There are a myriad different ways to build a website. This article will focus on selecting a theme for a WordPress website, which is currently the most popular Content Management System (CMS).
All WordPress installations include a default theme and the most recent release of WordPress comes with a responsive theme aptly titled “WordPress 2016 theme”.
However, as you can see, this particular theme looks more like a blog than a business home page, so you may want to choose another theme that will be more suited to your needs. Picking the right theme is very important to the success of your website as this will dictate its look and feel for a while.
ThemeForest.net is a popular place to peruse and buy themes where the variety of available options can be exhilarating and confusing at the same time. Don’t worry, let’s walk you through the important points you need to know to pick a theme for your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind while evaluating a theme.
1. Pick a theme built for WordPress.
Before buying your theme, it is important to make sure that the theme is built specifically for WordPress. To do this, you can check to see if “WordPress” is part of the title—like in the example below. If not, read through the specifications to ensure you are evaluating a WordPress theme.
2. Buy themes with good support.
It is important to confirm there is good support for the theme you buy. If you run into problems during development, it is worth having someone at the other end who can direct you or answer your questions. Conversely, a theme without support indicates that it has been built by someone who has since moved on to other projects, or a single developer who doesn’t have the time to allocate for support. In either case, you will be left with a tool that you will have to spend time and money figuring out how to achieve what you want.
The image below shows a theme that comes with online documentation, video tutorials, and most importantly, support. You also have the option to buy extended support as highlighted on the right side of the image.
3. The company or author that built the theme should be established.
It is a good idea to buy a theme from a company that has been around for a couple of years. (Yes, that is a long time in the online world!) This indicates that building themes is their primary focus.
The red circle in the image below highlights the other themes that this author has built. Since they have built a few themes, they have probably been building themes for at least a couple of years.
The image below shows that they created a theme in 2013. This shows that building themes is one of their mainstays.
4. Check the ratings and read the comments.
Check out the ratings of the themes before buying. Four or five stars indicates that it is easier to use and implement the theme. And don’t forget to read the comments as well; these can give great insight into the theme’s quality.
5. Buy themes that are regularly updated.
As with a car or a house, all software needs to be regularly maintained to stay functional, and whether or not a theme has been consistently updated is an important clue as to its health. Themes that have not been updated in some time may have compatibility problems or, worse, security issues. To make sure the updates are current, you can check the day it was created and the last day it was updated; the more recent the update, the better.
It is also important to make sure that the theme has been updated with every major release of WordPress. This not only indicates that the theme is up-to-date with its support for the current WordPress version, but also that future updates will most likely be supported.
6. Choose a theme with appropriate design elements for your business.
If you are buying a theme, make sure that it has all the features including layouts, fonts, pages, etc. to satisfy your business’ needs. A good way to check this is to answer these five questions:
- Do you like the way the navigation is laid out?
- Does it contain all the pages that you need?
- If it doesn’t, can one of the page options be easily turned into a page that will suit your needs?
- Are the images in the theme appropriately placed for your liking and needs?
- Can you use this theme right out of the box without much customization?
If you answered “Yes” to all of those questions, then this theme may be the one for you.
7. Buy only a responsive theme.
Above all else, make sure that any theme you buy is responsive. Google favors mobile-friendly sites in their search results, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will be harder for potential clients to find you, and your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will suffer.
The following image shows a WordPress theme that is “fixed”; in other words, the theme is not responsive.
In contrast, here is a theme that is responsive. It says so on its layout option.
To recap, here are the 7 tips to evaluate a theme.
- Pick a theme built for WordPress.
- Buy themes with good support.
- The company or author that built the theme should be established.
- Check the ratings and read the comments.
- Buy themes that are regularly updated.
- Choose a theme with appropriate design elements for your business.
- Buy a responsive theme.
Using the tips above, go out there and choose a fabulous new theme for your business’ website in the coming new year!
Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.