How To Choose A WordPress Theme

How To Choose A WordPress Theme

There are other softwares that are used for websites but over 60% of websites worldwide are powered by WordPress. This is the best software for a website that’s why universities, schools, governments, corporations, and individuals use WordPress.

A WordPress Theme overlays the WordPress core framework. The Theme is created by a developer who is thoroughly familiar with HTML (hypertext markup language) or computer language. The Theme has a particular style and will be topical, for a specific kind of website.

WordPress Themes come under the GPL (general public license) ruile. A Theme is used for one year and then the license must be renewed to use it for another year.

Even if the WordPress Theme is free it must be renewed for another year to continue using it. A developer who creates a theme is entitled to be paid for the use of their Theme.

The Theme Marketplace

There is no shortage of Themes in the market but you’ll find Themes that were developed several years ago. You have to be sure the developer is current and updates the Theme regularly and offers documentation and tech support should you need it, and the chances are you will need the tech support.

The other problem is tech support is only available for six months, after that period you will need to pay for support. This isn’t a good idea. You do not need to pay extra for tech support. This is why it’s best to find a Theme that is updated regularly, is enjoyable to use and offers tech support at no extra charge.

WordPress Themes

These are in the WordPress Repository but they are the WordPress Marketplace.

The problem with this kind of Theme is that you have a limitation in how you can style or change the layout of the Theme. Why would you want to do this if the Theme is already done? Because you will want to add more functionality to your website over time. A basic Theme of this nature will not accommodate the additions.

This is what you don’t know before you launch yourself into a free Theme or one with minimal cost. This is how I started out with my first WordPress website, paying for a Theme and needing to renew it each year. My website dilemma was finally solved by finding a Theme that gave me the flexibility to change the layout on any page, or post and I didn’t have to keep finding a new Theme each year. 

The other issue was I could do all the changes myself and I didn’t need to know how to use HTML. All software has a learning curve and it’s going to be improved and updated as time goes on. This is just the way technology works. We now participate with advanced systems, and WordPress and WordPress Themes are becoming increasingly more advanced and able to do more than we did with a website than when WordPress was only a blogging platform in 2003. 

The Built In Page Builder

In 2013 theme developers realized that people were not able to put the content onto a page because the webpage is divided into sections and rows to accommodate column layouts. Something is easy to operate when you know how it works but this was on the backend of the website and not the front end which is where you put the content into the web page.

The introduction of the Page Builder was a stroke of genius, it created a better user experience. You could now put content onto the web page and style the content. In truth, it was the Page Builder that gave me the inspiration to continue with my website. I was completely frustrated with WordPress because it was difficult to put an image next to some text without having to insert a page break using HTML tags. 

The Page Builder guided me through the process of putting content onto the webpage. I particularly liked the way I could also style the content from the built in Design section. Nothing I did needed any knowledge of code. I could change the layout, the style, the colors, and in general do what I wanted to do with the content on the page and a blog post. 

So what’s the name of this incredible Theme? The Divi Theme produced by Elegant Themes. It came out in 2013 and I haven’t used any other Theme because Divi is so versatile. It’s constantly updated and improved with new features that make creating a website a pleasure.

More information about Divi.

wordpress dashboard

Purchasing a Domain Name

Purchasing a Domain Name

A Domain Name is the name of the website. The name ideally will tell people what your website is about. With so many websites now on the web you have to be extra careful in choosing a Domain Name. First you must do a search to make sure the Domain is available. A Domain Name must be registered with a Domain Registrar.

The larger Web Hosting Companies are Domain Registrars and you can purchase a Domain Name at the time when you sign up for Website Hosting.

Before you sign up do a search to find out information about the Domain Name you would like to use. The best database to search is WHOIS.com. 

whois database

If the Domain Name you want to use is availble you can purchase it from WHOIS.com but you will have to open an account and manage the Domain Name yourself.

If you see that this Domain Name is available and you would like to use it, this is the Domain Name you use after you have decided to  Sign up with a Hosting Company.

Which should you do first? Sign up with a Hosting Company and then choose a Domain Name, or choose a Domain Name and then sign up for a Hosting Company. It doesn’t matter which one comes first but you must be sure that the Domain Name you choose is available.

My recommendation; decide on a Domain Name first and do the research on that Domain to make sure it’s available to use, then sign up with a Hosting Company.

R

Confusingly Similar

The Domain Name must not resemble another Domain.

