you are having trouble editing a page? Even the best themes can encounter problems down the road and you need to know who you can contact should something happen.

Before settling on a website provider, research their customer service options. How easy are they to reach? Are they available through multiple communication methods (phone, email, chat)? Does it cost to speak with them? Find a provider with a customer support team you can trust to be there when you need help.

As website trends are constantly changing, we recommend making tweaks to your website at least once a year and undergoing a total makeover every three to five years to keep it looking fresh. 

Hopefully, addressing these five elements will help make your theme decision easier. Don’t rush the decision and take your time to choose a website you think will represent your practice well.