If you’re creating a website for your business and choosing a WordPress Theme, you need to define the purpose of your business website first. Not all business websites have the same goals.
1. What’s the purpose of your business website?
My website serves three functions:
- It serves as a portfolio for my writing.
- It allows me to share helpful information with small business in order to help them reach customers using a website.
- It serves as a journal for my own continuing discovery and education.
Will your website serve the function of a portfolio for your business or do you need it to do more?
If you’re a visual artist, displaying rich images will be a priority in your selection of a website theme. You may choose one that allows you to use a masonry grid layout to display many images on the landing page. Or, on the other hand, you may want to highlight just one of your paintings, or photographs on your landing page, with a sidebar which easily navigates to other pages with your art by theme (could be color or subject).
- For artists, here’s a line-up of 9 great artist websites from theabundantartist.com
- Likewise, a musician may consider his website to be a portfolio of his music with links to another site for purchase and a schedule of his appearances as one of the categories (Wix is an option). Take a look at 16 Must-have Tools for Indie Musicians.
- Restaurant owners can highlight seasonal menu changes and run promotions, here are some examples: Restaurant and Catering Websites, and Top Twenty WordPress Restaurant Themes.
- A soap-maker may highlight craft fairs where people can try out samples of their soaps.
Take some time to consider all that your business website needs to do.
2. Will you be selling products from your website?
If you sell products rather than services (or both), you will need to decide whether or not you want to have a shopping cart ability on your website.
Many people sell using an outside platform such as Shopify, Etsy, Craigslist or Amazon. Even if you do sell off of a separate platform, you should utilize your own website as well, so that customers you make on your own (even if you send them to Amazon to buy) are familiar with you and your brand. That way, they will know how to find you if for some reason you no longer sell on one of the other platforms.
On the other hand, you may do all of your selling out of a storefront, using your website to allow local customers to find your store, learn about your sales and find out other pertinent information, such as your business hours. A website also allows you to have loyal customers register using an email address. That is a valuable way to keep touch with them for feedback and for allowing them to know of your upcoming sales and promotions.
If you are selling products from your website…
Be sure your WordPress theme supports shopping carts and a way for your customers to pay you.
As an example, I love the way Shopkeeper from Envato lets you handle your homepage, better yet, Shopkeeper has the tools you need in order to sell on your website. Following is a snippet I took from their website which describes Shopkeeper’s E-commerce capabilities:
To take a look at more options for Ecommerce website themes to from which to sell your wares?
- Take a look at Top Twenty WordPress Store Themes, by WordPress Gurus.
- To look at a list which contains only free WordPress themes: 37 Best Free ECommerce WordPress Themes 2016
In my personal opinion, it’s worth paying the money for a WordPress theme to enable you to have a shop online. Consider it an investment. Many are under $100.00 and many are less than $60 (including Shopkeeper).
3. Do you want to allow collaboration on your website?
One way that some websites draw a customer base is by allowing people to sign up and contribute ideas or art to their website for recognition. Additionally, if you are a speaker, teacher or coach, you may want to have some portions of your website accessible to certain people but closed off to the public.
You can go the route of purchasing a theme for a Membership WordPress Theme, or you can go the route of using a free WordPress theme that is compatible with some WordPress Plugins, which allows you to control membership on your site.
4. How experienced are you at creating a business website?
Some WordPress themes are complicated to set up, but easy to use once they’re set up.
Design tools like Divi Builder and Visual Composer can help make your posts and pages look just like you want them to without needing to know any code. However, there will be a longer period required for experimenting with them to make sure you know how they work. I love using both of them now, but when I started out, I felt pretty negative about learning to use them. The thing to remember, however, is that many of these tools have training videos on their websites and on Youtube, so you can learn to use them, just allocate the time to do so.
Additionally, if you have someone who is creating the website for you, even if you’re paying them to manage it, I would recommend that you have them show you the basics of what they do.
If, for whatever reason, they no longer manage your website, you may need to manage it in the overlap until you hire someone new to do it.
However, if you have several employees and you really don’t want anything to do with the website, you can handle that by making sure that more than one person knows how to post to your website and update it.
Along these lines, I highly recommend you make sure to pay for the domain name yourself, it’s your business, your name. Even if someone else is creating your website, make sure the domain name is paid for and belongs to you.
Take some time and a piece of paper and write down all that you want your website to do:
- Is it primarily for educating your customers?
- Is it for advertising and branding?
- Are you also using it to sell products (needing an online shopping cart etc.)?
- If you’re not selling anything from your website now, are you are planning to do so in the future)?
- Is any reason for you to allow collaboration on it with your clients, students or customers; do you want a membership based website?
Lastly, consider who is going to be creating your website and make sure either you know how to use it or two people who work for you know how to use it.
Now you’re ready to take a look around at website themes. Google them online, look at them inside of WordPress and look at the reviews paying attention to the priorities in your notes.
And read the reviews.
Watch youtube tutorials about the themes you like (many are available.)
And, as I said, read the reviews.
An example of a great looking E-Commerce WordPress Theme:
The end result is attractive, professional looking website, using Flatsome, another great WordPress theme.
This tutorial is a great example of help that’s available on Youtube. The creator of this video takes you from having nothing, through the process of buying a domain name, signing up with a host, purchasing the theme, uploading the plugins you need, all the way to tweaking it to create this very effective E-commerce website:
This post is part of a Small Business Website Series.
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