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Best WordPress Themes for African Businesses

Have you ever noticed that many of Africa's most innovative and game changing companies run on a WordPress site?

Be it Mark Zuckerberg's foundation first investment company Andela, fintech pioneer Ilovezoona, Nigeria's buychat, Google Pitch drive winner Prepclass, Ghana's Kudobuzz, as well as wildly African tech blog Techcabal. Beyond that you have some big names like Forbes Africa or Quartz Africa running on WordPress.

Andela WordPress

Andela invested part of $24 million dollar investment of the Zuckerberg Chan foundation in building a WordPress Site

According to Forbes 25% of all internet sites are run on WordPress and more than 75 million websites. It is not really surprising as WordPress comes with many advantages. It is easy to use, it can handle multiple users, can be managed from any online device, search engine's love WordPress sites and there is a huge support community around WordPress offering helpful tutorials on all things WordPress related.

PROS

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    open source structure 
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    ease of use
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    low cost
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    SEO-friendly

CONS

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    easy to find security loopholes
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    Internal API inconsistency
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    Regular Updates needed

WordPress is so big that many applications around the internet cater towards it. For example, web hosting provider Bluehost has a special WordPress hosting offer that includes the domain, a free SSL certificate, 24/7 support and a 1-click install for only $2.95. 

In addition, there are hundreds of blogs that cover WordPress in a lot of depth while in communities like Envato you can hire freelancers or WordPress experts to work on your WordPress site should you not have a particular skill set within your business. Alternatively, you can join one of the several WordPress meetups across Africa.

If you have made the decision to build your business on WordPress then one of the things you will need to consider is what the website will look like. In other words, you will need some sort of "clothing" for your site that it gives it a particular look and structure as well as functionalities.

ilovezoona wordpress

If ilovezoona wanted a different look, a new WordPress Theme could help

This is where WordPress Themes come in and here we will take a look at the best WordPress Themes for African businesses. There are tons of free WordPress Themes and many premium WordPress Themes so you will need to decide whether a professional Theme with great support is something that you want to invest in.

How to choose the best WordPress Theme?

Before you decide on the best WordPress Theme for your business there are some factors you might want to consider.

First of all you should think about what kind of business you are. If you are an e-commerce business then you should look for a WordPress Theme with e-commerce functionality whereas if you are a business in the fintech space you might not need e-commerce functionality. Here it is really important to think about your business goals and what the needs of your target audience may be.

Secondly, you need to think about what kind of functionality you want on your site and see whether the required plugins are compatible with your WordPress Theme for your business. Also, if you need your website to be in a particular language or even multiple languages make sure your desired Theme supports such a functionality.

One of the things that makes WordPress really powerful is the multitude of plugins that you can integrate into your business for free or at some cost. Plugins give you the option to extend the functionality of your website. For example, they can include a Wordpress chat plugin like livechat that allows you to talk directly to your visitors while they visit your website or accepting payments on your website. Therefore, when deciding on the best WordPress Theme for your business you want to make sure that it integrates with all popular plugins.

Checklist

Here is a valuable checklist for you to go through before investing in a WordPress Theme for your business.

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    Make a list of all functionalities and corresponding plugins you want to integrate on your website and make sure it works with your desired WordPress Theme
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    Make sure it is mobile responsive
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    Make sure the Theme is compatible with a variety of different browsers
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    Make sure your Theme comes with great support - including documentation, how to videos, forums etc.
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    Check the reviews and ratings of your desired WordPress Theme

2 of the best WordPress Themes for African businesses

You are really spoilt for choice when it comes to WordPress Themes you can use to set up the website for your business. There are countless free WordPress Themes as well as vast array of premium WordPress Themes that will cost you money.

Here we will look at a select few premium WordPress Themes you may want to consider. If none of those are the right for your business, there are plenty more options out there and countless free ones at that.

Thrive Themes

The blog you are reading happens to use a premium WordPress Theme called Thrive Themes and we are really very happy with it. It has everything we currently need and more. It may not be the most stylish WordPress Theme out there, but the main goal of Thrive Themes is to be conversion focused and we like conversions:-)

Currently, Thrive Themes offers 10 different WordPress Themes. Granted it is not a big selection compared to some other options out there such as Elegant Themes which has over 87 WordPress Themes to choose from. But you buy Thrive Themes because you want to buy into a suite of compatible products like the newly released Page Builder Thrive Architect, the Headline Optimizer, Thrive Leads, Landing Pages or Thrive Quiz and many others. 

best wordpress themes for african businesses


The 10 Thrive Themes that are available for Thrive members

What makes Thrive Themes a premium WordPress Theme and such a great choice is that all their Themes are built to be speed optimized. And this is very important as nearly 50% of all web users abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. As such all Thrive Themes come with automatic image compression and lightweight code to make sure your business website loads as fast as possible.

With Thrive Themes you can also customize your business website to your heart's content as they offer you a choice of over 600 different fonts, multiple header layouts as well as giving you the ability to customize the colour for different page elements. 

In an age where mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic it is critical to have a mobile responsive website. So you will be very happy to learn that Thrive Themes are all built to be mobile responsive including the ability to customize your website for desktop, mobile and tablet users.

