Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video What to look for in a theme, part of WordPress: Customizing WooCommerce Themes.
- [Instructor] One of the questions I hear most often from people starting their first WooCommerce site is: which theme do I choose? This question doesn't have just one right answer, there are many right answers, and it depends entirely on your needs. Rather than giving you a list with hundreds of themes that are good for e-commerce, it makes a lot more sense to share the fundamentals. You will then be able to apply those fundamentals to choosing a theme that works best for your project. When it comes to WooCommerce, or any WordPress site, you want to pick a theme based on the look and feel of that theme.
Some good reasons to pick a theme would be you like the color of the theme, you like where the sidebar is in the theme, or maybe you like that this theme has no sidebar, one sidebar, two sidebars. You like how they customized the product page. You like the giant header or the giant footer, et cetera. Anything related to the look and feel of a theme is a great reason to pick it. Another good reason to pick a theme is if it supports the plugin you're planning on using. Themes support a wide variety of plugins. Popular contact form plugins like Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms, or a testimonial plugin like WooThemes Testimonials.
There's a subtle but important difference between supporting functionality and adding functionality. If you found a theme that includes an affiliate system or a theme that includes a currency switcher, or something like that, then you'll likely run into trouble when you try to switch to a different theme. You'll lose that functionality and won't be able to access that data. If you build an affiliate network based on the functionality in your theme, you'll lose that functionality entirely if you switch to a different theme. You'll effectively be locked into using that theme forever. Instead, make sure your theme only handles the appearance.
All of the functionality, the shopping cart, the affiliate system, the currency switcher, the payment gateway, et cetera, are all added via plugins. At most, a theme should support these plugins and add extra styles so that all of the functionality looks good with your theme. As an example, Canvas from WooCommerce supports a lot of plugins including the Testimonials plugin. The Testimonials plugin handles all the functionality of adding testimonials in the back end, and on the front end, Canvas displays the testimonials however you like, in a row, in two columns, three columns, four columns, et cetera.
Many themes support WooCommerce, and style WooCommerce pages differently. They may add more columns per page which is great for stores with hundreds or thousands of SKUs. Or maybe you have very intricate products and then getting a theme that has a prominent image on the product page would be a good choice. As an example, Superstore is designed for stores with lots of products. It's designed to fit five columns on the product page when most themes only show four columns. It also has infinite scroll on shop pages so users can keep scrolling down until they find the product they want.
Searching on wordpress.org is a great way to find a theme that supports WooCommerce. So, when you're looking for a theme, pick one that looks good to you. Colors, image sizes, how big the header is, et cetera. Make sure it doesn't add new functionality. If you need functionality for your site to work, add it with a plugin and see if your theme supports them. If you need a special product page or shop page, you can look for themes that support WooCommerce.
This course covers the fundamentals of building custom WooCommerce themes. Learn about using WooCommerce hooks, template overrides, PHP, and CSS to style the different store pages, and add custom imagery and icons to fit your branding. Author Patrick Rauland also introduces UX design techniques that encourage customers to buy, such as highlighting savings and adding social media icons for sharing.
- Selecting a base theme
- Matching theme colors
- Overriding and updating WooCommerce templates
- Using hooks
- Modifying your product page: images, tabs, icons, and more
- Modifying the shop page, including customer savings
- Modifying the checkout page
- A/B testing your changes