There Are So Many Great WordPress Themes
WordPress has become the most popular content management system around, and there are a lot of great WordPress themes to go along with it. While it’s good to have choice, it can become overwhelming to choose great WordPress themes for your website. There are so many things to consider. How does the layout look? How easy is it to customize it? Can I add sliders, photo galleries, interactive Google maps, or other features?
However, these are all questions which are in regards to how the website will look and function. There are another bunch of questions you should ask yourself in regards to the longevity of the theme you’re choosing. Will the theme author be around for a long time to continue providing software updates as they become necessary? Do you have to keep paying an annual fee for theme updates? However, the most important question is: “Does the theme contain built-in functions which make it more difficult to switch to a different theme later on?”
Let me explain … WordPress themes are all very similar in what they do. Websites are also fairly similar from one to the other. This makes it very difficult for WordPress theme developers to differentiate themselves from their competition. Let’s face it, there are only so many different combinations of layouts, colors and styles. So what is a theme developer to do? The answer is simple (or so it seems). When developing great WordPress themes, a lot of the developers are building in various features. These features may be sliders, calendars, animation, displaying content in columns or in boxes, and so on. In short, they’re throwing in a lot of eye candy so that prospective website developers are impressed and purchase their theme.
So what’s wrong with that? Good question! The answer may be somewhat technical, but I’ll break it down. Today’s websites are comprised of three main components. These are:
- The main software which ties everything together. In this case we’re talking about the content management system (CMS) called WordPress.
- The visual look and feel of the site. This is accomplished using themes in WordPress.
- All the functionality, which is made possible by plugins. Functionality is everything from forms and photo galleries, to booking systems and e-commerce shopping carts.
By having all three areas separate from each other, it’s possible to switch out various components without too much trouble. However, as soon as a developer of WordPress themes decides to combine functionality into their themes, they become difficult to customize and change.
Why Great WordPress Themes Should Not Contain Functionality
Imagine that you have a WordPress website designed and developed, but that the theme has various additional functionality built into it. As an example, let’s say that it’s a real estate website and that the way the information for each property is entered into the backend is part of the theme. You’re happy with how the website works and you enter in all the data for the real estate listings. However, later on you decide that you want to use a different theme for some reason. Suddenly you realize that the entire infrastructure that stores and displays the real estate listings is inseparable from the theme! In other words even though you just want to switch out the theme, you can’t do it without losing all your real estate data. You are now faced with having to rebuild almost the entire site from scratch all over again, and re-inputting all the data too!
There are a lot of very beautiful and great WordPress themes out there which have a lot of eye candy. They have cool mouse-over effects, animation, parallax scrolling and more. They make everyone go “oohhh” and “aahhh”! Making a buying decision based on that alone will land you in trouble down the road. It’s imperative that you also look under the hood and ensure the theme doesn’t integrate functionality into it. You don’t want to end up being stuck with a theme you no longer want, or having to rebuild your website all over again.
Of course you can still get all that fancy eye candy into your website. It just needs to be supplied by plugins, and not by the theme. Remember, a theme is there to provide you with options in regards to the website layout and design, and nothing else. Once you understand how vital this point is you can concentrate on looking for a theme that does just that, and does it well.
Great WordPress Themes
Great WordPress themes provide a huge amount of flexibility for laying out and designing your website.
Now that we’ve established what shouldn’t be included with great WordPress themes, let’s talk about what you should look for in a good theme. The primary function of great WordPress themes is to create the website layouts. Note that there are multiple layouts for a single website. Your home page will most likely look and function differently than your inner pages, blog index page, individual blog posts, and so on. Therefore you need to be able to create multiple layouts for your different type of website pages. Additionally, great WordPress themes will allow you to create individual layouts for every single page. That would allow you to make every page have its own unique layout and graphics. For example, you may want to have each page display its own background image.
Great WordPress themes also give you vey fine control over how every single aspect of your website is laid out and displayed. You never want to be boxed into a pre-defined environment. If you decide that you want to be able to resize your logo, center it on the page, have a specific amount of white space surrounding it, and make it clickable, then that’s what you should have. If you’re evaluating a theme and you can’t make it display things the way you want, right down to the pixel, then it’s time to drop it and continue your search.
One of the most important components that great WordPress themes must have is the ability to add in custom CSS code. This feature alone will provide a huge amount of flexibility when laying out and designing your website. If any kind of computer code intimidates you, then this is where you need to make the decision to hire a website development firm. They will work together with you to understand exactly what your needs are, and deliver a great-looking website, which has the flexibility to be easily managed and to evolve over time.