As the new year continues to unfold, it’s time for a fresh new look for your business’ website. It has to be something that impresses visitors and provides the functionality that your customers expect. It should also be one that’s easy to use in the back-end, yet has a lot of features for customization and extensions.
When it’s time for a new website, it’s a good idea to go with a new WordPress theme because the platform is one of the most diverse web software applications out there. Because it’s based on a weblog, the majority of themes come with search engine optimization tools which can be used to improve organic search rank. The user interface is as easy to use as a word processor or a photo editor that come standard with any desktop computer.
Business owners particularly like this ease of use because WordPress doesn’t require any technical expertise to make changes. Since it’s launch just about 12 years ago in 2003, it’s grown to be one of the most published website platforms on the internet, with 60.8 percent of market share of all content management systems, and 23.6 percent of all websites utilizing WP as the core of the sites’ visitor interface.
Why Choose a WordPress Theme?
The reason for the website software’s success is because of it’s ease of use. Years ago, if a business wanted to publish a website to the internet, there were essentially two choices: buy a web software tutorial and learn how to code a web property from scratch or pay a company to build a site from the cyber ground up. Of course, there were “out of the box” websites available, but these still required a good deal of HTML and other coding knowledge to make them work for a particular business.
A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php). —WordPress Codex
Prior to WP, there were a few online applications which businesses could use to build a site, however, the problem was these digital applications were quite limited, had size restrictions and did not effect page changes sitewide. This meant if the owner changed one page, be it the color, header, body, footer, or sidebar, he or she would have to repeat the changes manually on every other page. Of course, that meant a lot of work just to implement a simple change. Along came the WP software and all of that changed. Now, when the site owner went into the back-end and changed the background color, it immediately took effect sitewide.
Do Your Homework Before You Pick a WordPress Theme
Before settling on a new theme, it’s good to be in the know to avoid having to change it out for another because it doesn’t do the job expected or is too limited. It might take a little time, but it will be well worth the effort to make an educated choice and not have buyer’s remorse later on.
- Shop around. This might go without stating, but since there are thousands of themes, it’s a good idea to select one that’s right the first time. Write a list of must-haves and use it to compare and contrast.
- Read user reviews. Just because a theme looks great on the screen doesn’t mean it works as promised. Don’t just go by how many stars or thumbs-up a theme has, read the reviews to find out if other users are pointing out technical problems.
- Look over the creator’s profile. Reinventing the wheel isn’t on a developer’s to-do list, so most authors simply write code, then modify it to produce a new theme. Search for the developer by name to see other theme’s he or she has created and read user feedback.
- Pick a WP theme that’s appropriate for your business. The theme should be related to your industry and/or niche, otherwise, it might turn off visitors. Moreover, it could even sabotage your SEO.
Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of choosing the right theme for your business’ site.
Choosing the Right WordPress Theme for Your Business
This is where it’s time to look a bit deeper at the actual product. If there’s one that’s really catching your eye, it’s best to take a look under the hood to ensure it’s the right one for your business’ needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Check for browser compatibility. In the United States, Chrome is the most used browser, capturing 62.5 percent of market share, Firefox has 22.9 percent, and Internet Explorer accounts for 8 percent. Look at the WP theme in all three to ensure it appears the same and responds the same on each.
- Choose a responsive design. It’s time consuming and expensive to build a desktop site and a mobile site, so save the frustration and get a theme that’s responsive.
- Read the Terms of Service. Free themes are tempting, but might have a lot of backlinks built-in. Additionally, some themes are limited in functionality.