Bought a multipurpose WordPress theme recently? You made a mistake!

Multitool As Multipurpose

“Most advanced WordPress theme” or “The last theme you will ever need to buy” are some common sales lines you will come across when buying new WordPress theme, especially on ThemeForest. But these sound rather cliche to me nowadays, wouldn’t you agree? So, that’s why I would like to present why niche themes might be a far better choice for you. I know that there are many reasons why one would buy a multipurpose instead of the micro niche theme. But only small percentage of people understand how things look under the hood.

Multipurpose means bloat

One of the most common complaints I hear and read on the internet is that the websites are too slow. Have you ever landed on the page and thought to yourself, ‘OMG, this website is too fast. I cannot use it because it works so fast.’? I bet $10 you did not. But I also dare to say you though many times, ‘I wish this site was faster’. It is proven fact that faster site means better user satisfaction, better engagement and better conversion rates – and these are your goals, aren’t they? The theme loading time and code quality which embraces good practices is one of the most demanded features your users want. Today, where a large portion of the web traffic is mobile and in some businesses and countries represents 50% or more of all users, the speed and weight of the website has never been more important. To be one hundred percent sure we even did a research about this and it proved we are right.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Our products are not rushing in the same direction the majority of the other authors on ThemeForest do with multipurpose themes. By including tons of features, settings, sliders, icons, elements, frameworks etc. you inevitably end up with a bloated WordPress theme. Even though such a product may allow more freedom when creating a new site, I haven’t encountered a single theme till today where one could kickstart it faster and more efficient than with the theme that was built for specific industry in mind.

How creating a micro niche theme looks like?

Since we are an author on the ThemeForest as well, I would like to showcase how the entire workflow for the micro niche WordPress theme looks like from our perspective.

First of all, before we decide to create a new theme, the first thing we do is that we choose a niche that is not well covered yet (i.e. no competition) and then make in-depth research what are the particular needs of that specific retail business. Then, we decide which features we will be implementing in our theme and our goal is to create them on its best. By limiting the features the theme provides, we are able to create the theme that is fast, reliable, and embraces good practices. At the same time our themes provide useful widgets and already designed elements that the prospective buyer will most probably use out of the box.

Over time we learned that in many situations less is more and we strive to provide only the crucial functionality, but we make sure that it works exceptionally well. Counting numbers? Hair styling salon doesn’t need them. Three different sets of icons? Probably one will do for a car repair shop website. Parallax scrolling? It looks fancy, but getting good and high resolution images from the client is a different story.

Every single feature adds on the final bandwidth cost, additional HTTP requests and all the other bad things for performance. Do I need to mention that the code is getting messier when just adding new functionality without thinking whether it brings value to the end user? Well, you get the point.

We do not apply webdesign trends in our themes, because trends are just that – trends. They come and go. Good website should last for years. Small business owners are looking for the website, which will serve its purpose on a long run. They are not willing to invest thousands of dollars every year in their online presence. It is the tiny details, like a contact phone number, visible on the first screen that makes our themes so popular in the eyes of the business owners. It is just funny how easy it is to implement, but almost all retail business WordPress themes lack that fundamental feature.

BuildPress – theme for a construction business

buildpress-screenshot

Enough theory. Before I finish this article I would like to present a real-world example of the micro niche WordPress theme we made. It is our latest product we launched in November 2014 and it took off very quickly – BuildPress.

We got the idea for BuildPress in August ’14 because back then the competition was non existent on the ThemeForest for the construction/renovation businesses. On the other hand there are many local companies registered in that industry all over the world – people live in buildings everywhere around the globe anyway, right?

The second thing we did is that we tried to find as many existing websites as possible of the local construction businesses and tried to spot any patterns on them – detect the elements that are common to all these websites. As mentioned in the chapter above, with every product we want to solve real-world problems, not imaginary ones.

Based on the data acquired, we made a list of the features we wanted our construction theme to posses. For every new feature we considered the performance budget. By having the page load time in mind that early in the process makes for a better end product tech-wise – something we learned via trial & error over the years. I even wrote the article how we created useful and fast image slider.

Once that was done, the rest of the process is rather straightforward. The designer starts creating the design that fits the industry well and makes sure to stay on the roadmap. During that process he always iterates daily with the rest of the team, gathering internal feedback as soon as possible. This way the development team can start coding the Photoshop design to WordPress theme before the design is finalized.

Here is a list of features and industry-needs based elements BuildPress has:

  • Contact information / office location on visible place – the most obvious pattern on the existing websites.
    buildpress-phone-addr
  • Projects / portfolio – all construction companies want to showcase their portfolio of customers and projects they built so far. We decided to take advantage of Essential Grid plugin and integrate it seamlessly into BuildPress.
    buildpress-projects
  • Services – different construction companies offer different services. Some specialize more in buildings, others in bridges and so on. It is important for the visitor of the website to find information, what kind of projects the company is best suited for.
    buildpress-services
  • Brochure box – we developed nice and simple widget, which allows to attach the PDF / DOC brochures on the website with a single click.
    buildpress-brochure-box
  • The team – important to show the faces behind a business company, don’t you agree?
    buildpress-team
  • Offices opening time – if I am a businessman looking to make an appointment with a construction company, I must know when their offices are opened.
    buildpress-opening-time
  • Company’s mission statement – surprise for us as well. Most of renovation companies have their mission statement and usually they include it near the end of the homepage. So, we included it as well ?
    buildpress-slogan
  • It is fast! Try it! Or even measure it with tools such as Pingdom or WebPageTest.

Even though the BuildPress was made with construction companies in mind from start to finish, one interesting thing happened after release. On our support we started noticing the people were not buying it solely for the construction websites, but for lots of other different niches as well. That made us extremely happy, because it was a confirmation that we made an exceptional WordPress theme! In the very first month alone over 700 licenses were sold, which still makes it the most popular micro niche premium WordPress theme in the entire world!

Conclusion

Creating micro niche WordPress themes is fun and challenging at the same time. It forces us to put effort into research before we even start building something. But this part especially breaks the monotony and brings tons of fresh ideas in early stages of the project.

I know that the title of the article is a bit of provocative – I don’t think that choosing micro niche theme is always a better idea than multipurpose theme. But I see lots of reasons why it might be. I hope I convinced you to consider looking for micro niche theme before rushing straight to the multipurpose ones. Have I convinced you? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments!

PS: we are building WP theme for Psychotherapists right now. Want to see some sneak peek? Like ProteusThemes on Facebook!