So you want to make your website beautiful and you’ve opted to use an off-the-shelf theme. This is a cost and time effective alternative to trying to design something yourself. With tens of thousands of themes to choose from, you won’t even have to worry about your website looking like everyone else’s.
The downside to having so many themes to choose from is figuring out which one to choose. Layouts. Functionality. Colors. Configurability. There are so many options available that just narrowing down the field can seem like an impossible task. And if you pick the wrong theme, you might end up with something that just doesn’t work to bring you customers.
How do you select the best theme for your business?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are searching the theme market places for your new website.
How old is the theme?
Look at the release date and the last update. If it’s been over a year since it was released or updated, you might want to look elsewhere. Chances are that it won’t look good on mobile browsers and it may even not work properly with the latest version of WordPress or some of your plugins.
Is the developer/designer supporting the theme?
Most theme marketplaces have an area where users can ask questions and post problems they are having with the theme. Is the developer answering them in a timely fashion? Are they answering them at all? There are only a few things worse than finding a problem with a theme or not knowing how to get the theme to work properly and having nowhere to go for help.
Sadly, there are theme developers who create a theme, throw it up on the marketplace and walk away. Perhaps they were expecting to get rich quick or perhaps they had no idea how much work would be involved with keeping the theme running smoothly.
The big theme frameworks out there such as Genesis, Headway, Thesis, iThemes Builder and the like have customer support forums and paid support staff.
What are the ratings/reviews?
Is the theme getting a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews? Is there just an occasional 1 or 2 star review? That’s ok, there are always going to be some people who hate stuff. But when the bad reviews become too large a portion of the overall reviews, then there might be a problem with the theme.
Is the theme “responsive”?
Responsive is the fancy word for ‘mobile ready’. The site layout actually adjusts to fit smaller screens like smartphones and tablets. If the theme isn’t responsive, walk away. More than half of your website viewers are going to be using a smartphone. Your site better look good for them or you’ve wasted your money.
Is the theme customizable?
It’s great if a theme will let you upload your logo and adjust some colors to suit, but be aware that themes with a great deal of customization options usually don’t look that good out of the box and take a lot of time to tweak. They may also require you to have more technical and design skill than you do and will take more time to setup.
Will your logo fit in their logo area?
Some theme designers assume that your logo is teeny-tiny and they don’t leave room for anything bigger than a postage stamp. Don’t kid yourself, you can’t change this without knowing a lot of code so, if you have a logo, make sure it will fit.
Are all of the elements of the theme attractive?
Most themes don’t allow you to adjust much beyond a few key colors. Here are things that you probably won’t be able to change that my clients and friends got stuck with
- Text is too small or too light in color
- Page layout won’t let you add your phone number where you want it
- Widgets can’t be added to certain pages
Make sure that you love everything about a theme before you pay good money for it.
Does the theme look the way you want people to feel about your business?
Is the theme clean and professional? Warm? Corporate? Try to match the theme’s look and feel to your company’s personality and your industry.
You don’t have to lock yourself into industry specific themes
Don’t worry if you can’t find something specific to your industry. There are virtually no themes available just for the massage therapy industry yet there are thousands of massage therapy websites. You will likely find a theme that reflects your company’s image of itself in other categories.
If you’ve got a WordPress theme that you need help with, I can help. Contact me now if you need help creating a beautiful website that you and your visitors will love.
Did you arrive here by accident? Why not sign up for the free eBook Your Website Is Ugly and get the entire series of bonus articles, too.