One of the best things about WordPress is the sheer number of themes that are available for you to choose from. There’s a downside to the equation, though. Sometimes choice can be a dangerous thing – when setting up an ecommerce site or when doing pretty much anything else.
Looking for the right WordPress ecommerce theme can be time-consuming, especially if you’re focused on the wrong details. If you are struggling to pick that perfect theme to reflect your brand, take a look at these tips.
Why Not Build a Custom Theme?
Building a custom theme often sounds like the easiest answer, but it’s only an easy answer for the immediate problem.
If you choose to build your own theme, you are going to have to stay on top of the code and make sure that you update it frequently. If there is a problem further on down the road, you will have to update the code to make it functional again. It can cost you a lot more time and energy, especially if you are not a developer by nature.
When you choose a premade theme, someone else has to deal with all the headaches of keeping that theme up to date and functional. As a customer, you’ll receive notifications when updates are ready, and you can keep the theme current with the click of a button.
Keep it Simple
It’s easy to unnecessarily overcomplicate things. The theme you choose should be in line with your brand personality, your voice, and is reflective of your audience. Many of the themes out there are promoted with the promise of hyper-flexibility, the idea being that they can be adjusted to the needs of any major niche – which makes them attractive.
But often, these themes are full of extras you don’t need. Avoid themes that have too many functions and features. These can bog down the speed at which your site loads and negatively affect the customer experience. You’ll obviously need a robust product catalog, user-friendly shopping cart, email marketing signup, and social media buttons. For an effective ecommerce site, you don’t need much else.
When building your site, keep in mind your photos and copy complement each other. Both need to reflect your brand and the message you want to send to consumers. Naturally, you want to include professional product photos, but you can also use other types of pictures to elicit specific feelings and bond with your customer base. Lifestyle pictures are an excellent way to accomplish that connection and they should reflect your business attitude. You don’t want to use something that is edgy if you are selling luxury items, for example.
Invest in a Premium Theme
While opting for a free WordPress theme is tempting, take the time to invest in a premium theme. Free themes may not be updated very often, or worse, the author of a theme could abandon it all together. Free themes are also often designed by people who are not experts at code and could leave your site an easy target for hacking.
A premium theme means you are paying for quality coding implemented by a professional. The professional is a lot less likely to abandon your theme and will notify you regularly of updates. It is important to feel that you have stability and support should you have an issue with your theme later.
Another top reason to purchase a premium theme is you can build a relationship with a theme builder that can be of benefit to you later. If you run across a design issue or want to be able to do something new with your theme, talking with the developer can easily help you solve those problems and give them something new to market. Premium themes are really not that expensive when you consider all the things that can go wrong with a free theme. In many situations, using a premium theme saves money over the long term.
Customize Your Design
Starting with a base theme isn’t enough. You’ll need to make sure it includes the ability to quickly and easily customize it to your brand.
If you cannot upload your company logo and easily adjust the text and link colors from the theme settings, you’ll have to do it manually in the code – or hire someone to do it for you.
While most ecommerce themes on the market today make it easy to customize your design, many also include additional options for logos and favicons for proper viewing on smartphones and tablets. For example, Apple devices using the retina display can benefit from versions of your logo specifically for those devices.
It Isn’t as Hard as You Might Make It
Generally, when you first look at all your options, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed. The best way to combat this is to make a list of the things you want. This provides a starting point on what to look for, and how to find it. You can also browse theme marketplaces and use their filters to help narrow down your choices. Each will have a demo that you can look at to help you decide.
Once you have figured out what you want, you’ll find choosing the right theme to be much easier than you anticipated. As you research, you may find that you have new and different ideas for what you want. For the best results, be clear on your branding and messaging before you begin your search.