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The cool thing about WordPress is that there are literally thousands of theme layouts to choose from. You can go nuts trying to pick one out. It’s tempting to choose a theme that’s pretty , unusual, or just plain weird, but when you get right down to it, you want your site to do one thing: You want it to get you what you want, whether it’s income, celebrity, support or whatever. It has to be able to market your project or business otherwise you will be wasting a lot of time. Unfortunately, many people pick a theme that doesn’t do their business justice.
Before you pick out your theme, ask yourself:
Will your readers easily be able to complete your call to action?
I’m overhauling a site that at first glance looks very attractive. The problem is; a new reader doesn’t have a clear path of what to do once they arrive on the home page. The site has an attractive slider that displays across the top 1/3 of the home page with striking images connected to posts. There’s an inspiring quote below it and then 3 featured page boxes below the quote with an image and an excerpt from a page. The featured page boxes have no obvious clickable links unless you experiment a little and accidentally find yourself on another page. The client has fantastic programs to offer, but isn’t getting conversions for them because of the way the website is laid out.
Will your mother be able to read what’s on your website?
The text font size on this particular site is 12pts. That’s OK if you’re reading a typed page taken off Microsoft Word, but it’s very difficult to read on a computer screen. I have a large monitor and I’m still squinting. Make sure your content text is at least 14 pts or even larger. If you are using WordPress, all you have to do is find out where the style settings are, edit the font size and you’re good to go. Style settings are easy to find on many newer themes. However, certain themes make editing the style sheet tricky. A couple of times I’ve been asked to tweak a theme that has the style sheet hidden in the server files. The files can only be accessed by FTP. It made me feel like I was on a scavenger hunt. For most people that’s not something they want to deal with.
Using a black background behind the text is difficult to read for most people. Light colored text against black tends to strobe and will give you a head ache if you’re reading an article that’s long. The other problem with using a background that isn’t white, is when you want to upload an image such as an icon, or a product. In order for the image to look like it’s floating on the page, it may be necessary to make the background of the image transparent. If you’re not adept at photo editing this could be frustrating.
Is your theme a flash mob waiting to happen?
There are some themes out there with built in animation, flashy galleries, and crazy buttons. It’s very impressive when you look at the theme demo. Then you load it on your site and find out it’s much more complicated to configure than you thought. Sometimes the flashy effects are not compatible with all the browsers or new WordPress versions. You may also find that when you look at the site on a cell phone, it looks like The Blob instead of a Blog.
Have you ever pressed the WordPress update button and gotten the White Screen of Death?
WordPress and its plug-ins are updated all the time. This keeps your site secure, helps make it compatible with emerging technology and increases its efficiency. The problem is: not all theme developers keep up with these changes. In that case, there is a danger your theme will break when a major update is done. Certain theme companies always stay on top of their themes. Others have been designed by developers who live in outer Slabovia or speak a different language. When things go wrong, it’s a relief to know you have someone to help you. Check out the support system for your theme BEFORE you decide to upload it on your site. Even if there’s a glitch, which can happen even with the best premium themes, you want to have someone available to talk to who will give you the advice you need.
Are you engaging your audience on an emotional level that they can relate to?
As I mentioned above, in one case, the photo slider that filled the top of the home page was not compelling for my client as far as creating conversions. However, there are other types of businesses or niches in which a photo slider would be very beneficial. For example, if your topic is sort of dry or something people don’t want to think about, (such as death) warming up your site by making it more visual or emotional is a powerful move. Images, videos and other media help your viewers relate to your topic and make your offer more compelling.
In general simplicity is the best choice when picking out a WordPress theme layout. If it’s clean, clearly defines your marketing funnel, and flashy stuff is kept to a minimum, you will be better off in the long run. And luckily, if you find it isn’t working for you, you can deactivate it and slip on another theme, just like putting on a new dress. You may have to make a few little alterations, but at least you’re not stuck with it like on a static site. That’s why WordPress is so cool.
So, don’t just think about putting a theme on your site. Think about how it’s going to market your business.
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