WordPress is the foundation for 25% of all websites that are active today. It’s popularity and ease of use make it an easy choice.
It also has tens of thousands of choices for themes. It can seem like too many to choose from.
It’s not impossible to choose a WordPress web design, however. You need to have a plan.
Keep reading for six simple steps to choosing your WordPress web design.
Create an Action List
Before you start looking at themes, create an action list of what your customer or visitor will do when they come to your website. Do you want them to read a blog post, fill out a form, buy a product, or something else?
Don’t choose too many actions, or your site will feel disjointed and thrown together, no matter how much effort you spent on it. Choose the top 1-3 things you’d like your ideal visitor to do when they come to your site. Jot those things down.
When you start looking at themes, look at your action list. Ask yourself if the theme you like supports those actions? When you look at the demo, can you see where the actions you want your visitor to take can fit in? Even better, can you see where the visitor will be drawn to take that action?
If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how cute or fun the theme is. It won’t work for your needs, and you should keep moving.
Look at Reviews for the WordPress Web Design
Before you purchase a new car, phone, or laptop, you’d look at reviews for the ones you’re considering. A WordPress theme shouldn’t be any different.
In fact, since the wrong theme can drive customers away, it’s even more important. There are three things you should look at when choosing your theme:
- Sales: How many times has this theme been purchased? If it’s only a small handful, the “kinks” may not be all worked out yet. This means that if there are bugs, your website could suffer the consequences. Look for themes that have a high amount of sales. Check the version number, too. A higher version number means that plenty of bugs have already been worked out and it should be more stable.
- Satisfaction: Are the people who’ve purchased the theme happy with it? Do they like the way it looks with their content? Do they feel they received the support they needed or do they feel their questions and needs were ignored? Have they had trouble getting in touch with the WordPress web design’s creator? A high number of sales with a low record of satisfaction should be a red flag.
- Support: What kind of support does the theme’s creator offer? Is there an email address or phone number you can use to get in touch? Do they have a website you can go to or an entire forum you can access to get help when you need it?
In general, you’ll want to rule out any theme that doesn’t have a lot of sales, has a low record of satisfaction, and/or doesn’t seem to offer enough support for you to feel comfortable.
Pay Attention to Structure
WordPress web design can be very pretty. As you scroll through the theme choices, plenty will catch your eye with their neat little tricks of sliding banners, sparkly transitions and tons of plugins.
You need to look behind the sparkly stuff at the structure. Ignore the generic content of the demo and imagine your content in its place. What content could you put in the sliding banners or sparkly transitions? Can you make use of all those plugins or would they be out of place?
If you can’t find places for your content or not enough places, the structure isn’t right for you.
Keep it simple, as well. It’s unlikely you need all the extras that some of the themes you’ll look at come with. Plus, a minimalist theme puts the focus where it should be: on your content.
Look Outside Your Industry/Topic
Dentists, mechanics, hairdressers – these and many other careers all have at least one WordPress web design geared toward their industry. Books, movies, and TV all do, too.
But some of the best themes are the ones that aren’t tailored specifically to your industry. Look at general use themes or ones that are designed for other industries or topics.
There’s no guarantee of a better fit, and you might still find your perfect theme within your industry. But don’t narrow your search right off the bat. Broaden your opportunities by looking at any and all themes you can before making your choices.
Make Sure It Supports Plugins
There are lots of plugins for themes, and they can improve your website’s look and activity level significantly. As long as you choose a theme that supports them.
More importantly, some plugins can prevent your website from being hacked.
Make sure that the theme you’re eying can support plugins so that your website is secure and engages your customers.
Ensure It’s SEO-Friendly
A beautiful theme can still have poorly coded HTML. Poorly coded HTML can affect your site’s performance on search engines. That visually-stunning theme does you no good if you’re being suppressed in the search results due to the HTML.
Most themes will mention that they’re SEO-friendly. Even if they don’t, you can easily confirm that it is with a W3C Markup Validation service. Do this before you buy your theme.
Choosing a Theme Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
If you’re new to building a website, choosing a WordPress web design might feel overwhelming at first glance. As long as you have a plan of action, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Use these tips as your guide, eliminating any themes that don’t meet all six tips. When you find one that meets all six, you’ll be able to buy with confidence. You’ll know it will function properly, look great, and showcase your content.
You’ll also have confidence that your visitors will come back again and again.