Many decisions go into creating a perfect WordPress website, from website content to implementations. While the whole process is different for everyone, finding the right WordPress theme is a common challenge.
A theme represents your website. It’s what your visitors interact with and remember. The look of your site does not only represent how people view your online presence, but it also represents your brand.
There are thousands of themes spread across marketplaces, from creators like single developers to whole organizations. Anyone can build a WordPress theme, and it might look like everyone has. Over the years, WordPress themes have become far more customizable. With this addition of editing, options are even more plentiful today.
Given all this, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. So how can you choose the best WordPress theme for your site?
We have discussed eight factors to consider when picking a theme to make the process easier.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are WordPress Themes?
- 2 Steps To Find the Best WordPress Theme
- 3 Take Your Time and Choose the WordPress Theme That Sets You Up for Success
What Are WordPress Themes?
A WordPress theme is a collection of styles and templates that will show what your website will look like. Every theme is different from each other and focuses on specific aspects, which makes the selection very difficult.
Each theme can be customized to a certain level. The most common elements you can customize are colors, font, and font size. If you have coding skills, you can also change the theme’s layout.
Besides this, every theme has a unique widget section. Some may come up with just a sidebar, while others may have multiple headers, footers, and sidebar. It all depends on the theme and its developer.
As the competition has become tougher over the years, many themes are being combined with plugins, especially premium themes, as they are often bundled with page builder plugins and other premium tools.
Steps To Find the Best WordPress Theme
Following are some factors you should consider when choosing WordPress themes.
Identify Your Needs
The phrase one size fits all doesn’t fit when selecting themes. The best theme for someone else can be the wrong theme for your website. Thus you need to understand your own needs before selecting a theme. For example, does your website need a single page or multiple page layout? It’s a simple question but can make a huge difference in the selection process, as single-page themes are lightweight, thus boosting the website’s performance.
Similarly, if you’re going to build an e-commerce website, selecting a blogging theme is a mistake.
Check the Reviews
Checking reviews is the best way to bring in the wisdom of people to help you make the right decision.
Luckily it’s easy to find reviews for most WordPress themes that you might be looking for.
If you’re looking for free themes, you can find ratings on the theme listing page. Similarly, if you’re looking for a premium theme sold through Themeforest, you can find the ratings in the sidebar.
You can also check out the comments, as these provide an insight into the quality of a theme.
Strive for Simplicity
Many WordPress themes come with complex layouts, colors, flashy animations, etc. Sometimes, you may need these themes, but in most cases, you don’t really need that.
Look for a theme with a decent design layout suitable for your website. It needs to look good without compromising on simplicity and usability. The purpose of the design is to help users find the information they are looking for and, at the same time, help the site owner to achieve the goal.
Make Sure It Is SEO Friendly
Your WordPress theme plays a crucial role in your site ranking. A poorly coded HTML behind a good-looking theme can affect your site’s performance on search engines.
However, it is difficult for beginners to analyze the code; that is why many premium themes will let you know it is optimized for SEO. But the best practice is to run some tests to validate.
You can see if the page generates proper HTML by checking it with the W3C markup validation service. Note that this tool generates many warnings, which are nothing to be worried about.
Check Responsive Design
Today, responsiveness is not optional anymore. A responsive theme can adjust the layout across different devices and sizes. In most cases, most of the traffic is generated from mobile. Fortunately, most modern themes are built to be responsive.
On top of this, there are different levels of responsiveness. So, how can you tell if a theme is designed responsively?
The simplest way is to test the demo site on your smartphone.
Any good theme has a premade demo site that shows what it can do. If it doesn’t, this is usually a red flag. If things look good, that’s a good sign, but if not, it’s not the end. There are many cases where this could be a bad demo site, but it’s always a good practice to check anyway.
Look Into Support Options
If you’re thinking about using a free theme, keep in mind that there is no guaranteed support. While some developers provide an excellent support option in some themes, most of the themes have no support option.
Most premium themes come with a few months of customer support, and after it expires, you will have the option to renew them monthly.
If somehow you mess up your WordPress theme, you will have two options; one is to figure it out on your own, second is to pay a third-party developer to solve this problem.
Make sure to select a theme that has detailed documentation and a good support option.
WordPress plugins are necessary for the functionality of your site. Your theme needs to be fully compatible with the most popular WordPress plugins or all the plugins you expect to use on your site.
A reputable theme will have this covered. If you’re browsing through unpopular themes, check if they are compatible with famous plugins. If not, it’s better to choose an alternative that does.
Make Sure It Is Updated Regularly
One of the main reasons users changed their theme is that it’s no longer supported. A theme that is not updated regularly is a security liability that can put you in trouble. So it’s better to check how often a theme is updated before selecting one.
Generally, a theme is updated every two to three months. And if it’s longer than that, you should probably stay away from it. You can check the theme’s description that includes the “last updated” attribute, which is a good indicator of whether a theme is consistently updated or not.
Unfortunately, many theme developers (both free and premium) do not state when they are ending support. At this point, the only option for you is to choose another theme. Thus you should make sure the developer has a good record.
Take Your Time and Choose the WordPress Theme That Sets You Up for Success
It’s always beneficial to put in research before selecting an option. By following these general tips mentioned above, you should be able to identify the best WordPress themes without dealing with any complications down the road.
After that, you need to customize the theme to create a unique experience to please your audience. And this is not a short process. Expect spending hours to get everything just right.
For the best outcome, you can combine your website with a reliable managed WordPress hosting by AEserver to boost your performance and eventually generate more traffic.
Good luck with choosing the best theme!