What is a WordPress theme and how to use it on your company’s website?
Every time we access a website on the internet, besides the content, what initially draws our attention is the way it lays its elements on the screen as well as their colors, shapes, and fonts.
Regardless of the chosen content manager, these visual and functional attributes come from the WordPress theme. Here we will focus on those that are created for the WordPress platform.
As the choice of a theme is a very important step in your website’s creation process, we created this post in which we will address the following points:
- What is a WordPress theme?
- What is a WordPress theme for?
- What types of themes exist?
- How to apply a theme on your company’s website?
- How to choose the best theme for your company?
Shall we go ahead? Keep on reading!
What is a WordPress theme?
A WordPress theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets that gives a website its visual aspect and features that optimize its performance.
When you create a website on WordPress, one of the first steps you should take is to choose a theme for it. It is necessary to take into account that it will be responsible for the first impression that your visitors will have on your website.
For this reason, it is important to consider its attractiveness.
As we have said several times before, producing good content is the main action that you must focus on so that your site can generate good results. However, even the tastiest cake will not please if it does not look appetizing.
For this reason, the theme needs to be connected to your visual identity. After all, your company’s logo, font, and colors are not picked by chance, but because they are consistent with your brand. Therefore, the same applies to your website.
If your business is visually recognized for using warm colors — such as red, yellow, orange — and lively language, it would not make sense to have cooler colors — like white, blue, gray — and a more sober language. Someone who accessed it might even think it is another company’s site.
So, when assigning the creation of your website to a developer or even doing it yourself with solutions such as Stage —with which you can create a professional website in just 2 minutes —, you need to take this into account. Consider McDonald’s Brazil’s website as an example.
As we can see, the website’s look follows the same format that we see in franchise stores and in advertising pieces published in traditional media. This makes website visitors quickly identify that it is the brand.
Following this same premise, when choosing a ready-made theme for your WordPress site, make sure that it is as close as possible to your company’s identity. If necessary, ask your co-workers and friends if they immediately think about your business when they look at the theme.
What are WordPress themes like?
In the past, to create a website’s visual, it was necessary to rely on the services of a programmer who built it from scratch using HTML or some other type of language. This made the creation process slow and time-consuming, in addition to depriving entrepreneurs who wanted to work on it hands-on.
For this reason, WordPress themes were created so that anyone could give a professional look to websites in a few clicks. WordPress is the CMS that stood out the most in this regard for providing a series of themes aimed at the most diverse subjects.
It is worth remembering that, although platforms such as Wix offer a drag-and-drop option so that users can compose the appearance of their sites in an intuitive and simple way, a WordPress theme is not limited to the visual aspect, but also influences the features that your website has. We will talk about that below.
What is a website theme for?
As stated above, there are two features attributed to websites through themes: visual and functional. Let’s look at each one.
Once you choose the theme that has your website’s visual identity, you have the possibility to not only install it, but also customize it according to what is necessary.
It is common for themes to offer a demo version, that is, a demonstration of how the site can look like if you install it. When navigating Theme Forest, which has a large variety of themes, you can see that most of them have demos that allow you to check how your site might look.
However, you don’t want to have a website that looks exactly like many others, do you? Therefore, you must make use of customization in order to make it unique. Take, for example, the standard demo of the Voice theme.
And now let’s take a look below at a blog that uses this theme in a personalized way.
Of course, some themes have limitations in their customization, especially if they are free. For this reason, we recommend investing in premium themes — which we will talk about later — and in the functions that we will point out now.
Another feature of a WordPress theme is the functions they bring to the site. Therefore, it is common for themes to include plugins, widgets, and other attributes in their composition that make the site perform specific tasks.
Let’s see some examples of themes that have specific functions below.
Avada is a multi-purpose WordPress theme, which means it can be applied to different websites. This is because Avada offers not only a single demo, but several ones based on specific subjects such as advertising agencies, restaurants, coffee shops, photography, gyms, etc.
To bring the appropriate features to such a wide range of possibilities, it allows you to integrate plugins like WooCommerce, the biggest name in creating e-commerces for WordPress.
This is a theme developed by Colorlib, whose focus is the creation of unique pages. This is why some companies that aim to publish one-page sites or landing pages end up choosing this theme.
