9 considerations when using WordPress templates

Take Advantage of Web Design Genius By Using Templates

WordPress started as an open source project back in 2003. Since that time, what began as a simple blogging tool has become a full-blown self-hosted content management system used by millions worldwide. Why has WordPress become so popular? The answer is it’s simplicity.

High quality WordPress templates allow you to build a website with little technical knowledge. And thanks to a myriad of “how-to” books, functionality plug-ins, widgets, themes, and other customizable add-ons and upgrades, the only limit is your imagination. Whether you’re just starting a business or looking to update your current company website, you’ll enjoy a host of advantages by leveraging WordPress website design.

Advantages of Using WordPress Templates

1. Rapid deployment, lower costs -Templates allow you to cut creative development by as much as 30%, saving you time and money.

2. Faster coding – Instead of coding from scratch, you’re building upon high quality, peer reviewed templates that have been designed within strict coding parameters. And since WordPress themes already include extensive CSS, customization is that much easier.

3. Compatibility – While you’ll find a number of plug-ins designed specifically for your chosen template, popular WordPress themes are also fully compatible with widgets, text editors, and leading plug-ins for SEO. This allows you to quickly expand the functionality of your site.

4. Support and community – There are numerous websites and forums dedicated to providing information and tips on how to leverage templates and themes. High-quality templates receive lifetime support directly from the developers, and huge communities often spring up around popular themes.

5. Freedom to focus on high value content, SEO, and PPC – While an attractive, well-designed website will engage customers, the time and expense needed to develop and maintain such an endeavor can be substantial. By using templates, you can focus that time, effort and money on high-value content, strong CTAs, SEO-driven marketing and PPC advertisements designed to drive potential customers to your well-designed website.

Other Considerations

While the advantages of WordPress website design are numerous, keep these potential stumbling blocks in mind when choosing templates and themes.

6. Cookie-cutter design – WordPress themes provide a fast track for design and deployment, but if you don’t take the time to develop a customized “child” theme, your website stands a good chance of looking like existing websites, some of which may be your direct competition.

7. Free templates – There are many free templates available, but not all are reliable or well-supported. Be sure you check out the developer’s experience and upgrade practices for these products. Low maintainance or poor setup can create incompatibilities and security issues down the road. You will have better success with templates included by hosting companies or “twenty” series often included with standard installations.

8. UX design (user-interface design) –  Just because a template looks attractive doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for advertising your product or service. Take time to research and understand your audience. Develop appropriate buyer personas prior to choosing a template design and you’ll be able to choose a theme that is consistent with your brand, product, and services.

9. Custom design – As useful as “off-the-shelf” templates can be, there are times when custom WordPress template design makes more sense. For example, if you’re displaying an art collection, there are numerous details to consider. While you can enter information such as artist, title, description, size, and catalogue number in a text editor, working with custom fields can really simplify the process, providing faster page builds, easier updates, and an user-friendly interface.

Where to Find Templates

Luckily, there is no shortage of WordPress themes available through various directories and marketplaces. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a critical eye when making your selection. Items to consider and compare when gauging quality include release dates, popularity ratings, total number of downloads, the most current update, and the availability of responsive design.

Here are some popular sources for WordPress templates:

  • Envato Marketplace – Here you’ll find two popular sources for WordPress templates and plug-ins: Themeforest and Code Canyon. Currently, Themeforest offers over 17,000 WordPress templates and themes, and Code Canyon offers over 3,000 plug-ins.
  • Woothemes – Here you’ll find themes, plug-ins, extensions and more, including WooCommerce for online shopping.
  • Studio Press – Powered by the Genesis Framework, Studio Press is used by more than 134,000 website owners, and provides SEO, responsive HTML5 designs, and unlimited support and updates.
  • MOJO Themes – Themes and templates come with documentation, free ongoing support, and free item updates.

Need Additional Help?

You may wish to contact a web design firm in geographic area for assistance. You can refine your search to specific areas by adding a city name, ex: Web Design Miami. A professional, experienced firm can guide you through the process of selecting templates, or building a custom design from scratch.

A specialized firm should be able to help you with buyer persona development, search engine optimization, PPC (pay-per-click) and inbound marketing tactics such as blogging, calls-to-action, landing pages and forms that can help improve your site’s page ranks and generate new prospects and leads.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.

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