For many businesses, a custom designed website is needed in order to properly represent the company’s brand. Companies like Apple or Pepsi require professional designers to create unique website designs that are consistent with the rest of the corporate marketing materials. On the other hand, many small business don’t have a website at all. They are less concerned with their site being branded properly and more concerned with it being available online where their customers and prospects can find it. If your business is in this latter category, a WordPress theme might be a good option. A WordPress theme is is an already-created design which can plug into WordPress, the leading website content management system (a platform for building websites on). Not all WordPress themes are created equal. Some are high quality, from both a visual and programming standpoint, while others are plain or poorly written. Consider these factors when choosing a WordPress theme that is right for you.
- Design. The design, or look and feel of a theme is to some degree a subjective matter. However, some theme creators simply produce better-looking and more unique themes than others. A challenging part about selecting the right design is that the nicer the theme is, the more likely many other businesses have also chosen it, rendering it less unique. Also, most themes can be highly customized but it can be difficult visualizing what a particular theme will look like once you have added your own logo, images and modified the color scheme to suit. For this reason, while themes are a simple way to create a nice looking site, you may still want the assistance of a web developer to help you select a nicely designed theme and customize it to your needs.
- Feature Set. Themes contain not only the look, or design, of a site, they provide many of the features that site will have. For example, is there a slide show? Can the colors, fonts and styles of the theme be edited? Is the theme Responsive, meaning that it works well across a variety of different platforms, including mobile devices? You can usually see the features of a given theme by looking at the theme demo or features pages.
- Support. Does the theme come with support? Some of the best themes are feature rich, making them also somewhat more complex. Does the developer offer phone or email support? Do they regularly put out upgrades to the theme to fix bugs and security issues? Review their support pages and/or user forums to see how active they are. You may want to even email or call them to see if you get a response.
- Performance. Does the theme have good performance? If moving from page to page is slow, you should stay away from the theme. The stability of the theme is also important. If there are bugs, the theme can cause problems with your whole site and/or make it more susceptible to being hacked. How do you evaluate this? Sites that review themes can be helpful as can a web developer who has specific experience with a theme or theme development company.
These are some of the things to keep in mind when selecting a WordPress theme. If you’d like help from us to select a theme or think you might be a candidate for a custom-designed site, give us a call!