Choosing the right WordPress theme for your website is an important decision.
You need something that will be easy to use and that can grow as your site and functional requirements change.
Picking the wrong theme can mean starting again further down the line.
So just how do you choose the right WordPress theme?
The four main types of WordPress theme to choose from:
1. Free themes
As the saying goes, you pay you money, you take your choice. But this isn’t the case with free themes!
One of the great things about WordPress is the range of themes available but choose free themes carefully – they can sometimes end up costing you more than having a bespoke WordPress theme developed.
If you’re serious about your business or website, should you really invest nothing in the theme – possibly the single most important aspect of your website?
Free themes might be great for personal blogs or microsite, but will the theme give you the flexibility you need to grow your site? You might find you need to choose a new theme in six months time.
2. Boilerplate themes
This type of theme is what we’d call a bare-bones theme. It’s basically a whole load of code and CSS that allows you to build your site by customising everything yourself.
Boilerplates are great, but they can tend to be quite large in file size. Choosing a boilerplate theme also means that you’re going to need to know HTML, PHP and CSS to get it looking how you want.
A lot of WordPress firms use boilerplates as a lot of the work is already done for them (in which case, it should save you some money).
Some examples of boilerplate themes:
3. Premium themes
These are off-the-shelf themes that will cost you less than £100.
They are professionally developed and are pretty awesome. We use them for clients with tighter budgets.
One thing to remember with some premium themes is that they often allow you to customise everything.
While this can be an advantage if you’ve got time to endlessly twiddle with settings, styles and options, it can prove to be a huge ‘time thief’, meaning you end up spending three times as long tweaking the design and less time producing all importing content.
4. Bespoke themes
Our favourite, but this does form the majority of our work.
This approach needs to be planned properly and therefore tends to be better for you if you have a budget for your site.
A truly bespoke design takes in both the front AND backend of your site.
The design will be completely custom – no ‘designing for the theme’ – this is where the designers suggest layouts that work for the theme they want to use rather than what you might want the site to look like.
The admin (backend) of your site is designed too – each page or post will have specific areas of content that you need – no more battling with the WordPress WYSIWYG – just a set of content-specific fields for you to fill in or edit when creating posts and pages.
Make sure your theme is fit for purpose.
Changing WordPress themes on a live site isn’t impossible, but it takes time and costs money. This is why it’s so important to get it right from the start.
Below are some scenarios that the types of theme that we’d suggest.
This is often where a free or premium theme will suit you best. If you just need a simple blog, then you can be up-and-running in a few hours with a premium theme. Many have pre-built template to get you started (fine if you don’t mind looking like everyone else).
If you need a small or temporary site for an event, a free or premium theme also does the job here. Easy to set up and install, your site can be live in no time.
Small business site
This is where a custom theme can pay dividends. Every business has slightly different requirements and there’s often a stronger need for the site to look and feel unique to the business rather than another ‘me too’ premium theme.
As a business, you’ll want your site to rank, grow with you and be a little more future-proof. As sites built on free of premium sites grow, they can become difficult to manage – a custom theme removes this issue.
We think larger sites should only be built on specially designed themes. You’re going to have more people working on the site and it’s important that it’s quick to edit and fit for purpose.
Having your WordPress theme designed around your business requirements makes good sense, and although it costs more initially, it will bring you a return on this investment quickly.
Are you ready to get started?
At Toast, the majority of our work is bespoke. Our clients don’t need to ‘bend’ themselves into an off-the-shelf theme.
We simply build one that’s 100% fit-for-purpose.
If you’d like to talk about your WordPress theme requirements, give us a call on 01295 266644 or click below to send us a message – we’ll get right back to you.