Using a 3rd Party Design in WordPress
I'm in the process of choosing a template for the redesign of my site. Ideally I'd like to go with an official WordPress template but they're not as nice as some of the 3rd party options. I've heard that the Genesis themes are great choices but at the moment I'm looking for a free option. I'm thinking that as I gain more experience with WordPress I can upgrade to a Genesis theme in the future.
So for those of you with experience, what's your take on using a template that is not of WordPress? Right now I'm strongly considering a template entitled Catch Evolution but want to get some feedback before committing.
Oh yeah, I've also heard that site redesign can negatively effect one's traffic. Is this the truth?
Catch Evolution is indeed a wordpress theme so I'm not sure what you mean by "not of WordPress." So no issues there.
Do you mean does the redesign impact search traffic or other kinds of traffic? Well, there's two parts. There's the user experience, meaning some may get lost if it's not user friendly and then there's Google traffic. There shouldn't be much of a change in the latter unless your main content is drastically different and/or Google has trouble spidering/reading your main content.
Remember, SEO is not just about on-page stuff anymore, it's authority and the bigger picture. Onpage definitely still matters but not as much.
Oh ok, I thought it was a 3rd party because it notes "by catchthemes" as opposed to "by wordpressdotorg."
As for the traffic, you've hit it on the head for me. When I started this web journey on-page was a recurring theme. I have to shift to understand that its more authority and the bigger picture as you've stated. I was thinking in terms of on-page links, keyword links & header size. Reason being, there's a couple pages on my site that do not flow very well for me in terms of content because I felt the need to add extra keywords and linked keywords to satisfy SBI's AnalyzeIt. I'm thinking with this redesign to edit some of those pages to give the content better flow but I'm wondering if that comes with a price (traffic decline).
I think the best way to go about it is to leave the structure for now and change things a little at a time so I can better determine the source of positive and/or negative results. What do you say?
Catch Evolution is listed on the WordPress.org site although it is by a third party and while it has only a small number of reviews it receives 5 stars from every reviewer.
An important point is that it is a media responsive theme. This is important in view of the high percentage of readers using smaller devices. Whatever theme you choose you want it to be responsive.
I have changed themes a few times and it is so easy. There is very little more than a few clicks to deactivate one and activate another. After that you will likely need to do some work on menus, etc. to get the appearance you want, but it is easy, so there is certainly no serious problem starting with it and changing later if you want.
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Genesis is fairly inexpensive and to get started you do not even need to purchase a child theme. You can create a free child theme based on the genesis core framework itself, but it is very basic. Still, it is clean, fast and most importantly - responsive.
If you do begin purchasing the Genesis StudioPress child themes you'll realise just how much you can get out of one child theme. I am able to heavily customise a child theme and get perhaps ten different sites out of the one theme.