There’s a reason why we recommend WordPress for businesses that want a website. It’s a user-friendly Content Management System (CMS) that lets you have good-looking websites.
However, having beautiful websites can only be possible if you can choose (or even create) a theme that looks tailored for it. As you can probably tell, this is easier said than done.
While we’ve discussed the importance of WordPress and its themes (here and here, if you haven’t read it before), it’s another thing to get a business theme for you website. For one, any theme you will be using for your website should look like it complements your brand.
Here are a few questions to consider before getting a theme: Does its design look like it “fits” with your kind of business? Do you have enough products in your inventory to fill out the content in your website?
These might sound like minor quibbles. However, they’re just as essential as choosing a name or hosting options for your website.
With that said, getting the right business theme is one of the more overlooked facets of website design. It’s like simply slapping a coat of paint just because it looks good.
Unfortunately, first impressions matter, especially in business. And of course, that extends to your online presence–most especially if it’s a website.
This is why it’s important you choose the right WordPress theme for your business website. That’s not only so you could get it right the first time, but also so it can save you time and resources you would otherwise be wasting from redesigning your website.
Before we move on further, though, here are the three articles that we recommend reading first. Think of it as a refresher for when you’re already ready to look for your WordPress business theme:
So, are you ready to visualize what you want your business website to look like? Good, since that’s the first thing we’re tackling here!
What Do I Want to NOT Show on My Business Website?
The most obvious answer to the above question would be “everything.” Unfortunately, that’s also the wrong answer for this question.
Why so? Well, because this is how your website might look like once you throw “everything” in it:
Source: Ling’s Cars
Unless you’re really that confident (or… well, ironic), rocking an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink look for your website might be a bad idea, if only for the fact that newcomers might find it hard to take your website seriously, or even make sense of what you want to tell them.
On the other hand, it’s not hard to see odes to minimalism being expressed in web design. However, being “minimalist” shouldn’t be equated with being “simplistic”. Here’s one example below:
Source: Suzanne Collins’s author website
Yeah, it looks like a standard webpage and… that’s just it. But really, if this website wasn’t by Suzanne Collins, popular young-adult writer of the Hunger Games series, do you think people would even give it a second look?
A business website isn’t just a platform for your business; it also helps in building and strenghtening your brand online. So, choosing a theme for your webpage isn’t just so you can make it functional; there’s an art to choosing the right one, too.
So, what kind of theme should you be using for your business website? Well, the answer, as it turns out, relies on what kind of message you would want to communicate to your users.
What Do I Want to Show on My Business Website?
There’s a reason why companies have a mission-slash-vision statement: it reminds them of the goals that they should be aiming for, or the responsibilities they should be doing. In essence, said statement boils down the company to its “core” messages: What is your business all about? What is the first thing you would like first-time customers to know about your business?
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, in the grand scheme of the web, no website in the world uses a similar theme. It’s precisely because of how websites are still projects created by people. It essentially reflects what its creators envision their websites to be. Just like how a website specializing in news and media publish stories that differ from their competition, the same can also be said for, say, restaurants or photography studios or hardware shops.
Here’s a specific example from the home page of Maven Solutions:
As a company offering web-based services to small businesses, our website is designed to highlight our “strengths” in as clutter-free a way as possible. The theme, for one, is deliberately made to look simple enough at first glance. In most cases, that’s often enough for showing potential customers what you can offer to them.
Of course, having a simple-looking theme for your website won’t do if you’re running a website that relies on, say, beautiful imagery to sell its products. In addition, you have to ensure that any theme you choose will be able to highlight what you actually want to get featured on the website. We’ll get to both of those within this piece.
For the moment, however, let’s introduce you to the one-stop shop where you can get your business themes: the official WordPress themes page.
Searching for a WordPress Business Theme
Thankfully, simply going to the official WordPress themes page affords you the following options:
If you noticed above, many of the top themes featured on the screenshot are all related to businesses. So, at least on your first visit, WordPress already has an idea on which kinds of themes you would likely look for first.
You can also search for themes according to one of the filters you can access on the subheader above (Feature, Layout, Column, Subject, Style), in case you’re looking for something more specific for your website.
