A WordPress website theme is one of those words that, along with “plugin”, can evoke an involuntary shudder from many a website owner. It may not come as a surprise but for those who are uninitiated, a website theme is not exactly ‘plug and play’, despite what the developer says. To a certain extent, they need tweaking to fit a brand, to add a function, or to perform a certain way. On top of that, there are thousands of themes to choose from with different features and designs. With such a wide scope, what are the things that one must know about using themes? Here is 5 quick pointers from our tech team:
1. Don’t Use Themes Out of the Box
Usually when you first install a website theme, it will most probably look like the sample- albeit, with some of your content spread across the page. You would NOT want this. Using a theme as it is means that some elements of the theme like images could be the same as EVERY other website using the theme. To avoid that, it’s best to customise it further to suit your needs. You wouldn’t want your site to look like a sample page. Find some new images from your photo library (or stock sites like pixabay.com)
2. Choose Themes that are Relevant to Your Business
It’s all there in the title. If you own a restaurant, there are multiple customisable themes that you can use with the right plugins and features that you need. Although in principle any theme can be used to fit any business this is usually beyond most website owners. Don’t download a website theme meant for mortgage advice when all you really want to do is sell your delicious spaghetti bolognaise.
3. Pretty Themes are Cool but Functionality is Better
We’ve all come across websites with lots of nice things going on- a dynamic page that changes images every few seconds to showcase different products, video and music that stream automatically. It’s all great until they slow down your website – especially on mobile. Always choose a theme that’s simple and straight to the point. Your users will appreciate faster loading times more than that fancy splash page.
4. Keep Things Updated With Your Website Theme
Just because you’ve used a complete theme does not mean that you don’t have to maintain it. Chances are, your theme came with widgets or plug-ins that allow your website to work. Updating them ensures that your website runs smoothly and efficiently. Keeping them up to date also lessens compatibility and security issues.
5. Be Cautious When Modifying Your Theme’s Shortcodes
Essentially, themes are just blocks of code that work very well together. Known as shortcodes, these prebuilt sections can be dropped in to any page. Edit them at your own risk as you can easily break your site. Be very careful. If you need help, ask from someone who knows how to.
If you’re just starting out and need help with your website about any of the above, we’re only an email away.