You’ve probably already heard how WordPress is a viral platform for bloggers, and chances are, most of the blogs you read daily were created with WordPress. While it is the best blogging software available, WordPress has become arguably the best platform for business websites, thanks to some great theme developers.
WordPress is straightforward to learn how to use, specific to customize and scale to your business, is incredibly affordable, and lets you choose your own hosting company (as opposed to getting ripped off for hosting by hosted website solutions). WordPress.org software is free. You can then easily add themes (otherwise known as templates) that integrate perfectly with WordPress, letting you get virtually any website up and running within minutes. WordPress pieces can let you have better websites than people and companies that pay thousands of dollars to developers to build their websites. Best of all, outstanding premium WordPress themes usually cost under $100. I’ve spent well over $100 a month on hosted website software that was honestly not as good as WordPress. WordPress can easily save you or your company a ton of cash that can be better used to market your business.
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7 Steps to Finding the Perfect WordPress Theme for Your Business
1. Decide on the type of business website you are looking for. WordPress themes are available for various businesses, from corporate websites to directory sites, news & magazine sites, eCommerce businesses, daily deal sites, photography websites, and much more. Some WordPress themes are so good that they might even encourage you to start a type of business you hadn’t even considered!
2. Decide on must-have features for your website. Most themes have standard features such as multiple color schemes, giving you the ability to customize things like fonts and colors easily, and some pre-designed page templates, but are features such as Advanced Search, integration with Google Maps, Image Sliders, or the ability to sell digital products important to your business? In other words, focus on key features that might be specific to your business or features that would greatly improve your current website.
3. Decide on what type of style best suits your brand. Do you want to portray your company as professional, fun, modern, or high-tech? What about minimalist, artsy, bold, or retro? Do you want your website to be clean and organized or have more of a grungy look?
4. Decide on your preferred website layout. This one is tricky since many of the best WordPress themes might have one setup by default, but it easily lets you choose from various layout options. If you don’t love the default layout of a specific theme but it has all the features you are looking for, you might want to check whether the article includes multiple layout options. Whether you want a blog-type layout (generally with a widget-based sidebar on the right and comment fields below your posts) or more of a professional design is often worth deciding. A standard blog-style arrangement might work well for news sites (and it encourages discussion from your site visitors), but it might not be appropriate for corporate websites.
5. View theme demos. Browse theme demos as if you were a customer or a potential client. Is the website easy to understand and navigate, well organized, and gives you the search options you want? Is it easy to browse photos on the gallery page? Does it provide a professional image of the business?
6. Ensure the theme designer provides at least some technical Support. Some theme companies offer phone service, others use email or a ticketing system for Support, and others use support forums to communicate with customers. These options are usually fine, but make sure they offer some level of Support and customer service. WordPress is easy to use, and most themes (especially premium themes) work well, but you can still have issues or occasionally encounter bugs. You want to purchase an article from a company or individual who will be around to help you if you run into a topic 10 months after you buy the theme. Technical Support is one of many features when purchasing a premium free instead of a free WordPress theme.
7. To save time, rather than digging through numerous theme companies’ websites, check out a few online marketplaces that aggregate the best WordPress business themes from multiple theme designers into one place.
When it comes to online marketing, It seems like the focus of every small business these days is on places like Facebook and Twitter. While social media is important and a great way to communicate with your customers and potential clients, your website is the real face of your business.
I constantly see small businesses spending a lot of money on pay-per-click ads, Facebook ads, SEO, and more, all of which direct traffic to their websites. When you click through the company’s website, you’re often greeted with a stale, confusing, and out-of-date website that the company probably paid a good chunk of cash to have built for them in 1992.
You can create the best products, offer the best services, make the best food of any restaurant in your area, or write an amazing e-book. Still, if your website is not easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to purchase from, you are most likely losing a lot of business. People DO judge a book by its cover, and your website is that ‘cover’ – it’s often the first impression people have of your business.
I was reminded of this recently as I searched for a carpenter/contractor to do some work on our house. I searched on Google, clicked on some AdWords ads, and was repeatedly brought to cringe-worthy websites that made me leave their sites literally within seconds. My attitude was that if these ‘businesses’ cared so little about themselves to pay attention to their websites, I didn’t want to trust them to renovate part of my house. They might have been amazing carpenters for all I know, but the first impression they gave me immediately turned me off to them.
It is simply so easy and affordable to have a great website these days that there’s no excuse for businesses not to, regardless of what industry they’re in. WordPress and other website software options allow virtually anyone with any budget and technical knowledge level to have an amazing-looking website.
Dustin Glass is the founder of Themespotter.com and is passionate about technology, web design, small business, and WordPress. Themespotter is a WordPress theme marketplace designed to make finding the perfect theme for your business incredibly easy, allowing you to search, sort, and demo themes from all the top designers in one place.