Copyright (c) 2011 Joe Maldonado
The best wordpress themes are not the most frequently used simply because few people recognize the value that they bring to the website. While many premium themes come packed with features, plugins, and modules, the best ones often use those specific items to their fullest potential with a very solid integration that other themes may lack. Here are three big areas where some premium themes fall short.
Membership modules, or lack thereof. For every hundred themes that could have been brought in to the several year old Web 2.0, there is one that makes good use of a membership module. However, businesses are starting to realize that one of the many ways to increase retention on their websites is to actually foster a sense of community using forums and comments—and, while this can be achieved without a membership system, a membership system builds the bonds of a community by assigning permanent names to the users. The better themes will generally have a membership module that is built in to the theme and that is integrated on the front page and all the child pages, that identifies the user correctly who made comments or forum posts, and which can save the username and password for the user and easily log him back in when he returns.
Payment integration and shopping carts. Payment integrations are often very difficult to configure; they tend to cost as much as any theme in many cases, as well. Great themes that contain any hint of e-commerce will also come with free integration to as many as twenty or thirty different authorization gateways while normal themes will tell you which plugin they recommend for the integration. It is especially important when your website tracks inventory that the payment gateway is integrated very tightly in to the main modules—can you imagine what would happen if a failed payment still deducted from your inventory on your website? There may be some product that doesn’t get sold.
Customization options that do not just include changing the color. Good themes will allow you to customize a majority of the features of your website using the built-in theme and appearance editors in WordPress, but the best wordpress themes will allow you to literally change the entire flow of the website by integrating the various components of their theme in to a fully editable and widget capable item. The biggest benefactor of this customization is, of course, you: if you have a website that has this kind of customization ability, you can guarantee that it will be useful for more than one single website. You may even be able to re-use the same theme with minor changes if you decide to re-design your website.
Before buying just another great theme, do some serious comparison. A great theme will include at least two of the above features as well as several others that have not been indicated here. You owe it to yourself to not just pick the first theme, but to pick the best wordpress themes for your website and for your profitable needs. Ready?
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