Basic Guide on how to choose a WordPress theme


Creating a website seems like an impossible task.

This is really difficult for those who do not feel confident in technical part. But we suggest dividing the task into understandable steps and choose a theme for the site on WordPress.

Choosing a theme (or template) is one of the key steps in setting up a site on WordPress. That topic will determine not only how your site will look on the web, but also what functionality it will have.

How to select a wordpress theme?

Any WordPress theme have certain files that determine the look of your site. They are used to design and display information on the user’s screen. Most often, the administrator or site owner has to deal with this files:

  • header.php – forms the top of the page in which the logo, main menu, contact block are located.
  • footer.php – footer or bottom of the page. You can also also link to the policy,  and other project details are placed in it.
  • style.css – responsible for the design. Its defineing colors, fonts, background images, icons, and other parameters for all elements of the site.

WordPress themes to create a site

There are two ways to create a site. The first is to order design from the designer (site layout), and then involve a programmer to create the theme for this design. In this case, the developer will essentially create a set of files which it is written above.

The second option is to choose one of the ready-made WordPress themes. They can be paid and free. This is a good opportunity to create a website quickly, independently, and even with a minimal budget.

What you need to know before choosing a theme for a site on WordPress

  1. Create a content structure for your site. To spell out the list of pages, headings, and the menu items.
  2. Draw an approximate prototype of the main page of the site and other important pages. For example, the page “Services“, “Portfolio“, “Blog“.
  3. Go to your favorite blogs and popular sites. From the list of design elements that you like, make a list of your “Wishlist“.
  4. If you create a site without a designer and do not yet know how to identity your project, you need to choose a color scheme that you like and suits your theme.

How to make sure that your WordPress theme is secure?

Choose a template on wordpress.org, the developer’s website, or in a template store like Themeforest and Codecanyon.

Before entering the WordPress catalog, all topics are tested for compliance with security standards, cross-browser compatibility, GPL license compliance, and so on.

Template responsiveness for WordPress

Make sure that the theme has a mobile version for the main devices – smartphones and tablets. Or the so-called “responsive layout” is used, when the blocks of the site change the width for different sizes of the browser window.

Website theme functionality

What to look for when choosing a theme?Layouts – with and without a sidebar?, full width and without a header?,  for different tasks? for the reviews page and portfolio?At how many menu blocks, their appearance, blocks (widgets) in the side column?, a set of typography elements (quotes in the text, lists, headings of different levels)?, whether there is a slider and whether similar blog entries are displayed? These parameters in may differ or be completely different. Go with one that best suits your requirements, and most importantly have quality and clean code, bloat free.

Flexible theme settings for the site

It is convenient when it is possible to change the color, font, and other design elements on the site. When you can turn on and off individual page elements directly from the admin panel of the site, without editing the template code, check if your theme allows this.

Illustrations and pictures for the site

Remember that no matter how good the theme in the demo is, it can differ from real one.

Think about how harmoniously the style and colors of your photos fit into the “frame” – the main blocks of the template. Do you have enough images of the required format so that the site plays like in the demo version?

Try to choose bright themes in a minimalist style with sans-serif and other fonts, with primary colors in the design. Such a template will be universally combined with any content. The main thing is the choice of fonts and the convenience of reading text from a screen of any size. Definitely “no” to the dark background and white font on it. For most projects, this choice will be unsuccessful.

Fonts

Fonts are often the basis of the theme.

Test the font in the demo template. Consider whether you are ready to spend the effort to find and install a font that is suitable for the style to replace it before buying the theme.

Rate the features of the template. To start the demo and see how the template works, find the “Live preview” or “Demo” button in its description.

  • See what page templates are provided on the site – with a left / right sidebar, full width without a sidebar, a landing template without a top header. These options are usually found in the demo section “Pages” / “Page Templates.”
  • See what the developer provides for the main page (Home) and blog page (Blog).
  • What elements of text design (headings, quotes, tabs, buttons) are provided in the template? In the demo, these sections can be called “Features,” “Typography,” and “Shortcodes.
  • Is there a mobile version of the site?, and what does it look like. To do this, see the demo theme from your phone.

Do not refuse paid themes just because you need to spend money on them.

Very often, investing in a successful template that is as close to your ideal as possible is much lower than the cost of “finishing it yourself” with the help of a studio or freelance developers. You can immediately get a non-standard and harmonious design for your tasks, just thoughtfully reviewing paid templates.

Such paid themes are usually regularly updated and maintained by developers. This means that the next time you update WordPress, you will not encounter any global problem or will know where to turn for help.

