Guide to Building a Small Business Site With WordPress, Pt. 3: How to Select the Perfect Theme

If you’ve been following along with our small business series, the next step in the process to getting your web presence established is to acquire a theme, which handles how your site looks and operates. There are basically two options when creating a WordPress site without any theming skills:

1. Hire a designer / developer to design and code a custom WordPress theme that will meet your requirements.

2. Purchase a premium theme that has already been made and install it on your site.

Yes, there are free business WordPress themes available out there, but they’re usually of lesser quality and do not come with support, which you will need if you’re not familiar with WordPress theming. Installing a theme is very easy, but customizing it to suit the particular needs of your business can require a bit more expertise, especially if custom functionality is needed.

If you decide to go the route of purchasing a premium theme, there are a few things you should be aware of while shopping among the hundreds of WordPress themes available.

What to Look For in a WordPress Small Business Theme

Design is very important as this theme will also be a representation of the quality of your business. Beyond that, you will want to look for several important features that will be of help to you in setting up your small business site:

  • CMS Style – If you’re running a business and it’s not based on blogging, there’s no need for your site to have that bloggy feel, just because it’s running on WordPress. Look for themes with less emphasis on posts and archives.
  • Robust Options Panel– WordPress themes can be built to be ultra-flexible and modular so that you can easily control a slew of layout and image options through the dashboard, without having to touch a single line of code.
  • Multiple Page Templates – I cannot stress this feature enough, because it’s the one that will often save you the most time in putting together a business site with WordPress. There are times that you want to highlight different types of content in different ways. Posts and pages don’t always do the trick, especially if you want to showcase your business with a gallery or set of portfolio items. The more items you can have already styled for you, the less time you’ll spend pulling your hair out trying to fit the theme to your needs.
  • Professional Support and Documentation – If you get stuck customizing your theme, you want to know that there is someone whose job it is to help you. This can save you hundreds of dollars in custom development costs. Make sure the theme you’re purchasing has thorough documentation, as well as decent customer support.
  • Localization – The ability to change wording throughout the theme without having to hunt through the PHP files is a big plus.
  • Fast-Loading Pages – You want a theme that loads quickly for your visitors and not something that will be weighed down by a loads of JavaScript and too many large images.

10 Excellent Small Business Themes For WordPress 3.0

With these tips in mind, we’ve selected ten of the types of themes that will best represent the features that will benefit your small business website. Every one of the themes selected has been updated for WordPress 3.0, so you can start your business off with the latest version of WordPress.

Minimal

Download | Demo

BuddyPress Business Theme


If you want to seamlessly incorporate the social networking aspects of BuddyPress into your small business site, this theme is an excellent choice. The BuddyPress themes available from WPMU DEV Premium and BuddyDress are second to none in the BuddyPress theme market.

Download | Demo

WPMU Nelo – Special CMS Frontpage Theme


If you’re new to Multisite functionality and you want a theme that is easy to use for building your network, check out WPMU Nelo. This is a highly customizable theme prepared to help you showcase all of your best content.

Download | Demo

Inspire

Download | Demo

UniSphere Minim

Download | Demo

ProductFolio

Download | Demo

deVision

Download | Demo

Prosto

Download | Demo

inFocus

Download | Demo

Qualifire

Download | Demo

MiniBuzz

Download | Demo

Other Posts in This Series:

Guide to Building a Small Business Site With WordPress Pt. 1: Introduction

Guide to Building a Small Business Site With WordPress Pt. 2: How to Select Hosting