11 Web Design Steps to Select the Best WordPress Theme
One of the greatest benefits of using the world’s most popular content management system is that there are thousands of themes and plugins available for it. No two WordPress websites have to look the same, thanks to the practically limitless potential that the platform provides. At the same time, Web designers may also find themselves spoiled for choice, and finding a theme that suits your precise needs is rarely an easy choice. Fortunately, the following tips should help to put you on the right track:
1 – Look for Versatility
Particularly if you are planning to build a business website, you’ll likely want something that stands apart from the competition and a particular design that helps to capture the essence of your brand. Many themes are highly customizable, and this is particularly the case with the premium themes. Alternatively, you may want to have a theme designed specifically for your requirements.
A theme that is versatile is one that will enable an individual with both programming skills and the newbie who is seeking a small business website design be able to create a basic framework for their site. Although the newbie small business owner may take a long time to get the site developed, it’s the features, easy functionality, and options available to the theme users that make it versatile. For example, a versatile theme is easy to customize. Having ready-made pages with dummy content will allow a user to plugin and play their own content very easily. The dummy content will provide the end user ability to quickly visualize and envision what their site goals are going to be. For the developer, it allows them to show their clients what the page may look like & to be able to provide a fast, visual representation of the changes they may need to make. Another feature in versatility is color options. Today, in most premium WordPress themes there is the universal color picker, the tool that allows users to select color by the universal #hex color codes.
Not only do you want a WordPress theme that is versatile, you want to choose a custom web design company that is versatile. A custom website design company, such as www.bullseyemarketingconsultants.com, that provides professional website design is one such design agency that adapts to your business needs. Whether it is a real estate firm in need of an IDX real estate integration, or a legal firm in need of Miami SEO keyword research for their local practice, Bullseye Marketing Consultants has the skills, knowledge and team to match what your small business needs right now.
2 – Be Wary of Skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism refers to a design style whereby a webpage is designed to look like a real-world object. Skeuomorphism remains fairly popular, but it has long been controversial due to the fact that it tends to sacrifice utility for aesthetics, and such themes rarely leave much room for customization. Given that flat designs are the predominant trend these days, be wary of choosing skeuomorphic themes.
Other trends include parallax design. This is a design feature that has also caught on whereas it gives the viewer different perspectives while they scroll down the page. Background images move at a slower rate than the images in the foreground.
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3 – Choose a Responsive Theme
Neglecting mobile users is no longer an option for any website that wants to attract a large visitor base, but this does not mean that you always need to have a separate, mobile-friendly version of your website. Choosing a responsive theme allows your website to scale automatically to the size of the screen it is being viewed on. In short, don’t consider any theme that doesn’t feature a responsive design. Today, there are a variety of tools to check whether or not your site is mobile friendly. Google’s official tool is the online Mobile-Friendly Test. Other tools include:
- Quirk Tools: Screenfly
- StudioPress: Responsive Testing
4 – Have Support Available
If you’re building a website for business, having support available is a big bonus, and in some cases essential. If you opt for a premium theme, there’s a good chance that some form of customer support will be available. On the other hand, if you or someone on your team is fairly literate in Web design and has experience with the inner workings of WordPress, you probably won’t need to worry about support.
5 – Keep It Simple
Remember that simplicity is beautiful. There’s no reason at all why your website shouldn’t look unique and branded, but it is important not to sacrifice functionality for aesthetics. Stick with themes that make use of clear and intuitive navigational features and widgets that will be helpful to your visitors. Feel free to experiment, but make sure that your visitors will have an easy time navigating your site.
6 – Remember SEO
Any theme that you choose should be search engine-friendly if you hope to build up a decent amount of traffic, but free themes in particular vary enormously in this respect. For the sake of search engine optimization, a theme should feature a responsive design, error-free code and fast loading times. Other features such as social media integration and support for micro-data markup may also be useful.
7 – Have Enough Sidebars
When it comes to flexibility, you’re going to want a very widget-friendly theme that provides plenty of different sidebar options, or at least provides the sidebars that you need for your particular website. Ensure that the theme of your choice provides the sidebars you need so that you won’t have to start modifying the underlying code of the theme.
8 – Stick with Reputable Designers
Although there’s nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation, it is wise to settle for a theme that comes from a reputable designer. Before you make the final decision, make sure that you read reviews and comments regarding the theme, particularly if the theme of your choice is a premium one. For your preliminary research, you’ll find plenty of lists of popular and widely respected WordPress themes.
9 – Choose a Theme with Shortcode Support
Although you can add shortcode to any WordPress theme with a bit of coding, you’ll find it a lot easier to go for a theme that already supports them. Shortcode support is great for helping you style your blog by putting content in different tabs, creating and organizing columns, adding icons and much more. If your theme doesn’t support shortcode, there are plugins available that provide similar functionality.
10 – Test! Test! Test!
Most important of all is testing your theme thoroughly before making the final decision. It should be fast, responsive and provide an excellent user experience. Put yourself in the position of a typical visitor to your website, and test it thoroughly to make sure that it lives up to your expectations. Make sure that your chosen theme doesn’t overwhelm your content and that it works flawlessly with all of your plugins.
11 – Consider a Professional Website Design
Particularly if you are planning to use WordPress for your main business website, you should seriously consider investing in a premium theme. With a premium theme, you’re far more likely to have some customer support, free updates and a richer set of features and customization options. Premium themes typically cost anywhere from $30 to $60, but the investment can be very much worth it.
However, it’s important to remember that a premium theme does not design itself. The theme will give you an example of how you might envision your site. It’s best to select a quality professional website design agency that will guide you through the proper web design steps in order to developer your next website.