It’s amazing to think that, when it was first launched, WordPress was a fairly simple and intuitive content management system designed to help the beginning blogger get their feet wet in the virtual world.
Fast forward to the present day and it’s no great surprise that people the world over quickly learned just what a powerful tool the platform could be for new and established e-commerce concerns looking to make a serious splash in the online sale of goods and services. And indeed developers and programmers quickly identified the desires of a burgeoning e-tail community and reacted with some excellent themes, plugins, payment programs and more, all based on the needs of intrepid sellers, buyers, marketers and the like.
However, the e-commerce tools now available to WordPress users can certainly be a bit mind-boggling. After all, there are so many to choose from, with each offering varying levels of performance and options; free and premium features; and designs that run the gamut from small individual online stores to those meant for multi-national conglomerates and even international corporations. What do you need as a first-time etailer? Will you be able to manage and administer a specific theme, or will it require loads of coding experience that’s simply over your head? Will a bare-bones theme give enough choices for your clientele? Will you be able to expand the theme and hence your site as your business evolves and grows? All good questions you’ll need to consider.
Here are just a handful of the most popular business-based themes currently available, but do your research before you settle on a choice: changing to another theme down the road can be a hassle and a drain on your time, so pick wisely and save yourself future headaches.
- Incredibly stylish and a great choice for all types of businesses, Birch features parallax sliders, “call to action” buttons, a home page with a perfectly sized welcome message and more. You can also add a testimonial and/or portfolio page and comes with tons of widgets you won’t see in other themes, multiple choices for sidebar areas and a simple and easy-to-use options panel that won’t have your pulling your hair out in frustration.
- If you don’t mind forking out some bucks for a premium paid theme, Highend comes full of simple but powerful features such as demo templates, a drag-and-drop builder, lots of font choices and more. It also has sections where you can insert a portfolio, staff biographies and photo galleries for your products and services. And it’s WooCommerce ready, so if you’ll need to begin accepting payments upon launching you’ll be up and running quickly.
- For those who are seriously design conscious, Nectar is very stylish and comes with a wonderful color palette and a layout that makes good use of negative and white space (this translates to spacious). And when it comes to setting it up the program uses a simple “box checking” interface and options panel that makes customizing a real snap.
- Those who are looking to get a start-up off the ground or who deal specifically in tech services will want to check out Struct. The homepage is all widgets, which makes dragging and dropping content really fast. And the theme comes with sections for adding services, specific projects you want to highlight, client testimonials as well as more color choices than you can imagine and fantastic social media integration option.
- Flexibility rules with Ultra, as it comes preloaded with dozens of templates that you can activate with a simple click and can edit freely. It’s also very easy to customize your pages without knowing a thing about writing code, has unique widgets and content types and some of the best choices for different types of navigation menus (a nice feature if you plan on doing A/B split testing to see what type of interface best agrees with your visitors and clients).
- If you want a theme that will give your business a professional corporate look, Executive Pro is a good choice as it contains a big homepage slider that allows you to document and showcase your most important content in a can’t-be-missed format. It also comes with an email newsletter widget, a very nice feature as you won’t need to install a separate plugin should you decide at some point to send out regular correspondence to your customers.
- Lastly, the multi-purpose Elbrus theme has a gorgeous animation feature that works as a visitor to your site scrolls down through your content. Like the previously mentioned themes it also comes with a portfolio section as well as a place to highlight content types, works great with slider plugins and has lots of templates for customizing layout, unique widgets and navigation menus.