The web designer :
- Looks for a theme holding a large range of templates to assist with User Journey (UX)
- Will consider animations for innovation
- Will consider what content users want and messaging
- Will consider what the site wants to accomplish
The web developer :
- Looks for a theme which is fast loading across mobile and desktop
- Favours a lightweight code base
- Will consider theme support options
- Will consider the quality of CSS / JS, and if any is superfluous
- Will consider theme version controls and future proofing
recommended theme market places
There are hundreds if not thousands or theme providers, it can be very confusing. Below we list three recommended website themes marketplaces at this time :
1. Theme Forest
2. Template Monster
3. Free CSS
recommended ‘ready made’ website themes
At just $39 and with 185,000 sales you can be assured the author is well committed. You can get this theme with additional support, use as a brochure website or for ecommerce!
- Compatible with WordPress 5.3, 5.4 and WooCommerce 4.0.
- GDPR ready
- Full WordPress 5 compatibility
- Full Elementor compatibility
- Full WooCommerce compatibility
- Full Gutenberg compatibility
As you may know we highly recommend Elementor as s site builder due to it’s ease of use.
Again, so much value for just $59 and with a proven 122,000+ downloads you know that there is a good probability this will meet you requirement even if it is very specific.
Compatible with WordPress 4.9 / 5.0 + and WooCommerce 3.9 / 4.0 +, the theme is updated often. Three great reasons why we recommend this theme for an ecommerce business.
what to consider in a ready to use theme?
To keep it simple it’s worth asking or researching yourself, a few minutes of consideration can save your wallet and a lot of frustrations later on! Key considerations are :
- When was the theme first designed and coded?
- How old is the theme now?
- When was the theme last updated?
- Who updates the theme, can you buy maintenance and theme support?
- What are the recommendations and reviews like?
- Is the theme a mobile first design (was it made for mobiles or desktops)?
- Is the theme multi purpose or for a specific use e.g. e-commerce?
- Does the theme load quickly?
- Will the theme meet all your requirements?
- Will it be you editing the theme?
advanced theme due diligence
When looking for a theme we recommend you :
- Review the version control, when was it last updated? If the author is not updating the theme often it’s a sign they are not committed to the theme
- Review the comments and feedback on the theme marketplace, again this can provide an inside line to what happens once you’ve purchased your theme
- Review the demo installation and see if it supports the functions you need such as site maps, variety of inner page template designs and controls
- Check both by viewing on your desktop and your mobile!
- Go to the showcase page, find a domain that is using this theme, then test the speed of the website in real time using Google tools https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Again, use the URL and use a third party grading tool to test for speed and code quality https://www.pingdom.com/
- There are not many themes that will meet the strict criteria of W3C, it’s great tool to use to see the quality of code though https://www.w3.org/standards/
- Buying a pre designed theme? Does it meet WCAG standards?
- Make sure you understand what support is available from the seller and consider buying support when you take out the theme, usually it’s pennies on the pound and puts you in a better position if you want tweaks or insights.
what is theme customisation?
A theme customisation is a mid point between buying a theme and populating with your content to owning a custom theme that has been designed from the ground up. You may ask your designer, developer, agency or freelancer to customise a theme they or you purchase. This can be a good solution for :
- Changing how a pre purchased theme home page template looks
- Adding or removing functions and features
- Changing how a menu navigation looks or works
- Adding automations or special controls
what is a custom theme?
A custom theme is a website design and code that has been made ‘just for you’, typically agencies and freelancers lead the process of design, code and User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
Owning a custom theme (if you’ve chosen a good provider) typically means :
- Your website design holds a user journey better suited for your audience
- May include a custom feature or function
- Will reflect your messaging clearer and better
- Will hold your company branding closer or exactly to how you need it
- Less or no un-necessary code such as CSS and JS
- Less or no code errors
- Up to date code versions e.g. PHP and HTML
- Unlikely to become a victim of a mass theme attack
- You know where and whom to ask for updates and future assistance
- You know they come with a recommendation
what are ready made themes?
Ready made themes are available to buy online from development companies directly and through marketplaces such as Theme Forest or template monster. If you do not buy themes often, it’s recommended to get a cuppa and allocate yourself some time to start browsing and researching, the are thousands to choose from. It can cost effective and put you in the driving seat!
For some businesses choosing a ready made theme is not an option. It can be for a variety of reasons such as needing better security, a need for future support or simply they need a consultancy led service.
pros for a custom theme
A unique style and look for your website, opportunity to showcase innovation and get ahead of the competition. Gain access to qualified and an experienced team or professional who can provide digital leadership to show better ways, strategy and options you may not consider by yourself.
A custom theme means less surprises, better future proofing, a support team in place, a professional and planned approach to suit your business not someone elses.
cons for a custom theme
If you need a new website or a website relaunch its worth reviewing agencies and freelancers who can provide you with digital leadership and not just a customisation.