U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, May 2014 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

When building a website, you can use one of the many available templates that are based on the WordPress platform. I have been working with WordPress for our own and our clients’ websites since 2008. The main benefit of using WordPress is the ability to change the look and feel of a website entirely by just switching to a different theme. You can compare it to changing coats: the body is the same, but the appearance has completely transformed.

Because it is such an awesome tool, many people are using WordPress, which in turn made many developers design themes for this platform. And that made WordPress an even greater choice: the hundreds of themes that are available. But with that abundance of design templates comes an obvious question: which one to choose, and why?

Here are a few thoughts on what to look for in a WordPress theme:

  • Premium WordPress Themes GalleryFunctionality – themes are not just about look and feel, they also include (or not) an important set of features. A lot of times these features may be even more important than the design of a theme – good features will enhance the usability and effectiveness of a site.
  • Terms – some free themes require you to include a link in the footer to a spammy website. Some paid themes can only be used for one website. Others are far more liberal. Make sure to pay attention to the terms and conditions of themes before buying/using them.
  • Support – there are a lot of free themes out there, but support for them can be spotty. Going with a reputable theme development company will ensure that you get good support when you need it. You may need to ask questions on how to customize a theme, for instance.
  • Responsive layout – a responsive layout will adjust the site’s design and sometimes functionality to smaller screen sizes like smart phones and tablets. This is pretty important these days, as the mobile Internet usage is still rising.
  • Customization – there are a lot of plugins out there that will allow you to customize your sites a great deal. But more plugins will add to the download time of your site – they will slow them down a little bit. Well-developed themes with added customization features included may lead to faster download times of your website. A variety of custom page templates is an example of such customization options.

These are a few things that I consider when searching for a new WordPress theme. What do you find most important when you are looking for a new WordPress design?

For more information: contact your web developer, or website optimizer Nardo Kuitert at www.ferguswebsites.com or 519-787-7612. Nardo has written this column on behalf of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce since 2006.

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