What to think about when buying a #WordPress #theme

A client has been talking to me about a WordPress theme they have bought, or actually, were they complaining?

The story goes they found a lovely theme online that looked ever so good and would fit their needs perfectly. Of course they bought it thinking it was the solution to all their website design problems. No need for a profession developer now, just install and get on with the important jobs of filing the site with content.

Fair dues, that’s why people buy a theme isn’t it? And why one goes to the effort of designing one, to make it into a saleable commodity.

So what happens? It’s all installed, no problems, but it ends up as just a blank page. Where’s all the pretty layout and pictures that were on the sales page? To the technically minded this makes sense, the images are probably copyright anyway. But the average buyer surely isn’t technically minded?

Problem two: so with the best will in the world they set about filling the site with the navigation and content they think they need. Sadly this isn’t the navigation the theme designer thought they’d need. And you bought the theme ‘cos you liked their layout, not yours. Subtle point.

So they’re back to talking to a developer, the step they were trying to avoid by buying the theme in the first place (though I’m sure it was nothing personal). It makes you wonder why go to all the trouble and be out of pocket too. At least all is not lost.

Lessons learnt

Choose the theme you like but remember to look closely at it, the navigation and its layout, the structure of the content. Do you have suitable artwork where required?

It might be an idea to involve a developer early on to avoid these pit falls: one session of advice now could be cheaper than later; many themes aren’t cheap, and once invested you are (often mostly) committed.

You will (very likely) need to fit your content to their arrangement, maybe more rigidly than you had in mind.

Note the demo page that caught your eye is likely to be the front page too, not the content page the rest of the site is made up of.

WordPress theme designer?

Tell me what you are thinking ..

More help

If you’d like some books on WordPress try here, and specifically on themes, hereWordPress Web Design For Dummies might be a good start