How & Why You Should Consider an Alternate Header for Your WordPress Theme

HeaderHave you heard of people telling you to use alternate headers for your WordPress theme? It may make you reminisce about the times when people would use a different look on each page and how old school this is.

Myspace is one spot you may be remembering for a time that focused on this. In reality, there’s a practical reason to why you should consider using an alternate header for your WordPress theme and it’s not simply to cure your viewer’s appetite for entertainment. In reality, using an alternate header is practical, especially for an ecommerce site in which you need your customers to complete the checkout process. Take a closer look at why you may be wise to consider an alternate header for your WordPress theme and how you can easily do so.

What the buying process looks like for your e-commerce site

When your customer finds their way to your website and decides to do some shopping, they can browse your site for stuff available to buy. The problem comes when a customer doesn’t complete the sale or can’t figure out or how to complete the process. The last thing a website owner wants is for customers to abandon their shopping cart without making the sale.

Alternate HeaderOne reason this may happen is because websites are overwhelming their customers with too many advertisements and product suggestions at checkout, making it difficult to stay focused on the task. Using an alternate header may be what it takes to avoid distracting your customers from completing the purchase.

If you continue to keep a busy amount of products and advertisement on your site but choose to have them hidden during the checkout process, you shouldn’t have any issues with customers completing their purchase. Your customers don’t want to see them anymore once they’ve chosen their products and want to see the checkout page looking clean and simple. With a distracted customer at checkout, you are likely to lose out on a sale. This is where the alternate header comes in.

What does an alternate header do?

An alternate header is meant to be what simplifies the layout of your checkout pages. You can use this as an opportunity to remove anything that could be a distraction to your customer being able to successfully making their purchase. If it’s not going to contribute to the checkout process, get it out of the way. Some people choose to remove items like the cart icons, navigation, advertisements, and any other clutter. Simply leave your logo and your branding so that checkout is cleaner.

Then, do the same with your sidebars and footer. You can be more flexible by including values, security, and guarantees in the footer, but cleanup is important. You’ll have to make some code updates but they are really not difficult.

How do I create an alternate header for my WordPress theme?

WordPressOnce you’ve decided that you are going to create an alternate theme, you can do so by following a few steps. Simply look for the functions in your template file within WordPress that say things like get_sidebar or get_header. This is where you can add custom headers. All you need to do is copy the header.php file, rename it to “header-checkout.php” and then go to the customer page template to alter the “get_header()” to “get_header(checkout).” This command will tell it to look for the file that you just created instead of the default file.

It’s really not too hard to simplify your header, footer, and sidebar in your WordPress theme. Your customers will love it and you’ll be relieved that you aren’t causing a lack of sales. Make these updates and you’ll find that the alternate header is a great way to boost sales and keep your customers happy.

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