Greater than 5 minutes, my friend!
This article was originally published on my blog: Best Russian Translator.
So many choices…
When it comes to building your website using WordPress, every web-designer faces the same problem time and time again: what WordPress theme should I choose? Believe me, you’re not the only one. When I was building this website I’ve spent a whole week choosing between all sort of themes and templates I could find online. Yes, it can be maddening. But there are some very important basics that can ease your pain and make the whole process go much smoother.
So, what are they?
Understanding Your Needs
The biggest mistake I’ve made is that I was trying to find a WordPress theme without actually knowing how the heck my website is going to look like. Yes, I had some vague image in my head, but vague is not enough when it comes to web design. So that was my first rookie mistake:
This is where good old pens, pencils and sheets of paper come in handy. Yes, we about to draw something. Something awesome. Your website!
I know what you’re thinking. Drawing?
Yep. I’m pretty serious. Think about it this way: You’re about to build something. Something that sits in your head for the time being. The thing about our heads is: it’s really easy to get lost in our thoughts and ideas.
So that’s where your mad drawing skills come into play. You can even go crazy and use a whiteboard (if you have one). As long as it provides you with what you really need: a clear implementation plan. Once it’s on paper it will be much easier to find a suitable WordPress theme that matches your expectations and design ideas.
This method is as simple as it gets, but it really helps to toss out all the weird, strange ideas and focus on what’s really important.
I highly recommend getting some inspiration beforehand. Browse the websites you like. It can be anything – from your favorite translation blogs to tech companies and brands you admire. Look at their Home Page, About Us and Contact pages. Understand what elements your website needs. Pay special attention to the color palette they use.
Here’s a pretty cool website I found recently. They share some of the best-looking websites out there. Check them out if you’re looking for web design inspiration.
5 Things To Consider When Choosing A WordPress Theme
Not all the WordPress themes are created equal. You have to understand that. Each and every theme has its fair share of pros and cons. You have to find the perfect balance between your goals (which you now have on paper) and what a WordPress theme can/cannot offer. Sometimes you would have to compromise. Here are 5 most important things to consider when choosing a WordPress theme:
1) Astonishing Design.
No need to explain that. It has to look and feel as professional as possible. You don’t want to scare your potential customers with something that looks absolutely ugly, do you? No one does. That’s why it is important to find a theme that looks great on all the platforms and gives you a feeling that it was designed by a true professional.
2) Loaded With Functions.
These days many themes come pre-packed with a whole bunch of awesome functions or even templates for different types of businesses. Some web-designers even specialize in building themes exclusively for a particular industry. I haven’t seen any themes that would cater to the needs of translation industry yet. But the thing is, many themes are adaptable and you can simply change every element and pretty much make it your own and unique. So if you see a theme for a lawyer, who knows, maybe you change a few things here and there and voilà, you now have a theme for your translation business.
This is where you should use that sketch you’ve made. Look at a theme description and see if it got all the features you need. Contact form? Check. Video backgrounds? Check. Great for blogs? Check. Etc.
You’ll have problems. Not because the theme sucks, no. Just because sometimes not everything is obvious and you might get overwhelmed by all the settings and options and you will need the help your theme developer to point you in the right direction. There is a certain learning curve with every theme and it’s good to know someone can lend you a helping hand.
4) Regular Updates.
WordPress folks are constantly developing something awesome. It’s functionality, speed and security improve with every new release. You need a theme that can keep up with all those updates. The most popular themes out there offer life-long updates. For free! So make sure to check out the change log or ask the developer when was the theme last updated. You really want the most current up-to-date version in order for everything to work smoothly. The coolest thing is that new updates might bring new features that could improve your web design and the pretty looks of your website.
You know what cool developers do? They provide helpful tutorials. You’ll need one! Even better if they come in video format, cause it’s much easier to digest. If WordPress developer provides you with comprehensive tutorials it means he cares about his customers and wants them to have the best experience possible. Lack of supporting documentation is a clear warning sign for me. It means if I ever run into a problem I’ll be absolutely defenseless. I don’t want it. Neither do you.
Ok, got it. But where do I actually find themes?
Oh man. There are plenty of places. My go-to place is a website called Themeforest. It’s probably the best place. Well, at least they say so. 🙂 I buy all my themes and plugins there. The cool thing is that, as far as I know, they have pretty solid security measures in place and check every single item for malicious code before publishing it. It gives me a peace of mind.
Themeforest has a pretty solid selection of WordPress themes, updated on a daily basis.
Other websites, maybe? Sure!
- Elegant Themes offers a selection of 200+ WordPress themes. But you have to subscribe and pay every year or pay a hefty one-time fee. Which is not a viable option for many of us.
- Themify.me have a pretty nice collection of Premium WordPress themes with drag-and-drop builder in every theme. Might be pretty useful for folks who prefer something more light-weight.
- Template Monster offer thousands of WordPress themes, plus you can browse by category which I found very useful.
- Mojo Themes provides a nice little selection of WordPress themes and plugins.
I’m sure there are plenty of other websites too. If you know a good one, please share it in the comments below.
Alrighty! I think this is it for today. I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately. But if you check my recent projects you’ll see that I was pretty busy working for one of my awesome clients from a forestry industry. And for the past few weeks I’ve been redefining my marketing plan. Well, not actually redefining it rather than putting everything on paper. My life feels much more organized now and I’ll do my best to keep those blog posts coming.
What about you? What have you been up to these days? Looking forward to hearing from you guys!