Guest Contribution by Egor Artimenya
In business, an attractive image is everything. In an era of fierce retail competition, it’s important to have a remarkable and outstanding storefront. Obviously, the Magento default theme cannot offer the same level of individuality and customization that a custom theme offers.
In addition to that, custom themes often feature a wide variety of pre-defined customization options, lots of third-party extensions that come with the theme, and other advantages. But how do you know which theme is for you?
If you are just migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you probably wonder how to choose the right theme and whether Magento 2 performance is a big issue here.
Well, the bad news is that choosing the right theme is not easy. Choosing the wrong theme can easily kill your conversion rate. We’ll show you how to recognize theme issues early on. With our help, you will install a theme that is fast, reliable, and easy to use.
Issue 1. The Theme Doesn’t Work Well on Smartphones
Mobile users constitute at least half of all potential shoppers and when your store doesn’t offer a good mobile experience, your sales will suffer. What kind of issues bad themes can pose? Here’s a rough estimate:
- inadequate design transformation from desktop to mobile,
- UI elements that are hard to tap on or hard to find,
- buggy behavior, inability to finish a purchase,
- popups and other design elements that barely work on smartphones,
- too code-heavy, takes a lot of time to execute on mobile.
Designing for a tap-based interface is not the same as getting your theme optimized for a desktop experience. There are a few crucial things you need to look for in a good mobile-friendly theme.
The physical size of the screen:
Introduces clear restrictions on the size, the complexity, and the location of all design elements on the screen. Even if the screen is suitable for small fonts and intricate design features, bear in mind that the user will have to do everything with their fingers which can be nimble and small (when we are talking about teenagers and young adults) or clumsy and bulky (some men and women, older people). Failing to serve the whole audience will mean some of your customers will abandon the store and move on.
The tap-based interface:
The biggest challenge for most designers because it’s so much different from a trackpad or keyboard-and-mouse combination. The theme needs to adjust accordingly to new input methods instead of just blindly copying the desktop experience into the mobile environment. For example, it’s better to hide big navigation menus behind hamburgers, shift around UI elements that can be mapped if placed too close, change the size of crucial items, reorganize navigation and other elements.
The orientation of the screen:
Portrait orientation is a different thing than the album. This is obvious, right? And yet so many designers ignore the fact that users shift from one perspective to another when they switch platforms. As a result, the design elements that looked great and impressive on the desktop can become too small or even ineligible in mobile portrait mode.
Issue 2. The Theme Is Poorly Written and Optimized
When you have a pretty face, a lot can be forgiven. Just not in retail. A slow Magento store is a bad Magento store, no matter how pretty it looks. Ecommerce works when it’s fast, responsive, and does everything at the snap of your fingers. After all, how many impulsive purchases are you willing to sacrifice in order to look good? Five? Ten? A thousand?
This is all lost money and lost opportunities when we are talking about looks. If your Magento theme is not written well and slows you down, get rid of it. You can turn to the Magento performance optimization service company for qualified assistance. This is no small matter. It’s eating into your profits. A pretty theme can cost you more than you can imagine. A beautiful image attracts customers but speed sells them stuff.
Issue 3. The Theme Hinders SEO
In general, Magento 2 can handle SEO pretty well. Issues arise when an inexperienced team delivers a theme that doesn’t have correct headings or loads too slowly.
The headings issues stem from the fact that Magento assigns h2 tags to product listings on category pages. Incorrect heading assignments is not something you should lose sleep over, just check that your Magento theme doesn’t mess with them on mission-critical pages.
The most important SEO-related issue lies in performance. In 2019 reality, SEO is linked to store performance pretty tightly. A slow website is penalized for its performance and compared to the competition will not rank high enough in Google SERP. Bear this in mind when you consider which theme you want to use for your store.
Issue 4. The Theme Is Incompatible With Your Extensions
Magento is a sandbox in the sense that you yourself choose which toys you want to play with. You choose your own theme, your extensions, payment methods, shipping partners, assign roles and accounts inside the store. You are in control of so much stuff it can become overwhelming at times.
Depending on the nature of new extensions, they can be either compatible or incompatible with your Magento store theme. Sometimes the theme overwrites the same spot that the extension uses. This means you have to manually resolve the conflict to allow the correct usage of these two items.
Issue 5. The Theme Lacks Updates or Support
Good documentation, cross-browser support, and support for new Magento releases, helpful customer support – you will need all this to resolve issues quickly and reliably.
You can’t expect too much from smaller theme developers or free Magento themes which obviously puts you in a rough place when you need to update to a new Magento release or troubleshoot compatibility issues. Without documentation or support, you’ll have to test everything yourself and resolve any issues on the go.
Create the Best Possible User Experience
Choosing the right theme is not about the looks of your store. I mean, the looks are important. But the goal of the theme is to help you sell more by creating the best possible user experience you can offer.
Not all developers follow Magento development best practices in theme creation. So in a market abundant with offers we want you to be comfortable and choose the theme not only by looks but by its merits.
Egor Artimenya is a web developer at Onilab, a Magento development company, who cares way too much about theme conversions. He’s a proud collector of 1,000+ meme folder and an owner of a cute Red Uganda Knuckles pet.