With 19,801 premium (paid for) themes on Themeforest alone, it isn’t suprising that you are feeling totally overwhelmed at the thought of finding a theme for your WordPress website!
Of course you could just stick with the latest free theme that comes with the install of your WordPress software, but it won’t help you stand out from the crowd online, and your website will end up looking very similar to thousands of others on the web.
My favourite themes come from Studio Press and even they have 49 to choose from – so I’m here to give you some pointers in the right direction.
The first thing to think about is what you want your website to do
This might sound like an odd question, as obviously on the most basic level it is the online home that promotes your heart-centered business, but let’s drill down into what you are actually offering…
1. Do you want visitors to be able to purchase your products or services directly from your website? Do you need an online shop, which can be as simple as having PayPal “Buy Now” buttons embedded in your site?
2. Do you need a gallery or portfolio of your work on your site? Do you want to show visitors examples of your work, be it photography, graphic design, jewellery, meditation cushions etc?)
3. Are you on social media and need to connect your profiles to your site? You ARE on social media right…?
All these are important factors in choosing a theme for your website, as not all of them will have the features you need. (For example, from first hand experience it is much easier to choose a theme that has a built in porfolio page than trying to tweak code to develop one yourself!)
Then there are the 4 ‘non-negotiables’ which apply to EVERY site…
1. Mobile responsive – ensuring your site can be viewed easily on mobile devices from Smart Phones to Tablets, as well as laptops and desktop computers. Google have recently essentially made this mandatory, as they will rank your website lower in the searches if it is NOT responsive!
I am currently working with a client whose site I built a number of years ago. At the time, mobile responisveness was not as important as it is in 2015, and the theme we used was not best viewed on the tiny screen of a Smart Phone. This just shows how quickly themes (even ones that are built by developers with great reputations) can go out of date.
2. Search Engine Optimised (often referred to simply as SEO) so that you are found easily on Google and the other search engines.
Well built themes will allow you to add your own SEO terms when editing each page and blog post, as well as optimise your home page – without having to delve into the mysterious world of coding!
3. Easy to navigate – enabling your visitors to find out who you are, what you offer, if it’s a good fit for them, and how to take the next step (book an appointment, or buy a product or service).
This is partly to do with how the theme is set up (some are so “arty” that finding different pages on a website is completely elusive!) It is also partly down to how you create your navigation menu and order your content – something we will be covering in the online group course “I Wish I Loved My Website” starting next January.
4. List Sign Up built in – so that visitors can keep in contact with you (and you them!)
I’ve written about the importance of having a “List” here. To summarise, if you don’t make it super easy for visitors to sign up to receive updates you are potentially losing them as they may not bookmark your site, and if they do there is no guarantee they will come back any time soon.
Support and cost
And last (but certainly not least), do check on the support you get when you purchase a theme. If you have nowhere to go for help if you get stuck with simply setting up your theme, let alone doing any customisation, it is probably not worthing paying for. (One of the reasons I love Studio Press so much is that the support is excellent, both directly from Studio Press by email, but also from the forum of developers who use their suite of themes).
Theme costs vary immensely, and if you are looking at a theme that is more than a few pounds or dollars I’d advise looking at how it has been used for other sites (any good developer will have “live” examples of their theme in use) before you buy.
A cost effective way of having access to a number of different themes is to buy the entire suite and simply download the ones you wish to try. Elegant Themes do just that and offer 87 themes for $69 – and their latest theme: Divi, is proving super popular.
So now that you are clear on what you require from a theme you can go off and choose something that is also pretty, knowing what to look for in terms of your own heart-centred business!
Over to you
What themes have you tried, tested and love in WordPress. We’d love to hear from you, as recommendations go a long way when there are so many to choose from!
Have you struggled with a theme that just didn’t do what you needed it to? Did you resolve this, or simply give up?
We will be looking at different premium themes (and I will be recommending those I have tried and like myself) as part of the online group course “I Wish I Loved My Website”.
Click here to find out more and sign up to be “front of the queue” when registration opens.
Photo credit: Luke Chesser on Unsplash