Before you set up your new website, you need to have some idea about how you want it to look. Thankfully, choosing the right template or theme is really not that difficult. Here are some basic things to consider.
Will you be adding a section for ads, or special info that you wish to highlight in a sidebar? Will you need more than one sidebar?
The copy that is easiest to read and that promotes sales the best is dark text on a white or very light background.
What kind of tone are you trying to set? Do you want to appear safe and reliable, or funny, or exciting and daring? These factors will help you to choose specific fonts and colors.
Who is your primary customer or reader? Do you want to cater to young professionals, the disabled, senior citizens?
How will you interact with people? And what is your desired response from the reader?
A website template gives you a basic site layout and establishes your color scheme. When setting up a regular HTML website, it can be tricky to find the right template, because there are so many choices, and most templates are pretty hard to customize. For that reason, many new site owners are choosing to use WordPress. While it is commonly used for blogs, you can set things up so your site does not look like a blog at all.
A WordPress theme is very similar to a website template. But if you choose the right theme, it can be much more customizable. If you’re picky about things like the appearance of menus, then you probably want a theme that is easy to customize and has many options, like the free Atahualpa theme (available from www.wordpress.org). There are also some very good themes that you can buy, but they tend to be expensive, often $150 to $200 or so.
Next, you will probably want your own header graphic — not the default graphic included in the template or theme. Sometimes it makes sense to pick out the colors in your header image and repeat them for various site design elements like the background color for your sidebars or for your menus. This gives a very pleasing and integrated effect. Some people find it very difficult to design a color scheme, so here are a couple of tools that can help you with this.
Pixie is a nifty little utility that you can download. It will give you a number code for any color that you can see on your screen. You often need to know the number of a color so you can integrate it with HTML code to change the color of headlines, site links or ads. Download the program from: http://www.brothersoft.com/publisher/nattyware-research-lab.html.
Next, go to www.colordesigner.com. This is a terrific website that will let you enter the number code for any color, and then tell you which colors to use with it. You can choose from a soothing color scheme, where your colors are close together on the color wheel, or something more dramatic. This site is invaluable for figuring out which colors will go together well.
This should get you off on the right track to coming up with a website design that matches your needs perfectly.