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The Case for the WordPress Theme

The Case for the WordPress Theme | Shannon A. Miller

According to the StrengthsFinder test, one of my strengths is the Maximizer. What this means is that I “seek to transform something strong into something superb.” Basically I don’t like to mess around with things that are subpar and make them okay…I like to take things that are already working well and functioning and make them shine.

When I tell my clients that I recommend starting with a WordPress theme for their website project I get mixed responses. Some jump right on board, but others are a little hesitant.

While not every website project can start with a theme, most of the projects that walk through my door definitely can. And in fact, I highly encourage it. Here’s why…

  • Cost Effective – Who doesn’t love saving a little money? By cost effective I do not mean free. If you want a good theme you are going to need to pay a little. But it’s still a little and you get a lot…of features that is. Definitely a sweet bang for your buck.
  • Time Saver – Like huge time saver. If you were to build a custom theme it could take months to get it up and running. Using a theme you can get your site up in weeks, sometimes even in days!
  • Features – This may be my favorite part of starting with a theme. Many developers will specialize their theme for a particular purpose. There are real estate listing themes, agency-style themes, online magazine themes…you name it, most likely there is a theme for that. And this means that the hard work is already done for you, which again saves you time and money.
  • Development – Not only can you get a handful of great features, you can also get a site that is developed by a pro. You would have to spend really big bucks to get the quality of development that many (note: not all) of these themes bring to your fingertips. Responsive, SEO-friendly, tested repeatedly in different browsers and operating systems. Basically, themes can be very reliable.

But here’s the deal—not all themes are created equal.

When I have clients tell me they are hesitant to use a theme I’m pretty sure it’s because their only experience is with the themes WordPress shares on their site. I would be hesitant too if that is all I knew. Most of those themes are for the birds.

But there are several sites that have amazingly developed and designed themes to choose from, like themeforest. You just have to have the patience to sift through them.

At this point, I have worked with enough WordPress themes that I can spot a bad one from a mile away. I have a fine-tuned list of what I check out and look for when recommending a theme to a client.

Some themes are simple, some complex. Every theme is developed differently so there is always a learning curve. And if you’ve never worked with WordPress it can be a little confusing. (But that’s why you call me and I help you out!)

When deciding to use a theme for a new website these are the things I highly recommend:

  1. Pay for a theme, don’t use a free one.
  2. Research the theme developer—check out their portfolio, read their reviews, see how many times the theme has been downloaded, skim the comments, and find out how they handle development issues.
  3. Hire a professional to help you get the site up and running. It might cost a little more, but I guarantee it will pay off in the long run and save you any unnecessary headaches.
  4. Find a theme that fits your needs, not just one that looks nice. Need an online store? Find a theme with WooCommerce integrated already. Creating an online magazine? Start with a theme that was designed for this, it will have all the bells and whistles you are looking for and will encourage healthy interaction with your readers.
  5. Remember that the theme can be customized. Colors, fonts, images, layout…most themes come with options and if they don’t the person you hire should be able to help fine tune these things for you.
  6. Be sure to read the fine print of any theme you are using and respect the people who created it. For example, if you use a theme for more than one website, pay for more than one license.

The bottom line is that using WordPress themes makes so much sense to my Maximizer brain. Start with something good and make it great.


Ready to get started with a new website? Contact me today and let’s chat about how we can work together to create an online presence that gets you results.