M

Example

Healthlift.com
Healthylift.com

Find a Domain Name that is descriptive. For example;if your website is about health and fitness do a word wheel. Look up the words “health” and “fitness” in the dictionary and find the synonyms of “health and “fitness.” This will give you inspiration to clearly define the name of your website.

Using Your Personal Name

The name you have is unique to you, but I’m sure you’ve noticed there are other people with the same name as yours. In that case use a middle initial.

Personal Name

John Smith
John Edward Smith
John E Smith
J. E. Smith

Example

johnsmith.com
johnedwardsmith.com
johnesmith.com
jesmith.com

As you can see a Domain Name needs a lot of thought before you sign up with a web Hosting Company. This is why I recommend you decide on the Domain Name first, and then sign up. Use the WHOIS.com database first.

What you don’t want is to sign up with a web Hosting Company and think you have the perfect Domain Name and someone else has this exact same Domain Name. Then you’ll get a letter from their lawyers and you’ll have to use another Domain.

The most common domain in use is a domain with the com extension. There are other extensions being introduced and it’s a matter of choice as to what you want to use based on the availablility and the descriptiveness of the name.

Now that you’ve found a Domain Name, your next stop on the website journey is signing up with a Hosting Company.

Signing Up With a Hosting Company

Signing Up With a Hosting Company

Your website will occupy space on the Hosting Company’s servers, and there does need to be sufficient memory available to you for your website. A website definitely takes up memory space even if you’re thinking about a small website with a few pages. The technology we have is incredible when you think about it. We haven’t had the ability to self-publish and have dominion over something as efficient as a website.

There are plenty of Hosting Companies to consider. The first question to answer is; how much will it cost. If it’s free and there’s no charge, this won’t do. Anything that comes free will have a catch. The free version will come with ads, to remove the ads, upgrade. That eliminates the free version.

Attractive Introductory Monthly Rates

The introductory rate could be as low as $1.00 per month or $3.95. This is a good rate but remember it has an introductory period, usually three years if you sign up in advance at the low rate of $3.95 per month. The math on that one works out to $142.20, that’s a good deal because you’re signing up for website hosting for a period of three years with a reputable Hosting Company.

What’s the rate after the three years? The rates vary, a reasonable rate after the three year introduction would be $11.95.

The second question to answer; what kind of tech support does the Hosting Company provide? The Website Hosting has what is called a cPanel. This is where you manage the website from the backend. Most of this backend section is maintained by the Hosting Company tech team. This is their job, they keep the servers up to date and running. It’s impossible to know how the backend server works because you’re not working it. Don’t expect yourself to know. Some Hosting Companies have user-friendly interfaces specifically styled to help you manage the backend of your website.

Adequate Tech Support

This is essential and it should be available from the Hosting Company at no extra charge. You also don’t want tech support from volunteers in a forum which is the case if you decide to host your website with a free platform. The free sounds attractive but by now you know it means upgrade to get the service you need if and when something goes wrong with the website. The mechanics of websites will break from time to time. There’s no website that won’t crash or have a plugin conflict of some sort. This is the way technology operates, nothing functions perfectly all the time.

The tech support staff that work in a Hosting Company are paid professionals. They know the system they are working with and this is the kind of technical team you want, so that you don’t have to pay someone to fix a problem when something goes wrong. There are definitely those who will take advantage of someone who isn’t quite sure about what to do when something goes wrong. If you’re with a good Hosting Company you’ll never have to worry if you need to contact tech support. They are there twenty-four seven and they know how to fix the problem and the problem will be solved for you, at no extra cost to you.

Which is the best Hosting Company?

Be prepared to pay something for good service. If the hosting is cheap tech support will be extra.

My Recommendation

SiteGround. I have used their services since 2012. Excellent quality tech support! The link provided is my affiliate link.

Owning a website is a responsibility but the website is an affordable self-publishing tool that will assist you to do business and communicate on the web with your specific project. Now that you’ve decided on a Hosting Company you need to Choose a WordPress Theme.

How To Use Divi Builder Helper

How To Use Divi Builder Helper

Finding Help

The Divi Theme has a built in help feature in every module. The settings in the module give you the ability to style and position the content onto the web page without having to use HTML code.  It’s not easy to find something if you don’t know where to look.

Divi help icon

Locating the Help “?” Section

The Divi Builder Helper shows you how to use the settings within a module. The Text Settings are for the most part identifiable. 

Content

This is the section where content is created and where you organise the writing into headings and subheadings.

