Hopefully, you’ve read our previous articles in this series –
Now, we’re ready to choose a design, which brings us back to marketing issues.
- Step #1: Do not start looking at designs!
- Brush up on marketing points that bear on this decision
- Sketch out your front page on notebook paper
- Choose a design (theme)
- Confirm that your sketch lines up with the theme’s layout
Think of your website’s front page as you would a full-page magazine ad. These are the essential elements you’re looking for:
- Aesthetics – if it doesn’t look great, they won’t read a thing!
- Attention grabbing – the headline must make them want more
- Build interest and inquisitiveness – motivate them to dig for more info
You have thousands of designs (WordPress “themes”) to choose from. Usually, the colors and layout can be changed from what is shown on the thumbnails. Some themes are designed for specific purposes (reservations, eCommerce, blogs, etc.) and may be difficult to re-purpose.
Be sure to select a theme that is “responsive”. That means it will look fine whether displayed on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or phone.
Many of your choices are “free”. These often have limitations that can only be overcome by paying for the “premium” or “pro” version. Quite frequently they’re buggy. Sometimes they work great. Be sure and checkout a theme’s feedback and proceed with caution.
I’ve even run into bugs and (unintended) limitations with commercial themes. Companies I recommend are ElegantThemes, RocketTheme and Web-Dorado.com. (Crass commercial advertisement: Clients of CompuSolver.com can choose any of these themes at no additional charge!)
One free template that has a lot of good feedback is Customizr. It may be a little difficult for the average user to setup, due to its many features, but it offers slick design and many layout choices.
One good thing about WordPress, as in many CMS frameworks, you don’t have to start completely over to change your theme. Some themes can be changed in minutes, while others may take a few hours, but it’s almost always easier than starting over from scratch.