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When looking for a suitable WordPress Theme – be cautious of the “Themed / Niche Business” Theme.

There is a growing trend of WordPress Themes being shoe-horned into a “purpose” by the Theme Developer. This is most likely an attempt to attract customers within a particular business or niche, when a Theme Developer creates a generic Theme without any notable functionality. Typically we find a Theme Demo (a Live Theme Showcase) which appears to cater towards a particular business or interest. However, the theme is often a standard multi-purpose theme, without notable functionality built in to actually benefit the audience it’s being marketed towards.

For example, a Theme Developer might call their theme the “Chinese Restaurant Theme” – and the Theme Demo is style beautiful to look like Chinese Restaurant website – when in fact there is absolutely nothing in the Theme that will benefit a Chinese Restaurant (eg. no Food Menu, Reservation System, or Logogram Support). An actual Chinese restaurant may soon discover that they have installed a very basic theme that will require plugins and design/coding skills to get it looking and functioning anything like the website they saw in the Theme Demo.

We have seen this across the board… for example: “Gym” Themes, without functionality that would benefit a Gym. “Hotel” Themes, with no booking system integration. A “Soccer Club” theme, that is just a raw, featureless, standard blank theme.

In the case of the “Soccer Club” theme – the developer designed their Theme Demo to look like a Soccer Club, with team photos and competition ladder, player profiles etc. After installing this Theme, we find that there are no tools for adding Team Photos, Profiles or Rankings etc – The Theme Developer could have just as easily built a “Barber Shop” Demo with the same Theme and marketed it that way instead.

How to avoid this trap…

Usually a good WordPress Theme Developer will create a multi-purpose (well-rounded) Theme. The Developer of this Theme will then typically opt to show a generic business style website – which showcases the in-built functionality of the theme – like nicer Blog Layouts, Portfolios, Animated elements, Transparent Headers, In-Built Testimonial Sliders etc.

Don’t choose a theme based solely on the way the Theme Demo looks. Ensure it has solid and well-rounded functionality that may suit a purpose.  Ensure that any functionality doesn’t just come in the form of “Plugin Compatibility” – For example: Some Themes appear to have an Event Calendar built in, when in fact (in the fine print) it is only compatible with “Some Popular Event Calendar” plugin. Plugin compatibility is good – but be wary of developers who are not upfront about third-party only features.

There are definitely great Themes out there which have been built with a particular business type in mind (Hairdressers, Nightclubs etc.) – although these typically go out of their way to ensure the Theme Demo highlights exactly what in-built functionality it has to benefit your business website and website administration.

If you have found a theme that looks like it will suit your purpose and style – then it is always a good idea to send a pre-sales email to the Theme Developer asking: “In what ways does this Theme actually make the management and design of this particular of business easier/better?”.

My advice…

Don’t choose a “Themed” Theme. Instead, find a popular and powerful multi-use theme. Then find suitable plugins to assist with the development and management of your websites purpose.

Think about what functionality you want on your website (eg. a powerful Gallery, Hero Page, Quote Calculator) and then seek out a Theme that focuses on this functionality.

Remember that a Theme will not look like the Theme Demo after installation – as the Theme Developer likely spent days/weeks engineering the Theme Demo to look a certain way. So – always choose your Theme based on the following criteria:

  • Reputable Developer with good Community Feedback
  • Good Theme Developer Support – Forum, Support Tickets, Knowledge Base etc.
  • Regularly Updated
  • Modern functionality and Design Elements (Parallax, Animation, Responsive)
  • A Visual Composer

My Recommendations…

The7 Theme – Developed by Dream-Theme. This Development Team deserves all the praise I can muster. Their Theme is great for most business and website types – and can be adapted to almost any purpose. Any missing functionality can just be added with a WordPress plugin.

Jupiter Theme – Developed by artbees. This Theme is amazing – it comes with many great custom post types and a huge arsenal of Shortcodes which are easily implemented using a great custom Visual Composer build.

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