WordPress powers a significant portion of the world’s online businesses. It’s flexible, scalable, and SEO-friendly right out of the box. Those are all reasons that business owners choose this platform for their companies.
However, another reason is the vast wealth of pre-built themes out there that allow you to give your business the look and feel you want without having to do any coding.
The problem is that not all WordPress themes are right for an online business. You’ll need to know how to choose the right option. Not sure how to do that? Our guide will help.
If you are still on the fence check our article about some great reasons why you should choose WordPress as your business platform.
Simplicity Trumps Too Many Options
We all like to have options, and it would seem like more options would be better, at least when it comes to a WordPress theme for an online business. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, more theme options mean more adjustability and more choices, but it also means more room for error from the developer.
The more options you have, like complicated layout choices, animations, color combinations, and the like, the greater the chance there is of coding errors and vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to gain access.
Look for a theme that is simpler while still allowing you to achieve your goals with the business. It’s more about how well the theme helps you reach your audience and build your brand than it is about bells and whistles.
This one should be a no-brainer here in 2019, but you must ensure that the theme you choose is compatible with the world’s most frequently used browsers. Sure, Chrome controls the lion’s share of the market today, but what about next year, or the year after that?
Firefox is making great strides in reclaiming their market share, and you cannot afford to neglect Safari or even Opera. When vetting themes for your business, make sure that the developer has rigorously tested it with major browsers and that it is compatible. Otherwise, you risk delivering poor customer experience, and once a potential visitor hits your website and finds things broken, they will not return.
Once upon a time, websites were built to be viewed from desktop computers. As mobile devices have become more common, business owners have tried to keep up by first designing dual websites – one for mobile visitors and one for regular viewers – and then by using responsive design.
Today, your website must be responsive. There is no other option. If it is not, you might as well throw in the towel. 2017 was the first year that mobile website traffic outpaced desktop traffic, and that trend has only continued.
Today, the vast majority of website visitors are using some type of mobile device, whether that’s a smartphone or a tablet. And, each device has a different screen size and resolution. It’s impossible to deliver a positive user experience without a responsive theme.
So, long story short, make sure that any theme you choose is responsive. Not only is it vital for providing the right user experience, but it’s important for SEO, as Google has started penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly.
WordPress themes for an online business can be found in a number of different places, but that doesn’t mean that all of those repositories are trustworthy or that they’re created equal. Some of them come with serious security concerns and can put your business and even your customers’ financial information at risk.
For instance, you can trust the themes you find within WordPress’ standard repository. They have all been vetted for quality and security.
You can also trust the themes you purchase from developers like ThemeForest. Many of the theme resellers, such as Elegant Themes, are also trustworthy. However, when you start looking into resellers rather than developers, you begin treading on dangerous ground.
Not all resellers are what they appear. Some are simply reselling the themes that other developers have created. Some are reselling damaged goods, though. They may not have a good vetting process in place to determine whether a theme’s coding contains vulnerabilities, or even built-in malware, for instance.
They may not care, either. Some may exist solely to help spread malware and make business websites more vulnerable.
The bottom line here is that you need to shop smart. Free themes from sources other than WordPress are usually inherently risky. Even paid themes from no-name resellers can put your online business in danger.
Check Out the Designer
Every theme has a designer or even a design team. While there is nothing inherently wrong with using a theme from a designer with no reputation, there is a greater risk here. Designers with years of development under their belt have more knowledge and a better understanding of what they’re doing and how to avoid coding errors that lead to website vulnerabilities and broken functionality.
When considering themes, do a little bit of research into the developer(s) to see what other themes they’ve created, how long they’ve been designing themes, and what others think of their work.
Do they understand SEO?
Not all developers know sufficiently about SEO to develop an optimized solution for the search engines. So, maybe your website looks great, but underneath the code is actually damaging your website.
If you are changing from one theme to another there can be even more problems, check out our article about forgotten pages and how they can harm your SEO and loose traffic for you.
The vast number of plugins and the additional functionality offered by those bits of code are both reasons to choose WordPress for your online business. However, not all WordPress themes support the plugins that you want and need.
Make sure that the theme you ultimately choose supports the most popular plugins at the very least. If there’s a plugin that you really want to use and it’s not listed as being supported, contact the developer and ask about it.
WordPress themes for an online business come in a wide range of styles and types, but they are not all created equal.
Look beyond the aesthetics and make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the theme that will support your business.
Here are some WordPress themes we took a look at in the past, go take a look – you might find something there you like 🙂
Once you have found a quality looking WordPress theme and set up your website, you need to optimize it – check out our WordPress Optimization Guide.