What your website is about must be recognized in seconds. Selling, teaching, discussing, listing, or presenting, the answer must be grasped quickly. Next is who you are. What gives us the clues we need? The layout? The words? The logo? A combination of all three in the WordPress theme?
Wrong themes frustrate visitors.
- What if visitors see your website as something that it’s not? They mistakenly move on, or, they become disgruntled when they are proven wrong — both unwelcome reactions. A blog-type theme solving user problems on the Home page of an online store would do that. Do you want to hear how someone is using a product you haven’t met, yet?
- What about a theme showing a Home page of photos of your office and the city where it’s located, while the website is actually selling software? We expect to find your software on the Home page. Everything needs to be where visitors are expecting to find it. Make visitors comfortable and they will explore. How does the WordPress theme help with this?
- Imagine your visitor finds some interesting photos and descriptions on your Home page, but there are no links to take him to more details and to make the sale. Did that interesting slider on the front page offer links to other pages or posts in the website? Your theme should have that option.
- Now a visitor has arrived at your website via a search link. The page they find has the title of the page and the article, but they can’t make heads or tails of what the site is all about on this “middle” page of the website. There is only the name of the website: CRS Sales. Informative, right? Not. Maybe that’s all the space allowed with this theme. I’ve seen it.
There are some obvious and not-so-obvious mistakes being made here, but how much of it is the theme selection and how much is operator error? I think it’s the theme.
Each premium theme – I don’t recommend free ones — comes with good options and guides to help you use the theme in the best possible way. To use it another way is difficult. This means you need to make the right choice up front. Not so easy, you say?
Selecting a Theme: Is there a quick way?
Maybe there needs to be some way to recognize a given type of theme working with a given type of business. Is that too logical? Maybe. It’s also very hard to classify themes into cubbyholes. Some types of themes are clear: blogging and not blogging. That should be your very first, top of all others, choice. Be clear whether you are doing a blog or the blog is to be a tool of your business. Should be easy.
Other classifications of themes are not so clear: minimalist, traditional, business, casual, creative, non-profit. You might fit into any of those, but those classifications don’t help much. What should we look for beyond the blog/non blog category? Nothing. Give that whole idea away. It’s not going to work.
Theme Selection Bottom Line
You must look at what is necessary for your company to convey to your buyers right at the start. Is it a product and what it looks like? Is it your high tech service and guarantees? Is it your smiling face? Is it your staff/team?
On website I try to convey that I am able to understand what you need to do to improve your website, and that I’m here to help you make that improvement. That’s what I have on my front page. Have I picked the right theme to do that? I have made it so. How about you?
Tell about your company all over your pages.
Your Home page, your About Us page, your Blog, your Contact page, your Posts all need to show your company clearly — on each and every page. Mimimalist themes, creative themes, whatever, all need to have enough space — in the header, footer, sidebar, somewhere — to convey your company’s persona so that even entering your website on a secondary page will mean something to those new visitors.
What does Erickson Creative convey on the secondary pages? Look around this page. It’s one of those. I have the same header on all my pages with a clear and meaningful tagline that tells what I do. How about you? Does your Blog/Post page-About Us page-Products page do that? Don’t leave those visitors wondering with a logo that’s too general and no tagline to explain more.
Also, look at your footer and sidebar for opportunities to portray your company’s attitudes and business savvy. I have an “About Sally” widget in the footer along with a sign up for email tips in the sidebar. Not all themes have these kinds of widgets included; it’s nice when you can find themes that do.
These do’s and don’ts should help you decide if your theme is doing a good job for you and your website. If it’s not, maybe all you need to do is take advantage of space, sidebars, and footers to convey what your company is all about. Or, maybe it’s time for a better theme. It’s really crucial.
photo credit: MarcelGermain. Marcel Says: Parc del Laberint d’Horta – Barcelona (Catalonia).