Just on a whim though, let’s try clicking on the “Modern Business” category just so we’d know what it looks like, shall we?
As you can see above, the theme description states that it’s a “minimalist theme” suitable for businesses in the “fashion and beauty industries”. It also previews what the theme looks like when accessed on various devices, as well as a link to a live demo of the theme. So, if you happen to be running a small boutique, then this might be the theme for your website.
And the real kicker? The above theme is free, just like with many of the offerings on the WordPress Themes page. So, at least in terms of theme choices, you can really get spoiled with the choices here.
But now that we know where you can start searching for your business theme, don’t you think it’s also important for you to figure out what kind of layout you would want for your website?
Choosing a layout is important, particularly since it can either make or break the message you’ll be communicating through your website. We’ll go in short detail on the different kinds of layouts available to websites today, and how it might affect your website’s performance more than you realize.
The Skinny on WordPress Layouts
Spend a few minutes browsing through the WordPress themes page, and you might have wandered through this set of choices in the search bar:
We can only imagine how you’re feeling right now: “What, another new set of jargons?!” you might say. However, trust us when we say that these four choices are important to the kind of themes you’ll be choosing for your business website. In case the above screenshot is too blurry for you, the definitions for each kind of layout are quoted below:
1. Fixed layout – themes that keep the exact, same layout on every screen size
2. Fluid layout – themes that get narrower or wider depending on screen size, but keep the same basic layout
3. Grid layout – themes that lay out posts in a grid for a clean, organized appearance
4. Responsive layout – themes that automatically adjust their layouts to make reading and navigation easy as screens get smaller
For purposes of convenience, we’re advising you eliminate “fixed” and “fluid” layout as either of the choices you’ll be considering as layout. For one, they’re one of the earliest layout types created for the web, so they’re essentially tailored for desktop use (that is, screens that use the 16:9 ratio). Secondly, it doesn’t take into account the new reality of people mostly accessing websites via smartphones today.
As for the other two, consider what you’ll be showcasing in your website before you consider implementing them.
For a grid-type layout, this is what it might look like when implemented on your website:
Source: Washing Center Theme Page
While this is a basic example of a grid-themed layout, its primary aim is to showcase product images. So, only go for grid themes if you have: a) many products to sell; and b) if you have gorgeous images to show off. The purpose of a grid layout, after all, is to organize images in an easy-to-browse layout.
For a responsive layout, we’ll go back to the example of the Maven homepage we showed earlier above. While the screenshot we took is that of the page’s desktop view, here’s how it looks like on mobile:
The page, for all intents and purposes, still looks the same as it does on desktop: same color schemes, same typography, same menu style.
Of course, the exception here is that it’s tailored to fit in mobile view. The tricky thing about this, though, is that adopting a responsive layout means your website should be designed for both desktop and mobile. Not only that, but you’ll be essentially forced to test your website just to make sure that there’s no design break for both screens. However, that’s par for the course for many websites these days.
And the best thing you can do for your layout? Try mixing-and-matching the different layout styles and see what you can come up with. WordPress has always been ideal for experimentation, after all!
Final Tips: The Final Two Questions to Ask for Your Business Website
A business website, just like any other platform you’re using for your business, should accomplish this one thing: to communicate what you do and what you want to do for the audience.
(For more information, here’s our updated checklist for all kinds of websites.)
With that said, here are some final questions that you need to answer to make sure that your website’s message gets through its intended audience:
1. Who are you, and why should we care about your business?
Remember your “mission-slash-vision statement”? Here’s the point where it would finally be helpful to remember it. Let people know why you want to reach them; it may be because you offer a lower price point to your competitors, or it may be as simple as letting them know that you pay your workers fairly. It also helps that your website can also introduce the faces behind the business like its founder/s, staff, etc.
2. Where and how can we buy your products or services?
Regardless of whether your business is online or operating as a brick-and-mortar shop, it’s important to list out the different ways they can avail of your products or services. This is where a good call-to-action message can work because it directly offers a suggestion to the user just who’s looking for more information. And of course, listing down all your contact information is a must, too!
So, are you ready to launch your final website? We hope our tips have been helpful to you.