Tips for using WordPress in your business
Are you using WordPress for the first time?
#1 Others will be affecting your site
The most important thing you need to know about WordPress is that when you buy a theme you are still attached to the developers; ‘ownership’ is much looser than you might otherwise assume. It’s like renting an apartment in that you can change whatever you want and you can retain the changes but the fundamentals are always subject to ‘updates’; whilst you will of course play with the ‘interior design’ and how you want your rooms laid out, the developers are still driving the plumbing, electricity supply etc.
So what’s the problem? None if you are an I.T. geek or have access to webmaster services! If not, you need to be aware that sometimes new updates cause conflicts with other installations and can cause problems… i.e. suddenly the pages look weird, things are no longer visible any more… or your site can become offline!
#2 When you load the theme it will not look like the demo!
Don’t fall in love with how a WordPress theme looks on the demo page. All themes look lovely when they’ve been set up by the developers.. and yes, the site can look like that but remember that the text and images have been laid out in their most attractive way. Your theme will be almost empty so don’t fall in love with a theme because of how it looks. (See pictures below demonstrating demo v reality.) Some themes do have an option to import the demo version but you will also import lots of scripts, images etc. which it is wise to be clean up if you are not using them – are you experienced enough to do that? That’s why we have produced a website Option 2 with pre-set ready made layouts which you simply drag around, duplicate etc. so you don’t have to struggle trying to be creative; you can still be very creative but don’t get a headache trying to figure out basic styling requirements.
So rather than fall in love with a demo site, think about how you want your site to look and then look at the functions and options of things that can be easily changed. Many theme functions will require much more WordPress (or even coding) knowledge than you realise so keep it as simple as possible. If you already have I.T. help then ask their opinion!
Even at BizDoktor, though we have lots of experience, we always recommend the Enfold WordPress theme which we then re-design for each client. We are very reluctant to work with other themes unless it is something that requires special functions (such as a hotel). Every theme has to be learned, just installing the theme is the easiest part!
#3 Downloading free themes
Are you thinking big enough? If you are intending to secure a business online long-term bear in mind that you will probably want to implement a webshop and other more technical requirements. Impatience is one of the hardest task masters in business. We understand the eagerness to download something free and get started but within a short while you will probably realise it is not sufficient for your business and then you will want to change your theme.
Will you require support? You will not get support with a free download and unless you a techie or have web help, you will need help! If you decide to buy a theme (and they really are pocket money considering what they offer your business)… always look at the support. How often are questions answered?
#4 Compatible with the market
Make sure the theme is:
- Compatible with the latest version of WordPress (just Google ‘the latest version of WordPress’)
- Compatible with any shop module you need to install such as “WooCommerce, Shopify, osCommerce etc.
- Compatible with most browsers (IE8, IE9, IE10, IE11, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, Edge etc.)
- Think about the functions you really need, does the theme have them?
- Is the theme popular, have good support (questions answered quickly)?
- Is this a serious business site or just a hobby in which case get help!
- Make sure the theme is keeping up with market requirements for viewing.
- Is the theme ‘well documented’; come with document instructions.
Avoid the impatient move of thinking “I’ll just download a free theme and get started”, you will read that changing the theme is ‘easy’, but don’t expect the new ‘skin’ to move everything into place as you expect it… you will need to tweek things so if you don’t know what you are doing then our best advice is get some advice. Explain what your plan is and ask for advice on the most effective way to achieve it so you are not only saving yourself time, money and frustration… but also plan for expansion/changes in the future.