If your company is one of the many who choose to manage your website’s design yourself by making use of a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla? Then you know that should you decide your site could benefit from a ‘facelift’ there are hundreds – if not thousands – of different themes to choose from.
In fact, once you begin to look for a new theme things can get rather overwhelming. There seems to be so many different options and many of them don’t seem to be a great deal different from each other. Often a paid theme that costs $50-$60 (the average cost of a new premium WordPress theme) seems very similar to free versions.
When making a decision on a theme change, however, there is more to consider than simply which choice seems to best fit your brand image. This is because lurking beneath even some of the most attractive, feature-rich premium themes you’ll find poor coding, slow speeds, search engine optimization issues and poor user experiences.
What should be your ideal criteria when choosing a new website theme? Here are some tried and tested tips to help you.
Go for Simplicity
Years ago most websites were LOUD. They were full of bright colors – often clashing rather than contrasting colors – Flash animations, dozens of individual images and all kinds of extra bells and whistles that developers deemed cool at the time.
Things have, thankfully, changed a great deal. Some of the best themes available are some of the simplest. They boast clean lines, complementary color palettes and simple, easy to use navigations. And these sites are exactly what most consumers are looking for, especially as a significantly still-growing number of people now access the Internet from their mobile devices more often than they do from their traditional desktops PCs.
Developer Support is Important
It’s very rare that you will be able to install any theme and not have to make updates as the platform you are using changes and advances. This could be due to feature changes or security issues — no matter what you are using, from WordPress to Shopify and every other option, you need to anticipate there will be updates required to keep your theme from breaking.
Most of the responsibility for keeping these themes updated falls on their original developers. And some are far better at keeping their work current than others. That is why it is important when choosing a theme that you check the developer update history behind it.
If a theme has not been updated for several months – and this is especially true for WordPress – then it should probably be avoided. When themes (and plugins) become too outdated platforms will block them altogether, not because they are outdated in terms of design but because they represent a security threat.
True Mobile Friendliness
Almost every theme will claim to be responsive and/or mobile-friendly these days. But that claim can be deceptive. A site built with a certain theme may pass the ‘all-important’ Google Mobile Test but in practice be a nightmare for mobile users to navigate. Therefore when taking a theme for a test run do so the old-fashioned way, from the POV of a user rather than that of a search bot.
Clever plugins are one of the biggest reasons that WordPress, Joomla and Shopify sites are so popular with retail businesses. But some themes support these plugins better than others. Before deciding upon a certain theme based upon its out-of-the-box functionality take the time to explore plugins and extensions that may be useful to you as well and ensure that your chosen theme can support them.
One final tip for smaller businesses. If a certain theme has both a free and a paid version – which many do- try the free version first and then upgrade as you deem necessary. This will save you from wasting cash on an unsuitable theme and the simple fact is that often there is very little difference between free and paid options anyway.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.