A major part of setting up a WordPress powered website is the way it will look for the user, this is done using a Theme https://wordpress.org/support/article/using-themes/
Essentially a WordPress theme is a collection of files that WordPress must use to display the content that you put into your website. It defines, the colours, layouts, fonts and general look and feel of your website. The theme also controls how and where your dynamic content features on your website – eg: your latest news posts on your home page, or adding featured images, carousels and visual interest to posts and pages.
Adding a theme
You can add/change and update your website themes by going to Appearance > Themes on the dashboard menu:
So, how do you know what is the right theme for your site?
The simple answer is, initially you don’t, and there are a huge number of options out there for you to choose from. Picking a WordPress theme can be an overwhelming experience, one which can lead to frustrating and disappointing results. Let’s look at the options:
A WordPress theme
WordPress has a repository of theme that you can use on your website for no charge. Your initial theme ( currently TwentyNineteen ) is the default for new WordPress websites, or you can go to the theme directory to choose new ones. These themes are generally decent quality, although don’t have the ‘bells and whistles’ that you might see on other WordPress sites, they are a good option for you to start your WordPress journey without any cost and, because of this you can change themes and play around with different functionality without financial risk. This can be a great way to learn WordPress and theme capabilities in relation to your website content.
Support and Updates
As a free product, WordPress directory themes don’t come with any guaranteed support, their developers may offer support through the wordpress.org site but this is purely at their discretion and only through a public forum. Similarly updates are at the discretion of the theme author and are not guaranteed.
A paid premium theme
These are themes that are already built, mostly with a type of website in mind, such as a certain business sector, a type of business or a shop. They are available through websites such as ThemeForest and usually cost in the region of $50.
Paid themes can be a blessing and a curse… Good themes will come with a set of instructions on how to set the theme up on your own website – they may even give you ‘dummy’ content to populate the site so that all you need to do is change the text and images (Tip: check this is the case before purchase). However, while premium themes all look great on the example site, or while using the dummy content and images provided by the theme developers, your images and content will need to be very similar to the example in order to match. Understand that your content will need to adapt to fit the defined sections of the example site as there is generally very little room for customisation or ‘going rogue’, and bear this in mind when choosing your theme.
One of the most common issues we hear from clients who have been down this route is “It looked rubbish when I put in my content and it was so frustrating trying to add content myself”
Support and Updates
Premium themes also generally come with 6-12 months of support and updates. The support can be handy if you find yourself in difficulty setting up the theme, while updates are essential for the long term security and health of your website. After your initial period has ended, you will need to pay to continue the updates for your theme, this is very important and should be factored into your business ongoing expenses, along with your domain name and hosting.
If your business needs custom functionality, a unique branding or a precise look and feel, then it’s likely that you won’t find an off-the-shelf theme that is suitable for you. A lot of our clients come to us after finding that the work involved in making a premium theme fit with their business content proves to be more time-consuming and frustrating than it’s worth.
An experienced development agency can give your business a truly unique website, one that reflects the branding of your company, reflects secondary graphics and which takes the content that you need to show and gives it a professional design. Building a website with the content as the starting point means that the resulting site is much more professional, user-friendly, bespoke and high-end than either the WordPress theme or Premium themes can offer.
If SEO is a consideration for your business then a bespoke theme will also help you with streamlined, SEO optimised code, structured content and performance gains, all of which will help get your site ranked with Google and other search engines.
A bespoke theme, tailored to your requirements can be costly, however the investment in the performance, SEO optimisation, content, user-journey and ultimately the professionalism of your business website is well worth it.
To find out more about our website design services please click here
If you are not sure what type of theme your WordPress website needs, just get in touch with us at Instilled and we will be happy to advise you.