A great win for Thrive Themes is that they come with many features that replace the need to have separate plugins and thus slowing down your business website even further. These features include a social sharing feature, optimized image galleries, a font manager and many more.

By far the best thing about Thrive Themes is the Thrive Membership.

Thrive is a bit similar to Apple where you can get access to many complementary products at a very competitive price. That is why we went ahead and purchased the Thrive Membership which at the time of writing costs $228 per annum.

And you know what?

Investing in a premium WordPress Theme like Thrive was a totally worthwhile investment. The value derived from the Thrive Membership is far beyond what we have paid for it, because all their other products are superb too and complement each other. 

Thrive Membership Africa

Thrive Themes products are built to integrate seamlessly with many essential tech tools that you will need to build and scale your business across Africa and beyond. Tools such as Amazon web, services, facebook or Infusionsoft.

The support at Thrive Themes can be a bit slow at times, but no company and product is perfect. All our issues have been solved efficiently within an acceptable time. 

The actual WordPress Theme we are currently using is called Rise (you should not be surprised with a name like Rise Africa Rise:-). Like all other Thrive Themes it is optimized for speed, is fully mobile responsive, features extensive admin options and has a Visual Theme Customizer. Therein, Thrive Themes have made using any other visual composer with WordPress surplus to requirements.

Finally, an important aspect about Thrive Themes and Thrive Membership is that you can find a lot of videos online about how to use their products to use them in the best way possible for your business. Many videos are produced by the Thrive Themes team themselves, while many are also produced by the legions of convinced Thrive Themes fans. 

Having said that you also get access to Thrive University which offers video lessons on different parts of running a successful online business like building an evergreen sales funnel, how to build a mailing list, how build high converting landing pages and many others.

Thrive University Africa

A small selection of the courses you get as part of Thrive University

The best way to find out whether Thrive Themes is right for your business is to give Thrive Themes a try today! Luckily, there is no risk involved for your business as they offer a 30 day no questions asked refund policy.

Elegant Themes

If you have been browsing the internet for the best WordPress Themes chances are that you have come across Elegant Themes.

At the time of writing, Elegant Themes offer 87 WordPress themes and five plugins including email opt-ins and social media sharing. Although their suite of products is not as extensive as the one from Thrive Themes you get access to their flagship theme called Divi. With its multi-functionality and style it has established itself as a popular choice for many internet sites. You can create any type of website you imagine with Divi including an e-commerce website.

Similarly to Thrive Themes, you do not need to be a coder to make use of the Theme as there is a drag and drop functionality that can be used to build a website. Check out the image below to get an idea of their drag and drop functionality.

Divi backend Africa

One of the most important features Divi offers is the Divi Lead tool which allows you to split-test your website design and content. If you know anything about doing business online, then you know that you need to be constantly testing your layout, call-to-actions and messaging. All of this has an impact on your business' bottom line which is why this a big advantage of Elegant Themes and Divi.

As such, Elegant Themes is a great theme for African startups who may not have a web developer on hand to build their website or ask themselves how to build a WordPress website from scratch. Although there is a learning curve involved in using Elegant Themes it is possible to learn it through self-study and YouTube videos

Divi Africa

Whether Elegant Themes is the better option for your business than Thrive Themes is difficult to say as it depends on variety of different factors. To reiterate one of the most important parts of a successful business is testing things out, so you will be glad to learn that Elegant Themes has a demo site where you can test out their Divi Theme. Test it to your heart's content and then decide for yourself whether it suits your business needs.

WordPress Customization

It is possible that the best WordPress Theme for your business is a customized Theme because of special requirements or simply because you have a particular taste. 

If you do not have the skillset for WordPress customization in your business you can go to a marketplace like Envato and hire people with the required skills to build a customized WordPress Theme for you. As a guideline you can expect to pay around $50 an hour for a WordPress developer.

envato wordpress customization

Hire freelancers and wordpress experts to customize your WordPress site according to your business needs

Here you will have a big choice of candidates that offer customized WordPress Theme development. As such it is highly recommended to check their references and ask to see their previous work. Also keep in mind that you will need to supply a brief and the more clear it is the better the outcome for your business. It can be helpful to give examples of what you expect and what you do not expect.

When working on your business website, and in particular when hiring external developers to do so, it is highly recommended that you backup your WordPress website in case something goes wrong. The best WordPress backup plugin currently known to us is called BackupBuddy. It backs up your entire WordPress installation, making sure you have a copy of all your WordPress website files.

Conclusion

As you saw many of Africa's most innovative businesses chose WordPress to build their company websites. Given the many advantages WordPress offers and the large percentage of internet websites that are powered by WordPress this is not a surprise. So what's stopping your business from following the path that others have taken before you? It is easy to get started with WordPress, it is low cost, there are a huge variety of free and paid WordPress Themes available, you can extend the functionality of your business website with countless plugins and there is a huge eco-system of WordPress developers as well as resources out there. Download our WordPress Tools List to build the best possible website for your business.

About the Author Rise Africa Rise

Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to social entrepreneurship, technology and social innovation in Africa. Our aim is to provide you with valuable information, content and opportunities to support you in achieving positive social impact with your venture.

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