WordPress, like it or not, has become an industry standard platform for everything digital content on the web. Not only are WordPress templates easily tweakable in their current form, but just about anyone without HTML or CSS knowledge can throw up a (rather crude in most case, if we might say) website. Although having someone experienced optimize your content and website for SEO and other tweaks is recommended, WordPress gives you the ability to, at the very least, setup a fully functional blog for yourself or your business.
But what should you look for in a template? You might have a few places in mind, but even still, you don’t know what’s appropriate for your business. If you’re looking for a simple blog, that’s one thing; there are templates and ‘child themes’ for e-commerce sites, portfolios, social communities, forums, and much more. When choosing a template for an agency to setup and/or further develop, here are 4 things to look for before you set your mind on one or the other.
Many themes these days happen to be responsive, but do take note that it is by no means a standard. Wordpress’s built in themes come with this capability, so there is certainly a push to make responsive design an essential part of the web experience; buggy, Flash-based websites from 1995 are out. The point of these responsive sites is to deliver a smooth., enjoyable experience, which further increases conversions, interest, and, well, makes your visitors not hate you.
Many to view these mobile versions of the themes you’re swooning over, are able to quickly resize to the correct aspect ratio of a tablet or phone (or browser; give it a try!). With mobile traffic to websites rising and more and more users depending on mobile devices for everyday tasks, it would be wise to invest in a site that can be viewed properly on tablets, desktops, laptops, and smartphones.
Often times we’d like to bite the bullet and buy a theme hot off the press; maybe one’s a bit more functional than the others, or has a bit more polish. The problem with not doing your homework might have you stuck with a theme you can’t even use for your ideal e-commerce shop. Sometimes, plugins have issues with certain templates, both regarding basic capability and design/graphic glitches and complications.
Its important to see what your theme’s limitations are and what you can alter without HTML knowledge so your plugins will work seamlessly. Reading author/developer FAQs is your way into understanding what future complications you might run across after you’ve purchased your investment. In addition, some versions of WordPress are not compatible with certain themes; old themes without updates may not be up to current WordPress standards, so be careful.
3. Fit For Your Audience
Some modern WordPress themes are without doubt some of the most attractive Web designs out there, period. However, if you’re a design firm, it wouldn’t make sense to have a template that focuses heavily on written copy; you’re betraying the heart of your business and giving the wrong impression to potential clients, saying that your work isn’t good enough to be showcased before text on a page.
The template should work along side your organization’s purpose, methodology, and practices. For example, a one-page scrolling template might work for a business that prefers to provide important details through email or phone correspondence instead of creating multiple pages and menus. Don’t pick a theme right away; take your time and think about who will be looking at your website, and their relation to you as a user.
4. Strong User Experience
Although this ties into responsiveness, giving your users a smooth, well-oiled experience will undoubtedly grab their attention through ease of use. After all, you wouldn’t want to use a website with 5 menu bars, gimmicky Flash animations and poor overall layout yourself.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to spot what themes display a strong user experience. Look for clean headers and footers to hold social media buttons and contact details, a single tiered menu with drop downs, a place of uncluttered sliders, a solid blog layout with a good sized sidebar, and use a mixture of texture, colour, and pattern to divide page boundaries and high visual content and copy.