To measure their results, Shapely has in its composition plugins such as Gravity Forms to turn visitors into leads and Yoast SEO to adapt the content to be ranked in Google’s search results.
Bennington is a WordPress theme developed by Rock Content. This theme was created with a focus on the concerns of those who created a corporate website and wish to have commercial results with its performance.
In addition to being customizable, it is a lightweight theme, reducing your website’s load time to provide a better experience for visitors and increasing the chances of ranking — since speed is one factor considered by Google’s search algorithm.
Another factor that optimizes conversions by generating leads and MQLs from them is the integration with digital marketing tools such as MailChimp, RD Station, and HubSpot.
As it is an exclusive theme for Stage customers, we classify it as a premium theme. Below, we will show you the differences between those and the ones that are offered for free.
What types of themes exist?
There are two types of WordPress themes: free and premium — that is, those you need to pay to use. The choice of which one to use will depend on the objective and the conditions of each one, so we brought the differences between each one below.
When creating a website manually in WordPress, choosing the theme is one of the first choices you have to make so that it does not become the standard white screen that simply says “Welcome to WordPress”.
Most of the themes shown in this step are free and aimed at creating blogs, as they have a home page that displays the latest published articles. Even though you are able to use them to create pages just like on a website, the focus of these themes — like the Twenty theme shown in the image above — is usually blogs.
For this reason, free themes are recommended for small business blogs or those that have the goal of creating a personal or non-commercial blog while having WordPress as CMS.
On the other hand, premium themes have more features, in addition to applying for both blogs and websites. Thus, if the company’s goal is to create a corporate blog, a corporate website, or an online shop, you will certainly be able to find a model that meets the need and the visual standards of your business.
As pointed out earlier, most paid themes are available on sites like Theme Forest, although you can also find the official sites for themes when searching Google.
The prices of the themes vary according to their features, functionality, and support. However, the average value is usually around US$ 69, which includes not only the theme installation files, but also support.
Incidentally, support is one of the biggest differentials of premium themes, as they have a team dedicated to answering questions and helping customers to adapt the themes to the company’s goals, in addition to being available to offer assistance in case of any problems or errors during use.
Here is an important caveat: some premium themes have pirate versions on the web and we do not recommend that you acquire them that way. In addition to it being illegal, there is no support and, the worst of all, unreliable sources may have malware added to the themes to cause damage to your site.
How to apply a theme on your company’s website?
There are two ways to apply the theme you want for your website when choosing it: through WordPress or from a compressed zip file.
How to apply the theme using WordPress
Applying the theme through WordPress itself is very simple, as it can be done from the CMS dashboard.
First, click on “Appearance” on the left panel. Then, click on “Themes”.
WordPress offers some free themes on the start page. Simply place the cursor at the top and click “Activate” to install it.
After doing so, a field related to the theme may appear on the dashboard. In case that does not happen, you can go again to “Appearance” / “Theme” and click on the “Personalize” option to have access to the customization tools.
As you can see in the example above, these settings appear on the left side so you can make customizations on the website’s home page, menu, widgets, and other settings.
Although the theme in question does not show it, others also allow the customization of other fields such as header and footer.
How to apply the theme using a zip file
Another way to install the WordPress theme on the website is from the file, which usually comes in a compressed zip file. When you buy a premium theme, the company that offers it usually sends you a download link that takes you to that file.
However, you do not need to unzip it like other zipped files. To install it on your WordPress site, under “Appearance” / “Themes”, click “Add new”, then “Submit theme”. Then, you must upload the file and click on the “Install now” button.
How to choose the best theme for your company?
Now that you know what WordPress themes are and what their features are, you must be wondering how to choose the most appropriate one for your business. Basically, you must consider the look, features and performance.
The look must be consistent with your company’s language as we said at the beginning of the article. The same goes for the features it brings, that must meet the needs of the business.
However, performance cannot be left out, although some people forget about it. Themes that offer many plugins can slow down your website, which hinders the browsing experience and the search engine ranking.
For this reason, Stage has developed result-oriented themes that do not hinder the speed, so that your site will please both those who access it and Google’s algorithm.
Such characteristics of a good theme are valid for websites and blogs, although they have a different purpose within a Digital Marketing strategy.
In fact, now that you reached this part and learned all about website themes, how about knowing how to create a successful blog for your business? Click here and check out the free ebook we created on the subject!