Creating an effective storefront in Magento will require picking a theme. This decision is important because your theme has an impact on far more than just the appearance of your website. Everything can be affected, from how quickly your site loads to what features and services you are able to offer your customers. In this post, we will lay out several things to consider when picking your Magento theme.
This information is relevant whether you are just getting started moving to Magento, or have been working in Magento for a long time. We’ve helped many clients improve their site’s performance and usability by helping them choose a better theme, or by understanding and refining the theme they had.
Do you like the layout that the theme provides? Is that layout appropriate for your type of business, or for your customers? There are lots of little questions to ask here. For example, if you are planning to have occasional banners and promotions on your site, does the theme’s layout allow that? Many themes are designed with a particular type of business in mind, so you should find one that matches your company’s needs.
Does the theme support a blog? Does the theme connect to your social accounts? Does the theme make it easy to post videos, or host a customer loyalty program? Whether or not these questions are relevant to your business should be answered before you choose a theme. Some of these features can be provided with the right plugin or extension.
How the theme was built also impacts the theme’s performance. If a theme’s code base is heavy, that can make it feature-rich, and also make it load very slowly. Even if the code base is lean, failure to follow best practices like using the CSS critical path can increase rendering times. Optimization cannot always resolve slow load times. Some themes can have several images and features and run with a high Google Analytics score, but some themes can’t get a competitive analytics score even if you remove all of the content that makes your site engaging.
The best themes are ones that are regularly updated and refined. Not every theme has a team providing that support. If a theme doesn’t have regular updates, that can lead to a lot of problems. At best, it will limit the theme’s functionality and will slow down troubleshooting. At worst, it will create security vulnerabilities that threaten you and your customers.
Choosing a Theme Requires Careful Consideration
Your theme has a broad impact on whether your site is going to be the storefront you want it to be. This includes issues like security, functionality, usability, ease of maintenance, and more. It’s not always obvious whether a theme does well in every category. Having a team with strong experience in choosing and working with Magento themes will position you well to avoid unpleasant surprises.
At Watermelon Web Works, we have deep experience in helping our clients to choose, implement, and customize their themes to create high-performing Magento stores. If you would like to discuss what you’ve been planning for a theme, or issues you are experiencing with your current theme, we would love to chat.