WordPress is powerful web publishing platform, and has become one of the most popular ways for individuals and businesses to have a website. What started as a platform for personal blogs has now become a means of creating many other different types of websites.
Businesses have found that WordPress can be configured in many different ways in order to meet the specific needs of a particular business. Some of the common ways to customize a WordPress website for business purposes include e-commerce and shopping cart functions, the ability for website visitors to sign up for a mailing list, making downloadable content available to potential customers after they provide an e-mail address, or providing detailed driving directions if you have a bricks and mortar store.
Another great way to distinguish your business from your competitors is finding a WordPress theme that best suits your professional image. A WordPress “theme” is a set of files which control the way your website is displayed to your visitors.
Themes can cover not only basic appearance elements like background images, color schemes, and font types and sizes, but also more advance elements like how each page is formatted (a two column or three column set-up, for example), how menus are organized, and where different elements (like advertising or newsletter signup boxes) appear on each page.
Free WordPress Themes
Being able to set up your website in the way you want – by choosing an appropriate WordPress theme – can be a key part of being able to execute upon your business’ Internet strategy. The first place to look for a WordPress Theme for your business is at WordPress’ own free themes directory, which can be found at: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/.
The WordPress themes directory is a great place to start looking because the themes are searchable by primary colors, basic set-up and width formats, and even advanced features. Each theme generally has feedback and ratings from others who have used it before, as well as a discussion forum where users discuss various aspects of using the theme.
Many themes in the WordPress directory also have a link to a site where you can “live preview” the theme, which means you can see what it looks like when it’s actually running a WordPress site. Finally, the WordPress directory includes links to a number of premium theme developers, who offer more advanced themes (and support for those themes) for a fee.
Premium WordPress Themes
Premium themes might seem to be an unnecessary expense, but in some cases those themes can look better than the free themes in the WordPress directory, and help your business put forth a much more professional image. This can lend your business a higher level of credibility with potential customers, which helps your bottom line.
Premium themes are updated more often and come with support. Remember WordPress is continually being updated for improved security and improved functionality. Many premium themes also have an active community of users that provide assistance and tutorials.
Ultimately the decision of whether or not you’re willing to pay for a WordPress theme should only be considered after you’ve identified what type of “look and feel” you want for your website. If you can get the desired appearance with a free business theme and don’t need the support that comes with a paid theme, then take that approach. But if the only option for your goal is a paid theme, then go ahead and make the investment.