The Importance Of Choosing The Right WordPress Theme
December 14, 2016 Wordpress Themes
Table of Contents
Some facts you might like to know about WordPress:
There are at least 80 million WordPress sites around the world. And the number is going up, because more than one in five of all new websites is a WordPress site – and that means 24,000 new WordPress sites every day.
Roughly half of those 80 million sites are “free” sites on WordPress.com, but:
Nearly one in five self-hosted web sites run WordPress.
There are more than 30,000 WordPress plug-ins.
There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress themes.
Why do we put that last point like that, and not give you an actual number? Because nobody knows the exact number – but it’s vast. Ginormous.
Unimaginably large. And they’re all different. And if you want your website to do anything positive for you and/or your business, by crikey, you’d better pick one that’s right for you.
Types of WordPress themes
Before you even think about what type of theme would best suit your website, you need to answer this question:
What is my website for?
1. Is it a blog? If so, is it a place to express yourself, somewhere to tell people your latest news, or is it there to help you sell things?
2. Is it an eCommerce store-front?
3. Is it somewhere to showcase your skills as a photographer, a designer, a dress-maker, a… (the list is quite possibly endless)
4. Or is it…? (Once again, a list without end).
People have websites for a stunning variety of reasons. What’s yours? Define it very carefully, because you can’t choose the right theme until you’ve defined exactly what you want the theme to achieve.
What image do you want to convey?
But there’s an aspect of that question, “What is my website for?” that isn’t covered by any of those things, and it just may be the most important of all the possible answers.
What is your WordPress theme going to say about you? And is it going to convey the image you want people to have of you?
One of the great advantages of the Internet and e-commerce is their ability to level the playing field. In the American Old West, the Colt six-shooter was the great equalizer. We have an even stronger equalizer today. It’s called the Internet.
You may know that your entire workforce consists of one, two, or three people – or you may be Webmaster duties for an organization employing tens of thousands. If someone visited your office, then the size of your operation would be clear – and it can still be clear on the Internet. But only if you let it.
What matters to a potential online customer is not (unless you make this an issue) how big or small you are in relation to the competition. What matters to that potential online customer is:
The quality of your performance. Does the product meet customer requirements? Is the service as good as the customer needs? So: does this theme make it easy to show pictures of your products, with ratings by customers? If what you’re offering is a service, how easy will this theme make it for you to show testimonials? In either case,
– Is there a way to provide white papers and case studies for download?
– Does the theme provide a way to put “download” buttons where they can be seen clearly and immediately
How reliable you are. We’re back to testimonials and ratings here and, as before, what matters is how easy the theme makes it present these things.
Cool dude? Or a hep cat?
Does anyone still remember what a hep cat is? Well, some of your older customers might – so, what age profile do you see your customers as having?
And what sort of person or business do they want you to be? Laid-back and casual, or intense and busy-busy-busy? Man or woman of the world, or amazed bystander?
The image your customers want you to have is important because clicking to someone else’s website is a matter of moments and you don’t want them to do that. Never lose sight, though, of the fact that how YOU feel about the look of your website (and, therefore, the look of your theme) also matters, because you will only be fully committed to, and work hard on, a website that you are proud of.
How much time do your customers have?
As it happens, we can answer that, because we know how much time your customers have and IT ISN’T ENOUGH. So, check out the loading time of any theme you’re looking at because a theme that is slow to load will turn away more customers than it converts.
You have a very short time to grab someone’s attention and hold it. What does the holding is the stuff we’ve already talked about – how well it conveys your image and how well it gives the customer what the customer needs to see – but the holding comes after the grabbing, and what does the grabbing is a quick load.
More than 60% of visitors will not wait more than eight seconds for a screen to load, and 30% will have switched off four seconds before that.
And, once you’ve addressed the question of how much time your customers have, address another: what kind of device are they looking at your website on? It’s nearly two years now since the e-commerce balance shifted and it became true that more than 50% of people who visited a website did so from a mobile device.
That means you have to look carefully at just how responsive this theme is. Does it show up at least as well on a mobile device’s small screen as it does on a large desktop? Because, if it doesn’t, then it really doesn’t matter what else the theme offers – it is not for you.
Here are some other things to bear in mind for special use websites:
Example: Adsense and other pay-per-click websites
If you’re attracting people to your website so that they’ll click on an ad there, most websites won’t help you succeed – in fact, they’ll get in the way. What you need is a website that’s designed to get people to click above all else. A site that will put your ads where your ads need to be in order to be noticed.
What about customizing?
Choose a website you can customize – and by that, we mean: choose a website YOU can customize. Yes, support is important, in the sense that you need to know that someone will respond when you ask, “How can I do this?” but what is even more important is that they answer with information about how you, on your own, can achieve the result you’re aiming for, and don’t tell you that, yes, it can be done, but you’d really be better off calling in a professional.
If you need to show lots of pictures, choose a theme that is designed around that idea. Photographer, picture framer, artist, classic car dealer, actors’ agent – there’s a huge variety of occupations that mean you need to be showing pictures to people. Some themes are designed to do exactly that. Most aren’t. You know which you need, so narrow down your search for a theme accordingly.
Take your time
How much time should you invest in choosing a WordPess Theme? That’s simple: take the time it takes. Read once more through everything we’ve written above and make notes of:
All the features your website should have; and
All the features your website should not have.
Then go through the themes that are available, making a shortlist. That way, you’re focusing only on the themes that actually meet your needs, and you won’t make a mistake so many people make, which is to choose a theme because it looks lovely even though, actually, it doesn’t give you what you need.
Choose the wrong theme, and it can cost you, so take time to think about it and make sure you get the one that suits your needs best –and comes with support from people who care about making sure you get value for money.