Themes provide a framework for the design and functionality of your WordPress website, they help you organize your content and features based on the built-in programming the theme designer created. This makes choosing a theme very important!
Depending on your theme, customization of your site can be very easy or extremely difficult.
A great theme would include the following features and customization options:
- Colors – the use of color throughout your site is essential to achieving the perfection of your branding look and feel. Having a theme that makes color customization easy can save a lot of coding time.
- Fonts – font size and type can make a big difference in the appearance of your site. Not all themes allow you to easily change these, but it’s worth finding one that does.
- Header – you may have an image, subscription form, or other material that you want to appear in your header. You may also want different headers on different pages.
- Footer – the footer can be valuable real estate for additional links and information; some themes have multiple footer columns while others don’t.
- Sidebar – the sidebar is another very valuable area on your website. Some themes limit you to a single sidebar layout, while other themes have the ability to customize your sidebar for different pages.
- Sliders/Slideshows – a slider or slideshow can be a great way to showcase important pages, posts, and other info. Many themes allow you to incorporate a slideshow on your home page, some even offer different styles of slideshows and allow you to place them throughout your site.
- Page Styles – the ability to choose between a right sidebar, left sidebar, whole page, portfolio, and variety of other styles can be made much easier depending on the theme you choose.
- Responsive Design – the ability for your website to morph, based on the device and screen size of the user, is called responsive design (this is different from having a mobile version of your site). Some themes come with this ability built in. This is a huge bonus.
- Short Codes – many themes come with the ability to easily add features such as boxes, tables, and columns to any page in the form of what is called ‘short codes’. These are very helpful as you continue to customize and improve your site.
- Updates – it’s very important to find out if the theme you have selected is regularly upgraded by its developer so it keeps up with the regular WordPress updates.
- Support – Good support from the developer is always critical as well. Check to see if they answer their customer’s questions. Also see if they are active on social sites and forums such as Twitter and Facebook.
Some very customizable themes we are happy to recommend include:
Now, with all of that said, there are many plugins out there that will aide you in adding these functions to a theme that is missing or lacking in a specific area. Plus, a good web designer can always customize your site through custom coding and editing.
Of course it ends up being cheaper and easier to find a theme which will do it all for you…
Our next post will discuss WordPress plugins and some of our top recommendations.
Feel free to leave a comment with any of your own experiences or questions concerning themes, we’re always looking for great new options.
This series includes insights from both Kathrine Farris, owner of Marketecs, and Kathy Fisher, a team member specializing in website development and design.