Building a beautiful website for your business begins with choosing a theme — a design that controls page layout, widget areas, and default style. With more than 350 free and paid themes on WordPress.com, selecting a theme for your business website can feel overwhelming, but you can make it easier by focusing on these three questions.
What Am I Publishing on My Website?
Draft a visual map of your website to help you plan your site structure and decide what you want your homepage to look like. Will your homepage contain static information about your business like a welcome message and business hours or do you want to showcase your latest blog content?
In a theme overview page or when trying out a live demo, look at how the theme handles Widgets — tools or content blocks that you can add, arrange, and remove on your website. Widget areas can include the footer, sidebar, or unique places on the homepage. Menus are another useful way to organize Pages, Posts, and links on your website.
The Sela theme, for example, has seven Widget areas, two options for testimonials, and a custom menu. Kirsten of The Pink Rose Bakery chose to use the theme’s grid layout to organized links to her recipes, blog, and social media right on the homepage.
What Features Do I Need?
Are you building a restaurant website, a landing page for your hotel, a corporate blog, or something completely different? Depending on your business, you may need website features exclusive to certain themes.
Prepare a list of your must-have features so you know right away if a theme is hitting the mark. You can use the filters in the drop-down menu under “More” to narrow down the themes with the features and layouts you want for your website.
For example, the Stay theme is fantastic for the hospitality industry. Its functional reservation drop-down form makes booking a room quick and intuitive. Take a look at how The Lake Crest Inn in Lake George Village personalized the Stay theme.
Premium themes often offer more specific features, so you’ll want to consider your budget as well. WordPress.com has a large selection of free themes to choose from as well as premium themes starting at $20. They can be purchased for a one-time fee per site, or you can get Unlimited Premium Themes for $120 per year and switch things up as often as you’d like!
What Look and Feel Do I Want for My Website?
You can filter themes by style and color if you have a specific look in mind or need to match a brand logo. While most themes can be tweaked with custom headers and background colors, Custom Design unlocks next-level customization.
Think back to the content you expect to publish on your site. Do you need a design that showcases photos? If so, choose a portfolio site or a design that makes the most of high-resolution photos. Perhaps photography plays a small role in your website design. If so, avoid themes that only look good with a lot of photos.
Take a look at the Urban Legends Film Co. They use the Blocco theme, which looks great with a generous use of featured photos on the homepage.
It can pay to do a little research on your competition. How do other websites in your industry look? How do they organize their content, online store, and calls to action? Keep these elements in mind when inspecting potential themes. You can also sort themes by Type and Features to help narrow your search to websites designed specifically with your industry in mind.
Get a Sneak Peek
Now that you’ve answered these questions, you can browse themes with purpose. When shopping through the Themes Showcase, you can see additional information and view it in action by clicking on Live Demo.
You can also view themes by going to My Sites ? Themes. This has the added feature of allowing you to preview the theme with your very own content.
Just to keep things fresh and interesting, we’re adding free and premium themes all the time, so keep an eye on the Showcase for new designs. Follow our blog to get an exclusive tour of new designs and featured themes.
You can switch themes as many times as you need until you find the right fit. If a Premium theme doesn’t work out, we offer a full refund up to 30 days from your purchase.
Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?
Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos, and videos and stellar customer support.
Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes.
Filed under: HowTo, Themes