WordPress is the most popular CMS for sites and blogs. If you intend to use it for your business website, there are many templates/themes to choose from. Currently, there are over 4,000 on WordPress.org repository, over 7,000 on Themeforest, over 1,000 on MojoThemes, almost 2,000 on TemplateMonster, and thousands of others from individual theme marketplaces and developer’s like ElegantThemes, WooThemes, StudioPress, Templatic, EngineThemes, and AppThemes. Some of these are better than others and choosing can be a headache. These tips will make it easier for you to choose.
- Responsive web design
Having a responsive website is no longer an option since more people are now accessing the internet on their mobile devices (as opposed to desktops). There are many templates in the market today that respond to the size of the screen. Google also rewards mobile-friendly sites. When you install a theme, test it for mobile readiness before deployment to ensure it is mobile ready (do not take the word of the theme’s developer).
The template you go for should come with shortcodes. These allow you to attach media data like lists, audio, video, and tabs data, grids, Google maps, and other helpful elements into your website.
- Browser compatibility
Your users will be accessing your site from different browsers. You should, therefore, do a browser compatibility test by displaying the site on different tools. A WP developer will have the tools necessary to do comprehensive browser compatibility testing.
- Clean code
Business WP templates come with many customization options. If a theme is not properly coded, these customization options can make it difficult for you to use other WordPress plugins and to change themes (you may be locked into the theme or you will need to pay a developer to help in the switch). You should also be wary of WP themes that look good, but that make your site slow (which will lead to lower ranking in SERPs). Look at the code or have an expert look at it if you do not have the expertise to ensure it is clean.
- Simple design
A business website is not the place to have lots of color, flashy animation, and complex layout. As Leonardo da Vincisaid, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” The design should be such that visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
- Supported plugins
One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of WP is the thousands of WordPress plugins available in the market. The business WordPress template you go for should support not only the popular plugins like Gravity Forms, W3 Total Cache, and Yoast SEO, but also others that you may need based foryour business requirements.
- Translation and multilingual ready
Even if you are targeting English-speaking visitors, you should still ensure that your template is multilingual and translation ready because your partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders may not be native English speakers and even your target visitors may want to view it or share in a different language. Your business will grow and you may want to reach more people than those in the U.S., and having a multilingual and translation ready template ensures you do not have to change the theme.
- Support options and documentation
Some of the best business templates we’ve seen over the years are no longer supported because of such reasons as the developer going out of business. This is more so on free WordPress themes – most premium WP themes come with one year email based support. Using a business template that has support ensures you do not have to pay a third-party developer whenever you have a problem. You should also ensure the theme has good documentation and it can auto-upgrade.
- SEO friendliness
SEO friendliness is one of the most important factors you should consider when picking a business template because a friendly theme will rank higher in SERPs. A good WP theme developer will help you pick a theme that has clean code and that is SEO ready. Check with W3C Markup Validation service to ensure your pages generate proper HTML5.
- Tried and tested templates
You should go through ratings and reviews to get templates that have been tried and tested. A popular template will have been tweaked to perfection since it will have received important feedback from users. Ten of the most popular business templates today include:
- Zerif Pro: A modern and interactive single-page WP theme designed for small companies.
- X: A fully customizable corporate WP theme.
- Divi: A one-page WP theme with many customization options, meant for the corporate world.
- LawyeriaX: Designed specifically for law firms.
- Monstroid: A modern theme with many modern graphics.
- SimpleShift: A beautiful theme meant for small businesses for corporate and creative purposes.
- BusinessTwo: A corporate-style theme with many widgets, product, and portfolio sections.
- Corporate: A simple yet professional WP business theme that is meant to display important info about the company, its employees, and their work.
- Pixova Pro: A clean and professional theme that is meant for online stores.
- Business: A sleek theme that allows you to communicate your message clearly.
- Ready-made versus custom themes
If you are a startup, a ready-made theme will do just fine because it will save you money that you can use in business development. You will only need to spend between $50 and $70 personalizing a ready-made theme as opposed to between $1,500 and $2,000 for a custom theme at the current market rates.
- The features
Different business templates are developed for different businesses. What works for a medical practice will not work for the construction industry. The aesthetics and design of the theme should match your specific business needs. A web development business will require a theme that has a “techie” feel while a spa website will do better with a calm and relaxing feel. You should ask yourself such questions as:
- Do I want to integrate online payments?
- Do I want a newsletter?
- Do I need an event calendar or an appointment book?
- Do I need a blogging or magazine feature?
- Social media integration
Social media marketing (SMM) is no longer an option if you want success in your business. Social media integration (having social sharing buttons) allows visitors to participate in comments and discussions and to share posts they like with their online communities.
The choice should ultimately be based on your specific requirements since different businesses have different requirements. If you are still spoilt for choice, consider poking around with demos to see what best suits you. Cost considerations are important to a startup business, but they should be secondary if you want the very best.
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