If you are choosing a WordPress theme for your site then read this article first…
When we get asked to create a new site the Customer is alway very keen to get the look and feel right and quite rightly so. The first thing you decide when you land on a site is whether you like the look of it or not, if it’s a bad design it can give the impression that the company are not professional or capable of giving a good service/quality products. Look and feel are very important and first impression count.
Themes can be styled easily to give the right look and feel; lot’s of white space, fine text and few borders can give a clean and clinical feel. Bright colours, spotty backgrounds and handwriting style fonts can give a fun feel. Neutral colours and muted images can give a calm feel. It’s that easy.
The basis for us choosing the right theme for our Customers is not based on them wanting a large image on the home page and 3 boxes under and a grey background. It’s based on the functionality they need in their site and what they need it to do that comes as the first and most important part to get right. We’ve seen various customers who come with a long list of plugins for various functions they want in their WP site and they also give a couple of links to sites they like the look of, they see them as two totally separate considerations. Plugins can offer loads of different functions, but sometimes they don’t work well together, or work well with the theme chosen, and if you update your WP core with so many different plugins, you may find it messes up your site when one of them doesn’t work correctly. Keeping your plugin amount down is preferable.
What we tend to do is find a theme that has been built for the purpose, containing the functionality that is needed for that Customer’s site. This means it has been set up to fulfil a specific function and works seamlessly with the theme, as it’s part of the same thing – get that right and you’ll have a site that is easy to run and update with less plugins to cause errors. Styling the theme after it’s been set up to function as the Customer needs, is the easy part.
So the next time you’re choosing a WordPress theme for your site, think about what you want it to do first. Functions should be your 1st priority, style comes 2nd. There is no point having a great looking site, that doesn’t function well.
Here are a few of our favourite themes with built in functions, or have been set up to work seamlessly with few plugins, out of the box!
Templatic’s Directory theme
Elegant Theme’s e-commerce Boutique theme
One Community’s BuddyPress & Forum theme