One of the most important steps in launching a WordPress website is selecting a theme from the large number of available WordPress themes. WordPress is a web publishing platform powering more than 35% of the entire web. Although it allows you to build and manage websites in a browser without knowing any coding, it can help to know some website coding basics since issues inevitably arise that are solved quickly with some HTML and CSS code. If you’re new to WordPress, you can get up to speed quickly with online tutorials, such as those on WP101.
What is a WordPress Theme
WordPress uses themes to control the look and feel of your website. Themes are easily added and removed from WordPress websites to control the design and styling elements for the website content. They can dramatically change the styling of your website by controlling things like fonts, content layout, and graphics options.
Choosing a WordPress Theme
There are thousands of WordPress themes available to choose from which makes the process fun but it can also be overwhelming. Some themes are developed for specific industries and some are “generalist” themes that don’t cater to a specific industry.
In addition to considering the aesthetic styling, it’s important to consider how a theme will engage your website visitors. These needs will vary based on your type of business. For example, photography professionals will focus on themes that offer the portfolio features they need to showcase their work the way they want. Businesses that revolve around an online store will consider themes that are well-suited for eCommerce with the online marketing and purchasing features they want to have.
Sometimes these needs are met through a combination of a theme and one or more WordPress plugins to add the right mix of features for the desired experience. For example, website features iHomefinder offers for real estate agents and brokers are added to a WordPress website using our Optima Express WordPress plugin along with an iHomefinder account to provide access to your MLS data for IDX property search and other features.
Testing WordPress Themes
It’s very important to test drive a theme before committing to it since there can be conflicts between themes and plugins. These are easily avoided if you are aware of this possibility from the beginning and test early and often. Conflicts between plugins and themes result in unpredictable behavior on a website. When you start putting your website together, you should narrow down the plugins to the essentials you think you need and test the themes you are considering with those plugins to make sure everything is working and displaying properly.
iHomefinder WordPress Theme Guide
To help developers and clients building their own sites with WordPress, we have a number of different themes to recommend which will reduce the amount of testing you’ll need to do. The themes in our WordPress Theme Guide have already been tested with our Optima Express plugin for WordPress and the developers of these themes are committed to maintaining compatibility with our Optima Express plugin.
This does not mean you are limited to using these themes with our Optima Express plugin. There are many more themes that will work just fine, but we strongly recommend testing any other themes extensively to make sure there are no conflicts that will cause unexpected behavior on your website.
Once you start testing and troubleshooting, you’ll find it can be difficult to know whether you are facing a theme conflict or a plugin conflict – or both. For troubleshooting tips, here’s a great article that covers everything you need to know to effectively test and troubleshoot conflicts.