Design

In this section you can set the color of a Heading or Subheading. Change the position of text, adjust margins, create a box shadow set the spacing. All these commands enable you to style the text.

Advanced

In this section you can enhance styles using CSS, set the visibility of the module on mobile view, and position the module.

If this sounds complicated, you might need help to implement some of these settings. Scroll to the bottom of the Text Module and locate the question mark icon “?” with Help next to it. Click on the icon and access the Divi Builder Helper.

The Divi Builder Helper

When you click on the Help icon the Divi Builder Helper module opens. Here you can access Three video tutorials. There are a lot of settings built into the Text Module. The settings don’t requre any code until you want to add a specific style using CSS. The CSS styling is not as complex as HTML and is a lot easier to understand in the even that you need to use it.

In the Text Settings Module the Builder Helper contains three videos:

  1. An Introduction To The Text Module
  2. Design Settings And Advanced Module
  3. Saving And Loading From The Library

These videos show you how to use the settings. You can see exactly what to do. There’s nothing better than a video to show you the steps.

Divi video tutorial

Divi Theme Options Help

When you see the “?” icon this is an indication there is further information available. It is helpful especially as there are a lot of options to choose from in Divi. The help in the Theme Options area are instructional and can often solve a problem because the setting wasn’t enabled.

Instead of ‘googling it’ and finding a whole lot of information that might not be relevant, this help feature goes straight to the point and explains what to do before using the map module. The link provided takes you to the Divi Map Module Documentation with a detailed description of how generate a Google API key. This is all from the Theme Options “?” icon.

Support Center Inside WordPress

Access the Support Center from the WordPress Dashboard. Locate Divi and the popup menu and slect Support Center.

Chat Support

Initiating Chat Support takes you directly to Elegant Themes tech support chat on their website.  They do not have a support ticket sytem but communicate via email directly to you when necessary.

Remote Access

This is only needed when tech support needs access to your website and this will generate a support ticket which is only active for four days.

Elegant Themes Support

Elegant Themes Tech Support and  Documentation

The Tech Support is available 24/7 using the chat feature. In all the time I have been with Elegant Themes since 2012, I have not ever experienced a problem with tech support.

When I first started to use Divi I needed a whole lot of support. No matter what my crazy question was there was always someone who would answer it and resolve the problem. The tech support team was so good they taught me how to use Divi.

Since Divi was created in 2012 it has become the world’s most used theme because of it’s versatility and ease of use. When something is this good even the top level tech people know it and use Divi.

Of Course You Can “Google It”

The Google search engine is refined and when you search for something you find it.  The most important thing to look for when doing a Google search is; when was the article or video published and who is the author.

If an article is written in 2012 it may still apply to the software you’re using in 2020. Especially if that software was created in 2012.

Divi Resources

If you don’t already subscribe to the Divi Newsletter you should. Every day they publish a relevant article about Divi on the Elegant Themes Blog. This Blog has a million visitors daily. There are also Divi Developers who create plugins especially for Divi.

Three plugins I use all the time on my website and client’s. These are my affiliate links. I only recommend a plugin I use and its updated regularly with good tech support. 

Divi Bars

Divi Blog Extras

Divi Users Official Facebook Group  another excellent help resource.

If you’re not a member of Elegant Themes and want to get the Divi Theme you can purchase Divi here.

Connect with other Divi users and join a Divi Meetup Group. The Divi Nation is now worldwide and you can connect with other Divi users. Go to Meetup and seach using Divi and the name of your city. Chances are you’ll find a Meetup in your location. If you live in Chicago join the Divi-Chicago Meetup group. Meetups are virtual while we wait out the COVID-19 virus.

Quickly Build a Website in Divi

Quickly Build a Website in Divi

"Procrastination is the thief of time."

You've had the idea for so long but the website still isn't anywhere near being created.

Moving Forward

Create a website without the labor inspired with a premade layout, and quickly build a website in Divi.

Build It Fast

One of the advantages to creating a website is the ability to create it without delay, in real time. The Divi Theme comes with 125+ Premade Layout Packs. These are already designed and available in the Divi Library. A website has many components but you can speed up the process when you go about creating it with an existing layout.

Every layout has a specific style and topic but this can be changed to suit the topic.  This is the header image from the Tea Shop Layout. The image tells you the Tea Shop is about brewing tea. In this article we’re going to change the first two sections in the Tea Shop Layout Pack into a completely different topic.

