The best WordPress theme for a small service business

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My top choices for best WordPress theme are GeneratePress (premium) or Genesis Sample theme (free).

I use GeneratePress theme and GenerateBlocks page builder plugin. This gives me all the options most service businesses need, and great tech support too.

But GeneratePress is not the easiest theme to use, and it’s not free.

If you want a free theme that’s easy to use, I recommend the Genesis sample theme combined with Genesis Blocks page builder plugin.

Thousands more to choose from.

However, if your site only has a few pages, you should be safe using any of the themes listed on the official themes page of WordPress.org. Just make sure the theme you use gets excellent reviews and regularly maintained. If you intend to write a lot of content for your website, you need to be more careful about which theme you choose. If possible, start with the theme you intend to use in the long term. Changing themes can be more difficult once you have a lot of pages and posts on your website. Because, if you apply styles to a page as you write it, then change themes, you lose some styling. You can edit five or ten pages, but if you have two hundred pages to edit, it takes a long time.

Some popular WordPress themes.

Many think Divi is the best WordPress theme, It's not my favorite.
Divi
Best WordPress theme for small service business in my opinion, is GeneratePress.
GeneratePress
Neve theme is very popular.
Neve
Genesis Sample theme. Best free WordPress theme if you're looking for free and simple.
Genesis
Authority Pro is a great theme to use out of the box.
Authority Pro
Twenty Twenty
Mai Theme has a good mixture of options while still being easy to use.
Mai Theme
Astra is a good solid WordPress theme and there's a free version.
Astra
OceanWP is another popular WordPress theme.
OceanWP

Page templates.

Some themes have over one hundred readymade designs or layouts to choose from.

You just replace the text and photos with your own. Or if you’re more tech savvy, you can make much more complex changes without code.

What is a WordPress theme, and what is a WordPress page builder?

A WordPress theme is a ready-made web design you install on your WordPress website. Some of these themes have ready-made page layout templates, and page section templates, built in. You can add these layout templates to any webpage on your website with a single click. Then you replace the images and text in the template with your own content. Most themes have their own page builder plugin to edit the templates by pointing and clicking. You don’t need code. Some page builder plugins work independently of the theme. You can use Elementor and Beaver Builder with almost any theme. You can also use Elementor and Beaver Builder with the old-fashioned classic post editor. WordPress phased out the classic editor, but some people still use it. GenerateBlocks and Genesis Blocks are block editors. They only work with the new WordPress block editor referred to as Gutenberg. You cannot use Block Editors with the old classic WordPress editor.

Page Builders that work on old and new WordPress sites

Elementor
Beaver Builder

Page builders that only work with the new block editor, Gutenberg

Genesis Blocks
GenerateBlocks

Do you have to use a theme and a page builder?

You must use a theme, but using a page builder is optional. A page builder makes it easy to style the content area of your posts and pages. It enables you to divide your page into rows and columns and then add background colours, background images and borders to each row and each column.

Test your site on small screens.

Before choosing a theme that has a lot of fancy design features, remember most of your visitors view your site on their mobile phones. They might never see the fancy large screen version.

Is it OK to use a free theme?

For a small site with little content, a free theme is OK. But make sure you get your theme from the official website, WordPress.org.

Your choice of theme also depends on how computer competent you are, and how much leaning do you want to do. Some themes that are easy to use have a reputation for slowing down your website, making visitors wait for the pages to load on their screens.

You can change themes, but…

Changing themes is not as easy as some make out. Especially with a lot of pages and a lot of styled blocks. Using a block-based page builder can help you keep the styling after a theme change. Because you can change themes but keep the page builder. So, the content area of your website does not change much, even after a theme change. 

But, if you’re building a large site with many pages and posts, choose a theme you’ll stick with for years to come.

You can customise most themes.

You can customise most themes (in the list above) extensively, you don’t need to change themes to change designs.

Keep the design simple and focus on content.

Focus on looking professional not fancy. Keep it Simple and write content that answers your customer’s questions. Useful content trumps fancy design every time. If you give them the content they came looking for and they won’t care about the design.

Show customers who they’ll be dealing with.

Your website needs to show prospective customers who they’ll be dealing with. Use photos to introduce yourself and your staff. Display case studies, portfolios, and testimonials. Some businesses want to get their site visitors to join their mailing list so they can slowly convert them over time, other businesses ask site visitors to contact them right away. Designers build WordPress themes with all these needs in mind. All you need to do is add the right content.

The design of your website should enhance your content, the design should not draw undue attention to itself. Good web design draws the reader’s attention to the content. Make sure your site looks professional but highlights the content.

Special page templates.

Some themes have portfolio pages built in. If yours doesn’t, you can make your own portfolio, case study, and testimonial, pages using the WordPress block editor.

Organising content and navigation bars.

You need good navigation, archive pages, and scent trails. Organise your content carefully so site visitors can see what is, and is not, available on your website. Help readers quickly navigate to the content they need. Some big websites use mega menus.

Logos.

The designer sets your logo size and aspect ratio. Some themes have a specific size for the logo, others give you some leeway. But remember, many people view your site using a small mobile screen, so keep your logo small.

Load speed.

Some web designers focus on speed, making their themes load fast on viewers screens. Other web designers focus on fancy design. If you use fast web hosting, most popular themes will load quickly. But if you’re using cheap hosting, use a theme such as GeneratePress that loads quicker than average.

Full site editing.

The most recent version of WordPress includes a feature called full site editing. This is a brand-new idea and uses template parts to let the website owner design the header, footer, and sidebar areas of their website. There are many themes that do not yet support full site editing.

SEO settings.

Some themes have built in settings that help your website rank better in Google and the search engines. Even if your theme has SEO settings, you can still use a plugin like Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO makes optimising your web pages for Google much easier.

Content is king.

Whichever theme you choose, make sure you provide the content your site visitors came looking for. Your web design can display your content professionally, but content is king. It always was and always will be.

PS. If you haven’t set up your Google My Business page yet, do it now.

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