Weebly.com, Wix.com and WordPress.com all offer a broad range of ready to use design templates called “themes”. A theme can be selected at any time during the website creation. Selecting a new theme will not delete or change the content of your website.
1. Get inspired
Got to www.weebly.com, www.wix.com or www.wordpress.com. Browse the theme gallery and select the theme you like. Than focus on the layout of the internal pages.
Take a special look at the internal pages of your theme:
- How is content displayed?
- How many columns does it offer?
- How flexible is the navigation?
- How many navigation levels can it display?
- How big is the type size?
- How much space does it offer for images?
Don’t focus too much on the colours and images. They can be changed later.
The home page also plays a special role and often uses a layout that’s quite different from than the internal pages.
2. Choose a theme that follows web conventions
Check if your theme follows web conventions.
Web conventions define the place and function of elements on a website that users have come to expect as standard. If your theme doesn’t follow the common web conventions your site visitors may be confused because things are not where they expect them to be.
Search for the following elements on your theme:
- Page header
- Site ID
- Global navigation
- Home link
- Content area
- Page name
- Scan column (left, right or both) for local navigation or page features such as advertising or external links.
- Page footer
Take a look at the position of the elements and compare it with the mock-up below:
If the theme you choose offers most of the elements above and the elements are placed as shown in the mock-up, your theme follows nearly all web conventions.
Note: This is not the one and only layout that works. But eye-tracking studies have shown that it’s the layout that works best for most users. Your layout must not accord exactly with the mock-up I show you here. You can change the global and local navigation or use only a part of the elements I showed you.