You're building your own website for your business, but are overwhelmed with the number of themes out there. Some are free and some cost, so what is the difference and why should you pay for one? How can you tell what's going to be a good theme?
We're going to look at some of the Dos and Dont's for choosing a WordPress theme for your business website when you've chosen to build the website yourself.
Consider other aspects than just whether you like the design - you want to know about performance, how easy it is to customise the theme, what the aftercare/support is like, and how it performs across mobile devices too.
Read reviews of the theme, and check when the theme was last updated. Themes should be updated regularly to fix bugs and maintain security.
Be wary of theme marketplaces - they can be a bit like Amazon in that sometimes you can find good ones, but sometimes you buy something only to find out that it's actually pretty rubbish. If you need a really simple website, then you can do worse than simply choosing a free theme from the WordPress Theme Directory - at least here you know the themes are well coded and not 'bloated' to affect your website's performance adversely.
Pro Tip - worried how a theme is going to affect your website's speed? Try going to the theme demo and running it through Google PageSpeed. This is only a guide as for example if you have a lot more images (esp. large ones) on your site, then that will affect performance more.
Check what's included - most of the time any required plugins that the theme requires to function properly will be bundled with it - but make sure if the theme works with a page builder for example, that you don't have to purchase that separately.
Choose a multipurpose theme unless you're confident at building out WordPress sites - many multipurpose themes like Avada, Salient, Divi and Astra look attractive because they are well designed, regularly updated and offer pretty much every option you can think of - this sounds like a good thing but if you're not a pro at website design you'll end up playing with all the things the theme can do rather than having a cohesive design and user experience for those using your site.
There are a couple of multipurpose themes that I mentioned here like Divi and Astra which offer 'starter sites' - again these can be useful as a base design to go off, but you'll want some experience in customising so that you are able to make the site your own. The chances that you'll want each and every page on your website looking exactly like each page on a starter website are slim.
Pro Tip - if using a popular multipurpose theme and/or page builder like Divi, Astra, Beaver Builder/Themer or Elementor and you absolutely must do it yourself - invest in some sort of online training and/or support so that you've got the help you need when you get stuck.
Get a theme with a back-end page builder if you have no idea how to use them - unless you have the time for a learning curve! There are many options for front-end page builders now where you can 'drag and drop' the visual parts of the website on the front end. For a non-website builder it can be much easier to do it this way.
If the theme you're interested in doesn't use a page-builder, then make sure it's compatible with Gutenberg, which is the default WordPress page builder. Older themes may not have been updated in a long time may not be compatible.
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