Many people mistakenly think of WordPress as a blogging platform when in reality it is a powerful Content Management System that can be used for virtually any type of website, from basic blogs to complex online stores. Recently more and more people are using WordPress for their small business. In fact my last blog post was titled “Power Your Small Business With WordPress” in which I provided some reasons for why Small Businesses should be using WordPress for their corporate site and some quick steps for them to get started.
So now that everyone is using WordPress for their small business sites there is a HUGE demand for Business WordPress Themes, both premium and free. As a web developer I have worked on quite a few Business websites and I know what it takes to create an awesome Business site in terms of design, usability and turnover rates. Creating a Business WordPress Theme is simple but creating a Great Business Template can be a difficult task and take a lot of effort to produce.
In this post I wanted to provide you with 10 characteristics of a Great Business WordPress Theme. So whether you are looking for a theme for your Business or looking for some inspiration to create one, you’ll want to read my post. Enjoy!
1. Professional Design
Like any website theme or template, the design is the most important aspect and if you are looking for a WordPress theme to power your small business you want something that is very clean, modern and professional. A great design can make a HUGE different on turnover rates and brand image. If your business website looks like crap people aren’t going to take you seriously and much less buy something from you.
Bad Example – Horrible Business Theme
Here is a quick example of what a Business Theme should NOT look like.
Good Example – Great WordPress Theme
Now here is an example of a professionally designed theme (Total WordPress Theme).
2. Featured Slider
These days every great business theme comes with some sort of featured slider such as a carousel or “nivo-type” slider. Why? Because it provides a great way to show off some of your best products, services or portfolio samples. Sliders tend to look great, they captivate your visitors/customers attention and it is a great way to focus your viewers attention to specific items.
3 Awesome Sliders To Use On Your Next Theme Design
Sliders are a great way to add extra content and an element of movement to your posts and pages. Below are a few of our favorite premium slider plugins for WordPress.
3. Testimonials Section
If you are running an awesome business and your clients love you, why not share the love? People always want to read reviews or testimonials before they buy something because it helps concrete the idea that the product/service is really worth it.
Which is why, in my opinion, a great business WordPress theme must provide some sort of a testimonials widget or area where the user can add some quotes from their customers or snippets from a review (and yes – Total does offer this built right in). Also it is very helpful if the user can control the content of the testimonials section via the theme control panel. And don’t forget to add the testimonials on the homepage and make sure it stands out since it will be key in turning visitors into paying customers.
4. Contact Form with Validation
Sure there are many WordPress plugins for creating contact forms but if you want to create a great theme you need to add your own contact form (hopefully AJAX) and style it too look great. Contact forms are crucial for businesses because people may have questions regarding your products or services and if they can’t figure out how to contact you, then you have just lost them.
I think a great Business theme should provide the ability to add a contact form both via shortcodes and also have a visible contact form on all pages (in the footer area) or at least on the homepage. Validation is important! If you are running a small business you don’t have time to spend hours everyday going through spam mail.
A great business theme would also provide a contact section including the business phone number, address, maybe a Google map and links to their social profiles (twitter, facebook, linked-in, ect).
5. Theme Customizer or Options Panel
No one wants a website that looks and works identical to hundreds of other sites, especially if it is your business site, since you want to stand out from your competitors. The easiest way to customize the way your theme works is with the live WordPress customizer. This is where many developers now add features such as color options, page layouts, logos, image cropping and more.
Other themes may offer a control panel with various design options to allow you to easily change you site, upload a logo and move things around. While not as easy as the customizer this is still an option to make your site stand out from the crowd and look more unique.
6. Multiple Color Schemes
This goes back to the previous point…people will want their business site to stand out, so providing different color schemes will help them style their theme in a way that may be different then every other site using the same theme. Plus, by providing different color schemes users can choose the one that best fits their overall business and logo. These days many people are incorporating color-pickers into their themes so users can change the color of almost every element on their site. This is a really great feature, especially for a small business that wants to create their website but don’t have any CSS knowledge or can not afford an expensive web developer/designer.
Most people that buy WordPress themes have no CSS or HTML knowledge which is why it is important to make the themes as user friendly and as WYSIWYG as possible. Business websites demand a bit more, because the users are going to want to add buttons everywhere (like a buy now or call us button), they will probably want to incorporate testimonials into their pages/posts, create galleries, tabbed content…etc, etc. Even if you are only including a few shortcodes I think they are really important for any great theme.
8. Services/Portfolio Template(s)
Any great business WordPress theme must have multiple custom page templates, including a “portfolio” template where the user can easily add products, services or sample work to show off to their visitors. A portfolio template either using custom posts or a query posts loop makes it really easy for a business to create a section of their site that is focused on showing people the kind of work they can do. If you are selling products, having a place where visitors can browse through them in a nice grid like fashion would be fantastic. I would also recommend having some sort of “sort by” feature for those that want to organize their sample work or products into categories.
9. Blog Section
These days it is crucial to run a blog for your business. It can help you greatly in terms of attracting new customers, increasing your traffic via search engines, show off your expertise in the given field and of course improve your brand image and loyalty. For all these reasons and more, a great business WordPress theme must come with a blog section, which can be done by creating a page template and using the query post method to get any blog posts or can be done using the new custom posts feature. Either way, you must incorporate a blog section into your template.
10. Theme Support
Last but not least on my list of “10 Characteristics Of A Great Business WordPress Theme” is SUPPORT. Your theme may look awesome and have all kinds of awesome features but if you do not provide even the basic support then it is virtually worthless. A lot of people buying/downloading the themes maybe WordPress first-timers and may need help installing and getting the theme to work how they want. If you are running a business you are going to be very picky about the way your website looks and works – as a theme developer you will want to be there when your customers run into a problem or if they discover a “glitch’ in your theme.
I put this as a bonus because I don’t think it is necessary, but adding support for some of the top wp-eCommerce plugins (like WooCommerce) would make your business theme stand out from the rest. There aren’t many business-focuses themes that incorporate a checkout system with their theme so if you can make one it would probably sell very well.