This is the header image from the Tea Shop Layout. Images are essential in a website. Images tell stories without words. The next image is the same header from the Tea Shop Layout but with a different image. 

The Tea Shop Became a Global Business

Just by changing the background image and the color of the text we went from a Tea Shop to Business Consulting. You can change the color of the button or leave it if you like the color. The point here is, you’re able to do these changes quickly. Of course if you don’t know how to use the software it will be confusing. No one knows how something works before they’ve used it. But just because you’re not familiar with how it works doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the software.

You can change the button color to match the colors of the picture in the Button Settings area of the Button Module. All of this will come to you as you work with a premade layout because the design element is already in place. You’re not looking at a blank page and wondering what to put onto the page. As you use the many features in Divi you’ll find creating a website is a whole lot easier than you imagined.

The next image is the section immediately below the main header of the Tea Shop. The image used represents the concept of doing business on a global scale, using the Internet and the phone. 

The GlobalBusiness

Mauris et diam eu turpis

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce suscipit faucibus dui non dignissim. Integer mi tellus, dictum scelerisque venenatis eu, iaculis laoreet eros. Mauris et diam eu turpis mattis cursus et non lorem. 

With the global communication concept of business online, you can see how the image using the globe with the woman talking on the phone combines the communication tools we use. And the text is positioned so that you can put some content to further explain what your business does.

As you can see by the above images it’s a matter of seeing the layout and then the idea comes as to how to bring in an image that conveys the message. The whole process happens fast this is why you can quickly build a website using one of the premade layout packs.

 

Using the Style Guide

The layout pack has a built in style. This may not correspond with what you had in mind when you created your Style Guide. First use the built in style and then experiment with a different font. You don’t need to stress out about the fonts. All the fonts that are available to you in Divi are Google fonts, all 600 of them.

Subtle Layout vs Animated Layout

These days you can create all sorts of animated affects on a web page. Some of them are good and some of them are just plain irritating. A website is a visual communication. We read text and look at pictures and watch videos. The way we navigate on a web page is by using the mouse. This requires work and effort. If there’s too much to do on a web page it creates eye fatigue and we tire of having to move the mouse around all the time.

The style of the website should be subtle with the right balance of bold and subtle colors.

If there’s no white space on the page the eyes cannot rest.

If the colors are too bright they hurt the eyes.

If the font is too light it is harder to read.

All of these things need to be taken into consideration when putting content onto a web page. When using one of the Layout Packs the style is already built in with the right amount of subtle animation and color.

Is The Content Accessible?

This doesn’t only apply to people with a disability, it’s for everyone who interacts with a website. Is the content visible or is it hidden by a special effect? Too many moving parts on a website are a distraction. Some people have vertigo sickness and cannot look at a background with moving images. Others are bothered by the GIF’s. Small movies that loop and replay the event over and over.

When you choose a font make sure it’s readable. The scripting fonts are hard to read even though they look good. It’s important that your website complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. Here’s a link to the Quick Reference Checklist.

“Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.”

There are four main concepts to remember with Accessibility:

  1. Content must be perceivable.
  2. Content must be operable.
  3. Content must be understandable.
  4. Content must be robust.

Users must be able to comprehend the information and it shouldn’t be hidden.

Example of perceivable.

The text on the right has two sides.Unless you mouse over the the content you won’t see the information on the other side. But you don’t know you can mouse over the content unless there is a command that reads: mouse over to read the back side.

"Procrastination is the thief of time."

You've had the idea for so long but the website still isn't anywhere near being created.

Moving Forward

Create a website without the labor inspired with a premade layout, and quickly build a website in Divi.

Premade Layouts Make Sense

The experience of creating a website is a major project, but you can see how simple it is to change an image and rearrange content using the four accessibility concepts. The premade layout comes with the right balance of subtle eye catching animation.

Think about what irritates you when you visit a website. Too many popups, messages, push notifications. Videos that start playing when you land on a page. You scroll down the page and if the video is still playing it jumps to the bottom of the view. The font is too small. The font is too faint to read. The font is too fancy and you can’t read it.

Take all those things that irritate you and don’t use them on your website. If you’re irritated then your visitors will be too. But if you want to quickly build a website, then use one of the Premade Layout Packs in the Divi Library. When using a Layout Pack you can concentrate on the content and the images and convey the message and purpose of your website. The design and layout is already done. It’s like using a template, you’re putting content into the placeholder.

If you need help with your website, contact me. I can show you how to use a layout pack. Click the Need Help button and get in touch with me.