In previous blogs, we’ve covered what a WordPress theme is, and today we’ll be walking through the process of actually picking the theme, the dos, the don’ts, and the “yebuts.” In case you aren’t aware, a “yebut” is a term used for anything in a conversation following the phrase “yea, but…” With that in mind, let’s get rolling.
Quick recap, if you didn’t read the previous article explaining WordPress themes, a theme is a combination of framework, style, and functionality tools all combined into an aesthetically pleasing website template. A theme determines how a website looks, acts, and functions for the end user. For developers, it’s a time saver. It allows a developer to leverage (via purchase) other developer’s time by using work they’re already created. Thus, saving clients money by reducing the time it takes to create their desired website.
Moving on, the easiest way to get a WordPress theme is to buy it from a theme marketplace, such as ThemeForest. These marketplaces have tons and tons of themes, some free and some not so free. The free themes will inherently have less bells and whistle and may be less supported, which brings us to our first don’t.
DON’T: Use an outdated or unsupported theme
An outdated and/or unsupported theme can cause major headaches down the road. A good rule of thumb is to ensure the theme has been updated within the past 6 months and has been optimized to work with the most recent WordPress update. In ThemeForest, this information can be found on the right sidebar of each theme overview page.
DO: Use themes which require as little manipulation as possible
Pick a theme which closely resembles your final vision. If you’re leveraging the use of a theme, do it to the max. Themes can be manipulated to suit specific needs, but this should be kept to a minimum in order to keep cost efficiency at peak levels.
YEBUT: “No themes match my vision perfectly”
When you determine there is no prebuilt theming which matches your vision precisely, customize the theme to match your needs. Sometimes this means manually changing the theme codes, while other modifications simply require the addition of a plugin.
DO: Use plugins when possible
DON’T: Overuse plugins
Plugins are great for tweaking the functionality of a website, but they are a double-edged sword. Not all plugins play nicely together, and too many plugins can cause resource overload on your site and lead to slow load times and high bounce rates.
YEBUT: The plugin I want to use breaks my site
lugins are great, but most times a plugin accomplishes the goal a custom programmer can do. This is especially helpful to know when you have plugin conflicts and need a custom solution. When this occurs, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help you through the situation!