Once you’ve got WordPress installed, the next big hurdle for most small businesses is to choose a theme for their site. A WordPress theme is the thing that determines the overall look and feel of your web site, and there are thousands and thousands of themes to choose from out there. The best starting place to get a sense of all the themes that are out there is the actual WordPress.org web site, in their themes directory (https://wordpress.org/themes/).
Themes come in all varieties that you can possibly imagine, and their costs range from free all the way up to hundreds of dollars. Like most things in this world, you usually get what you pay for. For example, a free theme usually comes with little to no support, and usually has very limited features and options. Similar you should expect that a commercial theme (i.e. not free) theme will come with plenty of features and options and will be supported by the author. As is the case with anything though, just because a theme is free doesn’t mean that the support behind it is any good or that the theme is free of bugs. The reality is that the marketplace for selling themes has essentially no barriers to entry, so pretty much anybody can sell a theme for whatever price they want to ask.
In our opinion it is extremely important to buy a theme from a reputable company that has a good track record of supporting its products, and has the financial ability to continue to support its themes and keep them current as technology standards evolve and as the core WordPress system gets upgraded. One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is that the theme you’ve built your entire web site around isn’t being supported but won’t work with the latest WordPress version which fixes a big security loophole. Suddenly you have to stop what you’re doing and choose a new theme and redo your web site around that theme. You really don’t want to wake up in this situation if you have better things to do with your time.
Our recommended WordPress Theme…
Here at White Dogwood we’ve standardized around the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. Elegant Themes has been around for a long time and has a large number of themes they’ve created in the past, but their Divi theme is an amazingly value for the money. For $69 (at the time of this writing) you get access to their entire theme library. Alternatively for $89 you get access to all their themes AND all their plugins. You probably don’t need their plugins when you are getting started, but don’t worry because they have an easy way of upgrading to the higher package later on if you choose.
Some of the reasons we love Divi include the following:
- A super-easy drag and drop system called Page Builder that is as easy to use as PowerPoint
- Pre-made page layouts that drastically cut down the time to build typical small business pages
- Totally responsive design, meaning that your web site will automatically look great on desktops, tablets and phones
- 40 super-simple modules that keep you from having to find and install a bunch of plug-ins to do common tasks
- The most flexible design options we’ve found to date, letting you (and your graphic designer) make your web site look exactly how you want
- Goregeous sample designs using Divi, along with detailed “how-to’s” if you want to replicate any portion of the sample
- Live Previews so you can quickly see what things will look like without having to publish and then go out to your web site to see how it looks
- Stable, secure and solid code that they keep up-to-date with any changes to the WordPress core files
- Automatic updates to the theme when new versions come out
- Amazingly good and fast technical support if you have a problem
So if you want to save yourself a lot of time and angst trying to figure out what theme to pick, do what we do for all the sites we manage and head over to Elegant Themes and spend the money to get access to Divi.
Disclaimer: If you click any of the links for Elegant Themes or Divi contained in this page, they contain an affiliate code whereby we get paid a small amount for people we refer. You don’t need to use this code, but it helps us keep the lights on if you do, without costing you anything. In fact, you’ll probably get offered a discount for using our link — last time we checked it was 10%.