 Themes from WordPress.org

There are a lot of good template in the WordPress catalog. Often there are (Lite) versions, which you can download and test, and on the developer’s page, you can buy a paid version with advanced features. Paid versions from free ones often differ in the number of blocks on the main page, a set of ready-made page layouts, or other type of features. As well as the flexibility of settings and the ability to change colors, fonts and edit the contents.

If the theme is in the WordPress catalog, then you do not need to download it to install it on the site. It is enough to open the admin panel Appearance >> Themes>> Add a new one and enter the name copied from the wordpress.org in the “Search” field. After that install and activate the template to get started.

How to choose a theme for the site and not regret it later?

Be sure to read the description of the paid template (Theme Features). It’s convenient to quickly set up a template with it a technical support from the developer (usually given for a year). In addition, use filters and tags – they will help you quickly select templates for the desired niche.

What else you need to remember when working with ready-made themes for WordPress?

Templates (themes) can be tried on the site as many times as you like, while the posted texts and pictures will not disappear. If the site is already full of content, troubles sometimes occur when changing the template. Pictures “stick” to the text, the text becomes too small/large.This is because each topic has its own fonts, features, and other parameters, so it’s better to decide on the teamplate at the start so that you don’t have to edit later. Almost always, when changing the template, you have to reconfigure widgets and reinstall plugins such as google analytics, comment, script of the social networks and widgets of your FB communities.
Immediately after installation and activation, the theme will not look like in the demo. It will have to be configured by filling out the appropriate fields in the site admin panel (Appearance >> Themes – >> Customize).
The look of the site is largely determined by your content, not the template. Your images, chosen with taste, and correctly writed texts, in which there are paragraphs, headings, subheadings, highlighted blocks.
It is recommended to fill the site before trying on any template: create a menu, main pages, 2-3 blog entries, set thumbnail pictures to the posts.

To wrap UP

Compare the features of the theme in the demo with the list of your Wishlist, prototype, and color preferences.

If there are a lot of elements that you would like to add or replace, it is better to look for another template. Because you will have to attract developers to the design and template improvements.

A template is worth taking if you just need to repaint the colors in it, add your subscription and feedback forms, or additional elements such as a slider or gallery. This is solved using plugins and does not require significant code changes.

Another option that is not considered in this article is the WordPress theme or a ready-made website from the templates of the plug-in developer. This will probably be discussed in another article.

The comprehensive guide to translation for WooCommerce


A localization-ready eCommerce platform

WooCommerce is a localization-ready platform. This is good news: to attract international online buyers, you need to translate your website, but also take care of other aspects of localization.

These include payment methods, currency and size conversions, international shipping, considering seasonality, and so on.

Let’s take the currency conversion as an example. It comes as no surprise: different countries, different currencies. As a rule, buyers feel more comfortable if they see prices in their own currency and don’t need to use a converter.

WooCommerce allows you to define only one base currency to be accepted as payment. You define it during setup.

To make additional changes, you can go to Settings. You can, for example, adjust display options from Settings > Pricing Options and move the currency symbol’s position or move decimal separators.

If you sell or want to sell to multiple countries, you’ll still accept one base currency. However, thanks to the Currency Converter Widget you can display prices in your buyers’ native currencies.

Translation for WooCommerce

The default language of WooCommerce is English. If you wish to switch to a different language, a translated version of the plugin can be downloaded from WordPress.org.

You can also consider additional plugins that might be helpful for specific languages or regions. For instance, for Japanese, there are additional address fields to the checkout and a field to write out the recipient’s name in simple characters, which is typical of most Japanese stores.

To set up WordPress in your language, go to Dashboard > Settings > General and change the Site language. Then the shop should display.

However, if the language file of your interest doesn’t exist, you’ll need to create it.

Anyone can also … contribute!

… to make the translation 100% complete so that all users can benefit. If the translation in a given language is nonexistent or incomplete, you can contribute translated strings or start a new translation by registering at WordPress and translating.

To create custom translations, there are a few ways, e.g. by using plugins:

  1. Loco Translate: one of the easiest methods
  2. PoEdit: for more advanced users
  3. WPML
  4. Polylang

Downloading translations manually for Woocommerce

To download translations from translate.wordpress.org manually:

  1. Go to https://translate.wordpress.org/projects/wp-plugins/woocommerce.
  2. Search for your language on the list.
  3. Click the title to land in the section for that language. 
  4. Click the heading under Set/Sub Project and view and download a Stable version. 
  5. Scroll down to the bottom and export a .mo file for use on your site. 
  6. Rename this file to Woocommerce-YOURLANGUAGE.mo, for example in the case of British English it should be en_GB.
  7. Upload to your site under wp-content/languages/woocommerce/.
  8. The translation file is ready to use.

