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Evaluating & selecting themes

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What to look for and be aware of when selecting a WordPress theme

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Evaluating & selecting themes

  1. 1. EVALUATING & SELECTING THEMES Portland WordCamp 2018 BeckyDavisDesign.com @beckyddesign
  2. 2. WORDPRESS THEMES • Control the layout structure, look and feel ● Child themes allow for customization without worrying about breaking things or updates • Commercial themes often come packaged with more ● Sliders ● Page builders* – be very careful here ● Other “must-have” plugins • Thousands and thousands available
  3. 3. PLANNING • The more you have planned ahead of time, the better! • Things you should know: ● Who are your customers or Audience? ● What do you want your customers to do?Call to call to action ● How will this site solve your customers’ problem? BeckyDavisDesign.com @beckyddesign
  4. 4. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
  5. 5. SITE TYPES • Brochure - Basic static pages, simple form ● What kinds of layouts are available? • Informational - Regularly Updated ● Do you need something different for Posts vs. Pages? • E-commerce ● Look for themes that are built for shopping and have WooCommerce compatibility
  6. 6. PLANNING • Things you should have an idea about: ● Branding • Visual interface to ‘set tone/expectations’, based on your audience and corporate culture • Logo, Colors, Look and Feel • Focus on good design, not clutter ● Content (Message or ‘Pitch’) • Written copy (Optimized for Search Engines Humans with keywords) • Product photos or other images • Video or Audio
  7. 7. PLANNING • Structure ● Flow chart of content = menus • What links to what • How pages are categorized (Do you sort by color or style?)
  8. 8. MORE PLANNING! • Examples ● Competition ● What you love (functionality, color, style, etc.) ● What you hate • What you NEED now, what would be nice later ● Sites can be built in stages, as long as it’s planned for • Whew! I just wanted to pick a theme! • Picking a theme without knowing your content is like buying a house without knowing how much room you need.
  9. 9. FINDING A THEME IS HARD • Start here: wordpress.org/themes ● You can do this from the Appearance>Themes as well ● Pick a free one, add some content, take if for a test drive • Many themes are designed around a business type or a blog style • IGNORE the images and content in the demo • LOOK at the structure instead • SEPARATE form from function – that’s what plugins are for
  10. 10. BACK TO YOUR CONTENT • Do you have giant images for the hero area or slider? • Do you need separate areas to highlight different things? • Will your logo work in the space provided? • Does the main menu work in space/structure provided? • Do you have the skills/software needed to edit photos to fit? • Do the colors work for you? • Are the fonts easy to read?
  11. 11. FEATURES TO LOOK FOR • Fully responsive • Layout options that you need: ● Full width, with sidebar etc. • Can you change colors or fonts? (Do you need to?) • WooCommerce ready? • Support? • SOON - ‘Gutenberg ready’ • Beware of too much!
  12. 12. CUSTOMIZER • A lot of themes use this to control your home layout and many other aspects of your site
  13. 13. PAGE BUILDERS • Divi, Visual Composer, WP Bakery, Beaver Builder, Elementor • Can you change the theme and keep the content?
  14. 14. PLUNGE IN AND TEST • Test for free first if possible • “Premium” is really about support and features. ● Hard to test, but asking “pre-sales” questions is a good way to start.
  15. 15. THEME STRUCTURE • Understand where the files are: ALL themes (and plugins)live in wp-content.
  16. 16. POPULAR THEMES Recommended to me by others, not an endorsement. • Divi - by Elegant Themes, Visual page builder • Avada - by Themefusion, Fusion page builder, many (too many?) options • Astra - Choice of Elementor or Beaver Builder • X-theme - by Themeco, Cornerstone page builder • Beaver Builder - Beaver page builder • StoreFront - The base WooCommerce theme with child options, no page builder, ecommerce forward
  17. 17. FURTHER READING • https://wpengine.com/blog/dos-donts-wordpress-theme/ • https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-themes/selecting-the- perfect-theme-for-wordpress/ • https://themeisle.com/blog/test-a-wordpress-theme/ • https://pippinsplugins.com/wordpress-page-builder-plugins- critical-review/ Read this before commiting to a page builder theme BeckyDavisDesign.com @beckyddesign

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