As a platform that started as a “one-size fits all” free platform for bloggers, WordPress has developed immensely. Now considered a top–level, easy-to-use content management system, the platform serves a variety of people and organizations - including global companies.
One of the defining features driving that evolution is the robust selection of themes. While WordPress has developed a wide variety of custom themes, the popularity of the site has encouraged developers to build a number of themes made available to users. In the digital age we live in, a customer’s initial interaction with a company is often times through their website. So it’s understandable that choosing just one theme out of thousands of options can be a daunting task. While some might look good in appearance, they may not have the backbone that you need to operate efficiently. Or they might have too much backbone – meaning they have too much fluff (animations, applications, user databases, excessive styles etc.) that bogs the site down.
While some may be quick to select a theme, others struggle with selecting the right one. How do you know if it will work for your company? What questions should you be asking? What features should you be looking for? Here a few tips that might help guide you through the process:
- Know what you’re willing to compromise.
Do you need to be constantly updating the site? Are you okay with not having a developer? Finally, do you have the capability to create and maintain it? If so, there is probably a WordPress theme out there for you. But remember, themes may not be as flexible as you’d like. It’s all about managing memory - for example, a site with a small file size means a faster load time and vice versa. The more unnecessary add-ons (aka “fluff”), the more memory you use. Be smart in your picking add-ons and realize you may not be able to pick every one you want.
- Know what you want.
It’s important to understand that themes don’t come with developers. You might have to do a little digging to fully understand the capabilities and integrations of the theme. Here are a few quick things to note during your research. What kind of browser does the theme require? Does it operate on multiple browsers? Have you decided between a Post or a Page? It’s up to you so figure out which theme has the most common ground with what you need.
- Know which plugins you want.
Which plugin is going to help you tailor your site? Maybe you want plugins that allow you to check comments for spam or the Jetpack plugin that creates a mobile friendly view of your theme. There are tons out there to choose from, but you need to decide which ones will help your site work best for you without slowing it down.
T/K’s Groovy Studios uses the ‘hiker’ theme because it not only looks good, but it matches our daily operations and purpose. It was made with photographers in mind so it allows us to be creative and visual, while also letting us easily drag and drop what we want, where we want. However, ‘hiker’ would be all wrong for our client The Flying Biscuit Cafe because they need a custom theme that allows them to continually update menus and social media feeds. Again, it’s all about finding what the best fit is for you or your company.
WordPress can be extremely helpful in making your customer’s initial reaction a positive one so take the time to find a good fit. Remember, it’s all about choosing which theme is right for YOU and your day-to-day operations. Looking for a place to start? Check out this beginners guide to WordPress themes…http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Themes
About Mariah Weathersby
Mariah is a Creative Developer at Trevelino/Keller. When she’s not tattooing or programming, she likes to travel and hunt down new and exciting things to do.