Creating custom translations

WooCommerce has a language file (.pot file) with all of the English text. It’s located in the plugin folder in woocommerce/i18n/languages/.

You can create your custom translations with Loco Translate or PoEdit. You can also use plugins called WPML and Polylang.

Custom translations with Loco Translate

You can download the free plugin Loco Translate or add directly from the WordPress admin via Plugins > Add New.

After you install and activate Loco Translate, go to the menu and the Plugins section. Then select WooCommerce and add new languages using the Add New Language.

Select the language to add in the list and choose the folder to add the translation files to. Then click Start Translating.

Custom translations with PoEdit

A more advanced alternative to Loco Translate is PoEdit. WooCommerce has a POT file that can be imported into PoEdit to translate.

To get started, open PoEdit and go to File > New catalog from POT file. Then select Woocommerce.pot and PoEdit will show the catalog properties window. Enter your name and details.

Then save your .po file. Naming it, consider what you are translating to, for example, a GB translation is saved as Woocommerce-en_GB.po.

Save after translating strings. The .mo file is generated automatically.

Translation without a localization file

If you want to translate or change a few words without editing a WordPress theme.POT file.

You will need:

  1. Original string: text you’re translating;
  2. Text domain: woocommerce
  3. The text you’d like to display.

Custom translations with WPML

WPML Plugin is the best option to make WooCommerce multilingual.
Once you install WPML, you can translate practically anything: pages, posts, menus, taxonomies, custom fields, plugins, URLs, and so on.

WPML supports a wide range of languages and is frequently updated by their authors.

The pros of using the WPML plugin:

  • When purchased, the license is for unlimited sites.
  • It supports all the major WordPress themes, e.g. Genesis, Elegant Themes, Elementor
  • WPML enables you to make your site more SEO-friendly. You can do SEO of all the languages separately. It also supports popular SEO plugins, e.g. WordPress SEO by Yoast.
  • You can create a multilingual and multi-currency WooCommerce store. Different currencies or payment processors per language are accepted.
  • The availability of extensive documentation to give you a better understanding of all the requirements and processes.

The main con of using WPML plugin has to do with the cost. The WooCommerce multilingual plugin by WPML is listed in wordpress.org free of charge, but you need the paid version of WPML for it to work.

Custom translations with Polylang

Polylang is another plugin you can use to internationalize your WooCommerce store. Using it is easy, e.g. to add the description of a post as per language requirements.

Note that in this plugin you must manually write descriptions for each language: Polylang doesn’t support professional or automatic translation services.

The pros of using the Polylang plugin:

  • You can use the plugin free of charge.
  • You can translate posts, pages, media, categories, menus, tags, widgets, and so on.
  • The automatic download and integration of WordPress language packs.

As to the cons, learning to add different languages in each post and page may be difficult for non-technical people. You also need to translate to all languages manually and the plugin doesn’t add multi-currency support.

How to translate your WooCommerce store in the most efficient way

If you offer a lot of products or your buyers speak a lot of languages, taking care of translations by yourself can cost you a lot of time, money, and lost sales potential.

Trying to organize translations for your WooCommerce store, you may have to do some time-consuming work and a lot of research to understand the process. The key is to come up with an eCommerce-optimized translation.

Currently, international online retailers must do a great deal of manual work, matching product categories, sizes, attributes, and so forth.

Interestingly, often they’re not even sure if they do it correctly.

But you’re in luck.

Today you can avoid all the hassle and uncertainty related to translating and localizing your online store thanks to the amazing developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data analysis.

A simple raw description will be enough for AI to accurately localize the whole content, extract attributes, convert sizes, or map the right category. Thanks to combining machines’ capabilities and the intelligence of the human brain, this happens in an accurate, efficient, and consistent way.

To read more about how AI impacts eCommerce translation, check out our article How Artificial Intelligence revolutionizes eCommerce translation.

Conclusion

The web uses WooCommerce to power their online stores. If your online store is based on WooCommerce, you must know how to maximize your sales potential using this eCommerce platform.

You can optimize your current strategies, costs, or product portfolio and/or start selling internationally. If you take some time to, take care of the translation and eCommerce localization of your store, you may be amazed at how your conversion rates change.

In this article, we’ve highlighted how you can translate your WooCommerce store and also suggested an optimal translation solution that can take a great load off your chest. This solution has been specifically developed and trained for Ecommerce purposes and its a proven tool to maximize your international sales potential.

Translation and localization features that will help you get it right and maximize your sales potential.

Finally, an experienced cross-border trade partner can assist you in optimizing your translation processes and costs, helping you get the best possible ROI.