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As an online publisher or general web designer who is determined to succeed in your endeavors online, you will be faced with a number of difficult decisions. Your ultimate goal is to communicate with your audience and to keep them coming with your website.
Choosing to host your site on a platform such as WordPress will give you a considerable edge over your competitors. Yes, choosing the platform on which to host your site is important, but you can't discount the look, feel, and experience your site offers to your visitors.
There are literally tens of thousands of WordPress themes that could make your site more presentable and beautiful to your visitors. The options are plentiful, and sifting through the good, the bad and – let’s be honest – the downright ugly, can make your head spin.
So why not just buy the first premium theme that tickles your fancy?
While content is important, presentation will help you to draw in your audience and will ideally develop a long-term and profitable relationship with them. Though the coding that goes into creating themes might seem to be similar, each theme has its own identity, style, security and integrity.
That is to say, rather than looking for themes that have marketed themselves as the best theme for WordPress, or themes others generally consider to be the single best theme available, search for a theme that works best for the goals you aim to achieve with your site.
Core Objective of the Site
When purchasing a theme, one of the factors you should first consider is the main objectives of your website. A good theme should not distract the audience from its primary objective. Instead, it should work to help support the content that's aiming to define the main objective.
Themes that will suit corporate companies might not be similar to that of a creative agency or a non-governmental organization. That is to say, the various categories of WordPress themes require people visiting the website to identify with the brand.
Knowing what your site visitors expect on your site will help you narrow down to a particular category of themes that will best deliver the intended experiece.
Luckily, you can find theme marketplaces online that categorize each of this industries, thereby making it easy to choose a premium theme that will easily work for you.
A Sketch of the Desired Outcome of Your Website
Before you begin searching for a premium theme, you should first have a clear idea of as to the type of experience you want your site to have when you're ready to purchase the theme.
By that, I mean that you should have a visual metaphor that pulls together all of the elements of your website. The theme that you finally choose should enhance the purpose and the content of your website.
Sketching the layout for your website can be compared to preparing a blueprint for a building. If you start with a blueprint, you will know exactly what you need at every step throughout a project's development.
A sketch of your website layout will help you know where everything will be presented. Having a good layout will make the whole process of choosing a theme much easier as you will simply narrow down the themes that go well with your intended design.
When sketching the layout, it is important to consider the style that you will use. You can choose a flat layout which is simpler and does not have any of the design tricks that help to create a three-dimensional look and feel to the website. You can decide whether the website will have a one-page layout, or whether it will have several pages. Furthermore, you can determine if you prefer a boxed layout, or a full-width layout. You can also decide whether the layout will be responsive, meaning that it is suitable for use on devices of different screen sizes. The theme marketplace will have all of these options, and it is always better to have answers to these layout questions before looking for a theme.
In addition to website layout and general website structure, your website’s organization should be on point, and that is what the navigation and the slider spaces are about. The navigation menus help guide your users where to go and what they should expect each time they click on a link. Remember that your website is all about communicating information to your audience. A cutting-edge layout combined with well-placed content will help your website to speak clearly to your visitors.
You should always keep in mind that site navigation involves more than having cool buttons on different parts of your page. It should help your audience to interact with your website and to find what it is for which they are looking.
Remember: Confusion is your enemy, and it will drive your visitors away.
Color Scheme for Your Website
Another factor that you should consider when deciding to purchase a premium theme is the color scheme that you intend to use. Color is the unsung hero in any design. A color palette that has been thoughtfully chosen will draw your audience and immerse them into your website. Color has a very emotional impact, and this makes it just as important impact as the layout and the navigation.
The premium theme that you eventually choose should suit the colors in your website and complement the overall theme of your site. Luckily, there are premium themes that are designed with different color palettes, and you can customize it so that the colors match the theme of your website.
Theme Features and Functionality
A premium theme should be beautiful yet functional, making it easier for you to set up the website with ease and for future website maintenance. Various themes come with different features that can help you to achieve your goal. Examples of features that are available in WordPress themes include page builder options, social media sharing features, e-commerce integration, SEO plugin integration, shortcodes to implement various things more easily and much more.
These add-on features will help you set up a website more easily and faster, after all, that’s why you’re buying a theme otherwise you will have either coded or paid a developer to build one for you from scratch.
It’s important to choose a theme that has a combination of features that will save on time when setting up a website and eases the pressure of having to pay someone else more cash to tweak the theme to meet your exact needs.
Also, when purchasing a theme, make sure view the theme in various browsers to confirm what the author listed is true.
Finally, you should select a theme that works with the latest WordPress version. WordPress is updated constantly so the premium theme should be able to work with the current version 3.8.1 and even with a promise of supporting coming updates of the CMS.
5-Star Support and Customer Appeal
After determining your layout, your objectives, and the functionality of your website, you can go online and look for a theme marketplace. There are online platforms, such as ThemeForest.net, where talented developers and designers showcase their best themes.
All of them have such great work that it makes it difficult to determine which ones are the best. The reputation of the marketplace can be one of the indicators of a quality theme marketplace. There are also many design magazines that review these websites and advise their readers on which ones have great collections.
In addition to industry reviews, you should read the customer ratings and comments in each theme marketplace. The customers are the real users of these themes, and they can give a first-hand account of how useful, usable and flexible the themes are.
Furthermore, they will help you to understand the plugins and features that you will get after purchasing a theme. The comments will also give you an indicator of the support that you will get after purchasing the theme. You will also be able to know if the theme’s author releases updates that will fix any bugs that the theme has as well as add new features.
If a particular theme catches your eye, it is great to look at the author’s portfolio. You may love their style and you may even prefer something else that is listed on their portfolio. Furthermore, you will be able to gauge their creativity and ensure that what you are choosing is a unique theme, and not simply a generic recreation of that particular author’s work.
Getting a premium theme for your website is an investment that is worth every cent. Similarly, customized premium themes can be quite costly, but this should not be an issue that deters you from the investment.
After all, this is your business and your site, and you should never compromise quality, security, and functionality in exchange for something that is cheap or free. What is easy on your pocket could end up being very difficult for you and your users, and ultimately, it could cost you much more than the theme itself.