WordPress is by far one of the best blogging platforms out there, but just remember that WordPress is not JUST a blog, it can virtually be turned into any type of site, even ecommerce. Just the same, your theme says everything about your site. Remember the age old adage: Never judge a book by its cover? Unfortunately, that adage does not hold true when it comes to your website. People will judge your business and you on the theme you choose so choose wisely! When it comes to a WordPress theme you have two options available to you: Paid and Free. Free themes can be found almost anywhere. You can find them by searching on Google and you can also find them by visiting your appearance section of your WordPress account and doing a search there as well. You can also find individual paid themes as well as subscriptions to certain theme sites. To be honest, if you are a professional business, freelancer or any other type of position where you want people to take you’re seriously, do yourself a favor: Buy a template. On the other hand, if you use your blog as a mini site, affiliate site, or just for AdSense revenues, you can use a free theme and get away with it. If you want some other tips on choosing the best theme, check out the tips below!
One with Support
If you buy a paid theme, please make sure that it’s A) updated, B) its got support for the theme. Why is support so important and why should it be updated? Well, WordPress deals with a lot of security issues, they want you to be as safe as possible when it comes to your website. You can only ensure safety if the theme is updated and includes all the latest cracks that people use to try and exploit your website. The support is important because if you have support, you always have someone to ask questions to or to help you in case of any issues that might arise. Support not only helps you set the theme up, they help with installing it, installing updates, customizations, etc. A free option probably won’t offer support, but even if you use a free theme, you should still make sure it’s an updated theme. I believe WordPress is on version 4.0 (at the time of reading this) so make sure you find a free or paid theme that has compatibility for at least 3.9!
Built In SEO
Most of the themes out there, both free and paid, offer some sort of an SEO feature alongside the theme itself. These SEO features are usually coded into the theme and once you install the theme you should be able to customize things like tags, keywords and Meta data on the left side of the menu. If you are stuck with a theme you love but it does not have an SEO option, don’t fret, there are other options. 1- You can install one or two SEO plugins to help with SEO. I as well as many other people, really love the plugin called All in One SEO Pack and they just recently had an update to a newer version so you know they are secure. 2- The second option you have is to find a company that offers legit SEO services such as an SEO company in NJ. These guys will help you essentially get SEO on your website. Obviously SEO is an important aspect so this is not something to just wave away and not do.
Customization for the Theme
Most of the time if you see a theme, but you had the set up or the colors, you CAN customize it. Most of the time! You can customize all sorts of things like:
Navigation bar: Usually you can choose a left, right, top and bottom navbar. Most people choose top, but some choose left as well. It depends on what look you like. Tip: Make sure your navbar is visible, easy to find and if you have sub menus, please make sure that all the submenus work and it’s organized. Too crazy and people get frustrated and will usually leave.
Color: Most themes come with a color option. Some options are minimal – 3 colors. While other themes allow you to choose up to 15 different options or you can go completely custom crazy and some themes will allow you to choose every color you want; header color, title text color, link URL color, keyword/tag text color, etc. Tip: Colors are awesome, especially when it comes to matching it up with your business colors (McDonalds: red and yellow for example). But just remember not to go too crazy with your colors and when possible, stay away from neon colors. If you really want to make sure your colors are “attractive” ask your friends or better yet visit a site I like called http://www.feedbackarmy.com/ What it is: You pay for real people to visit your website and tell you anything you want: How do you like the color? Can you find the navigation bar and if so, was it easy to work? Does my website sound confusing or do you understand what it’s for? Would you visit the site again? Etc. Essentially you can ask them anything you want about your website and they will be honest.
Header: You can either change the color of the header or add your own header. You can also add things like logos to the header of the website – the header is obviously the top 1/4 of the website. Again, make sure the colors are not too bright and you can actually see the text if you have text or the name of the business, the logo, etc. You don’t want people squinting at your header. It should be easily read.
Web Browser Compatibility
Most of the themes out there today are compatible with almost any browser, but just to be safe, make sure. The top three most used browsers are Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. So make sure when choosing a theme that it’s compatible with all three of those browsers. If not, your visitors either might not be able to visit the site or things may get sort of wonky visual wise. Make the header gets screwed up, the text is out of alignment, or instead of a black background they see white, might not seem too important but if your next is white too, well, they obviously cannot view the text!
Prices and Cost
Most of the paid themes out there are worth it, but they tend to run anywhere between $20 to $100. Obviously this depends on a lot of factors such as the design factor (flash is always more expensive), the colors, features and the designer him or herself. But, chances are if you pick a paid theme, you will be happy and it will be worth it. You also need to figure in the cost of installation. If it’s a simple .zip file you can just upload it on the WordPress website. If it’s a little more complex and you need to visit the WordPress directory on your CPANEL, you may want to hire someone to do this for you. Tip: If you hire someone, trust them to the death! Seriously. They can upload it via FTP, but sometimes they might have to actually login to your account, this gives them access to everything when it comes to your website. So make sure you trust them to be legit and not do anything they shouldn’t be doing.