Just like taking a drive down main street anywhere in the world and you're bound to run into something so unsightly that makes you just cringe, this same thing has probably already happened to you on the Internet (more than once.)
Internet eyesores, once thought to have been declining, are now rising once again. The glitzy, gaudy, and loud manifestations of creations by early web publishers and My Space users are taking a new form in the web 2.0 era and here are some things that you can do to ensure that choosing the right template will keep you out of the wrong side of the Internet tracks.
1. Colors - Needless to say that everyone has their own personal tastes, however if you are building a site to attract visitors you need to carefully consider what type of visitor you are trying to attract. Just like animals and insects in the wild, if you have the wrong colors, your site can be a deterrent to would be readers and customers. There are several sites on the Internet that can provide a comprehensive list of color theory and effective web usage.
2. Layout - Having a nice layout is Feng Shui for the web. Where you decide to put things and the arrangement of content can be very inviting just the same way a bowl of milk is to a kitten or it can be like walking into a dark forest where the next step could lead to disaster or leave your visitor lost. If you look at some of the top websites on Alexa.com, you'll see there are various and effective layouts for the type of content you are trying to present. Ask yourself what it is exactly that you wish to accomplish with your website and how a new visitor would find your most important content. If your good stuff is right out front, the visitors might not venture to other areas of your website, conversely if your visitor has to hunt for that content, they may never find it and leave. Choose your approach carefully, keep it simple until your testing tells you otherwise.
3. Flexibility - Having a website that allows you to change and tweak module position, colors, and even the layout will save you a lot of time and money when it comes time for changes. Be ready for change. What is cool and hip today may not be the greatest thing tomorrow just like flashing banners, pop-ups, long loading flash intros.