With all of our clients that we help build websites for on the WordPress Platform, the number one biggest challenge seems to be choosing a theme. Your theme is a big part of your brand. It’s the first impression customers get when they come to your website. If they don’t identify with your business, they won’t stick around for long.
WordPress has thousands of themes to choose from and it can take hours to find the one you like. There are free themes and premium themes and as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for” is true here too. Unfortunately, not all WordPress themes are created with the same attention to detail, integrity, style, and security that you deserve.
If you’re on a tight budget or are just building a simple personal website than a free theme should be just fine. If your a business, we recommend using a premium theme because they provide you with a complete professional theme that will better represent your business and your brand to the world.
The theme you choose needs to have at least the following:
- Out-of-the-box control and flexibility
- Highly adaptable and secure platform with built-in SEO
- Easy customization capabilities
- Simple multimedia and social media integration
- Simple, easy & logical navigation
- Unlimited support and updates
- It needs to provide you with that WOW factor when you see it.
- Choosing a them by niche. What business are you in? There are themes for every niche including consulting, hair salons & spas, restaurants, e-commerce, education, large enterprise, agencies, health care, photography, politics, real estate an many more. This is usually the best place to start your search.
- The theme must be Responsive. Responsive themes are essential for today’s websites. Your web site must work on desktops, mobile phones and tablets because those are the types of devices your customers use. Learn why you should you care about having a responsive website.
- Find your ideal color palette. Your color palette should match your business brand colors. Many themes allow you to change the color but you need to take this into consideration because some themes are designed around specific colors.
- All the right Features.Premium themes usually come with many features. Here are 8 questions you should get answers to.
- Is the theme widget ready?
- Does it support or use WordPress 3.0 menus?
- Is it optimized for WordPress 3+?
- Does it require you to install 3rd-party plugins?
- Can the footer text and links be changed?
- If needed does it have good page templates, e.g. CMS style front-page, unique archive design etc
- Does the theme have shortcodes?
- Can I customize (page layouts, headers, image sizes, etc)?
Premium themes come with a fee and you can usually get a great theme for under $100. Most themes fall in the $25 to $65 range. Any more than $100 and the theme better come with some “extras” to justify the price.
One last tip is to always read the theme page to get a complete understanding of what is included before you buy.