WordPress Themes – What To Avoid

When you create a new website, naturally you want it to look good. Unfortunately it can be easy to get so excited about how great your website looks, that you prioritise looking good over everything else.

In our first lecture, Prisca talked about the priorities for a successful website

  1. Good content
  2. Clear content structure
  3. Site performance (e.g. loading speed)
  4. Design for type, colour, layout & interaction

Think about the priorities above and remember the importance of asking the right questions

  • What matters most to your users?
  • Which content structure will fit your target group?
  • What are they likely to expect to find on your website?
  • How can you ensure a positive user experience?

Tips

  • Only get themes from reputable sources. Themes and plugins could potentially contain unmaintained or dangerous code, so please be careful when choosing. Themes from the WordPress theme directory have usually had some basic checks to ensure that they don’t contain harmful code, which is much safer than downloading a theme that is no longer maintained, by an unknown developer.
  • Avoid themes which include lots of features including pop ups, sections that slide in and out and lots of additional styling. The code that generates all that activity will make your website take longer to load, which will affect the performance of your website.
  • Don’t spend lots of money on premium themes. Themes can be expensive and many charge for additional features that you don’t need for this assignment.
  • Choose a theme to suit your content, don’t pick the theme and then try to create content that works. This is why it’s a good idea to add some content to your website before finalising which theme to use. The content and structure is more important than the theme you choose.
  • Try to avoid themes that require adding lots of additional plugins. Plugins should only be used when necessary, if a theme needs you to install several plugins then it is probably not a good idea for this project.
  • Don’t forget that lots of themes can be changed by using the options in the Customise menu (accessed by logging into your website, selecting Appearance from the black menu on the left hand side and choosing Customise.

One of the best things about WordPress is that you can make your website look completely different just by changing the theme. There are thousands of different WordPress themes to choose from, but please try not to get carried away with looking good or extra features that you don’t really need. This unit is about creating a successful website, not creating a good looking website.

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