What to Look for When Picking a Magento Theme
Here at Creatuity there are several things we recommend clients look at and consider before selecting a pre-made theme for their new (or existing) Magento store:
- Shop for themes only via the Magento Connect site – Other sources can be less reputable and sometimes the themes are just pretty pictures that haven’t been developed into a working theme yet.
- Before you get too attached to a particular theme, make sure the theme is available for your Magento edition (Community/Professional/Enterprise) and your specific version. Themes are extremely rarely ever available for the Enterprise/Professional editions.
- Note regarding older Community themes: Themes available for versions 1.5 and older are very strongly -not- recommended to be used on a 1.6+ Magento store (themes worked very differently back then). A version 1.6 theme could be converted to work with 1.7, but of course that is additional time that you will have to pay our developers to implement.
- Don’t pay too much attention to what the theme is called. A “shoe store” theme can easily for used for any niche, just substituting a few shoe graphics for your product’s graphics.
- Don’t pay too much attention to the homepage. A flashy homepage is easy enough to develop from scratch (and there are extensions for Flash sliders, etc. if you like that kind of thing). You are looking for an overall framework for your entire website – including the product pages, category pages, etc.
- Colors and fonts can be changed, as can graphics if you have another graphic you’d like to substitute.
- Things that are harder to change (and thus more costly): Navigation bar design/location, SEO considerations, overall layouts.
- Get as close the overall look/feel of the site you desire – but remember that everything can be changed/edited/etc. Since we charge hourly, we can make as few or as many changes as you wish.
- Pay attention to the navigation bar. If you want layered navigation or a particular unique design, it is more cost-effective to find a theme that already includes that functionality.
- Look closely at the product page. This is the most important page on your entire site, and will affect your bottom line more than anything else in the theme. Believe it or not, most shoppers never look at your homepage. Is the product a fitting representation of your brand, if the shopper has never been to your site before?
- We recommend clients purchase a theme that includes layered PSD (photoshop) files. That can save time if you want us to modify something.
- Go to the “Live Demo” site for the theme and click around quite a bit. Do you like the styling of the category pages, products pages, etc? If a theme doesn’t have a Live Demo, we never recommend buying it. That could mean it literally has never been tested in a real Magento store (and it’s just a pretty picture). Although, this scam seems to have become less common recently.
- Look for “extras” that are included with the theme. Some themes include Contact Us forms, social media icons, image zoom functionality, etc. All of those things can be added on to any store of course, but if you are trying to narrow down your search for a theme, get the most value for your money.
- Ask your developer before you buy anything. We are always happy to take a 2nd look just to make sure we don’t see any “red flags” before you purchase.