One of the main elements of your website will be your theme. Yet have you ever pondered the question, “how important is my theme?” How much of an impact does the design, look and feel of your website have on a visitor’s outcome?
The appearance of your website is undoubtedly important, as branding and design do have a significant effect on your traffic. Statistics show that 38 percent of website traffic will become unengaged if the layout and content is unattractive. If something looks disgusting and disorganized, it most likely won’t convert visitors into clients.
Optimizing Your Resources
Depending on your circumstances, you should learn to prioritize what resources you have so that you can generate the best results from your efforts. For example, the content on your website should always be valuable.
If you had to choose between having a WordPress theme which is “average” or low quality content, always go with the average theme. Why? If your content isn’t good enough, your design will never bail you out.
It’s also important that you take marketing into consideration when assessing your budget. What are your plans for traffic generation? Without website visitors how does the business stand to make any sales?
However, if you feel your content is high quality, and you do have the budget, then upgrading your theme could be a good idea.
Split Testing Themes
You should never take an update or upgrade as a positive until it has increased your results. If your business profits remain the same or decrease after you’ve changed something, you’ve downgraded your website by altering the theme.
Don’t fall in love with the design of your site, even if you do think it looks great. Let the results steer your business into success. Otherwise, pride may cut into your profits. Through split testing your theme alterations, you can effectively tell whether a change should remain or revert to its original state.
An easy cost effective way to run a split test for your theme change campaign would be to log and track all results within Google analytics. Using custom conversion data from before and after the change, you can tell how the theme update has impacted your website visitors and results.
Finding WordPress Themes
Just a quick Google search will bring up hundreds if not thousands of possible themes you could use.
To ensure your theme is up to date, search for newer options that have made it into prestigious lists such as WP Themes Checker’s best premium WordPress themes for 2016.
Alternatively, if your budget doesn’t allow for a premium theme, you can find a free substitute. Bear in mind that free themes usually don’t give as much freedom for site functionality and add-ons. You may find there are a few options grayed out which you would have to upgrade to unlock.
Safety Tips for Premium Theme Purchases
If your budget allows you to source a premium option, be sure that you purchase and download it from a reputable source. If you can’t afford a premium theme, there are lots of free alternatives worth considering. The edits you make to your theme such as layout, color scheme and widget placement are the alterations that will create a change in your websites conversion performance. You shouldn’t feel that premium themes are essential, though they do offer more flexibility.
There are a lot of shady, low-quality sites offering discounted or standard themes these days. Websites that are outdated offering themes which are years old should be avoided, as those options may not have been updated for mobile responsiveness. Check the date of the theme if possible, if it’s not available it’s wise to move onto another theme store.
Ensure that you protect your browser details and information using a Virtual Private Network, no matter what device you may be using. Hackers are smart, whether they’re working for the low-quality service you consider buying from or if they’re trying to tap your activity.
Site Functionality and Smoothness
It’s already common knowledge amongst search engine optimization marketers that Google favors websites which load faster. This is relevant when it comes to selecting your theme. Certain themes run smoother than others due to their file size, operational functionality and of course the web hosting company a website owner uses.
So if you plan on using a theme which requires a lot of server space, make sure that your web hosting service can handle it! It’s important to understand that site functionality also plays a significant role in website conversions.
If your website is hard to navigate and doesn’t flow smoothly, it could be due to the theme you have installed and activated. For example, in this day and age, if your theme isn’t mobile responsive you’ll repel certain visitors almost instantly. Your theme choice should include options which offer mobile responsiveness, and easy navigation.
Look for themes which display social icons visibly on all pages, and that also give you a mobile demonstration before you buy or install. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll know how easy the theme is to navigate and if it looks good on mobile devices.
Overall, your WordPress theme does matter a lot when looking at visitor experience and conversions. We’ve found that content should always have priority over website design whether budget is an issue or not. However, you can still alter your site’s theme using free options to increase sales and profits.
To capitalize on your efforts in the most efficient way, ensure your site loads quickly, flows smoothly and is easy to navigate. Your theme and design are the second most important conversion factors for your website.
About the author: Caroline is a freelance writer who also enjoys discovering new WordPress themes which offer great site functionality and performance. She has a passion for optimizing websites so that the key elements pop and generate a satisfying visitor experience.