It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of available themes and customizations available for WordPress websites. Most beginners feel this way and often end up shying away from the platform for this reason. Every theme you see offers something new and looks just as good as the last. So how do you tell them apart and choose an appropriate theme for your purpose? Continue reading for our list of 9 things to look out for when selecting a WordPress theme for your website.
First a little bit of background information as to why you should do your research before you select a template theme. WordPress offers tons of options that cater to different users and markets. The theme you choose needs to complement your website, style or business. Think about your aim; are you hosting a blog, adding an e-commerce option to sell goods or services, creating a portfolio or creating one of many other types of websites?
WordPress themes offer loads of options and customizations, which if not coded correctly, can create issues down the road. Changing themes can be a bit tricky, causing you to be trapped in a theme or put you in a position where you may need to rework your website to suit a new theme.
Another potential pitfall is that some of the best looking themes can actually be the slowest performers. Users and Google search bots alike won’t tolerate a slow website so you need to pay attention to speed.
Your chosen theme is the ‘face’ you present to the online world so make your choice a great one.
1.) Simplicity is usually best
You should be wary of themes that are overloaded with colours, layout complexity or animations. Your theme should not be forcing anything like that on you right from the get go. Be conscious of how a theme will support your end goals and remember that simplicity goes a long way to creating something stylish and functional. Keep in mind that users are visiting your site to find information, so focus on content delivery rather than dressing things up to the point of clutter or confusion.
There are a handful of browsers that command respect due to the volume of users that browse on them. WordPress themes can look different when viewed on different browsers. Certain things that function perfectly in Google Chrome may not even work in Safari, for example. Make sure to choose only themes that have been put through extensive platform testing to ensure your website will work across the board.
3.) Responsiveness is now a necessity
More than half of your websites visitors will be coming from mobile devices so you need a theme that responds instantly to different platforms. Your layout must adjust automatically to various screen sizes and remain fully functional. Your website will not be shown in Google search results on mobile if it is not responsive or mobile ready. This will drastically affect your desktop search rankings as well. Today most themes are mobile friendly right out of the box but it is so important that we needed to mention it again.
4.) Plugin support
WordPress relies on its plugins. It is these plugins that allow you to customize and create your site the way you envisioned it so you need to choose only themes that support all the popular WordPress plugins. Speak with your web developer to be certain that your chosen theme is fully compatible.
5.) Speak the world’s language
Choose a theme that supports multilingual plugins and is translate compatible so that your page can be viewed in any language. Even if your business only operates in English, you never know what may happen down the road or who will come looking, so keep your options open.
6.) WordPress Page Builders
These plugins enable you to create via a drag and drop interface. Pre-installed page builder plugins are often found on premium themes and can be worth their weight in gold. This type of customization is normally best left to a professional web developer as it can quickly turn into a complex undertaking that generates a lot of additional code.
7.) Support for when you need it
It is recommend to use only premium WordPress themes because they almost always come with back end support if you run into trouble. It is possible to break your WordPress theme so it wont be functioning correctly. This is where you’ll need the help of the people who created it to put it back into place.
8.) SEO ready
How responsive and content heavy your theme is can play a big part in how SEO friendly your website will be. For example, you need properly coded HTML for your site to perform well on search engines. Most premium WordPress themes are fully optimized but having a web developer present to check the code may be beneficial. There are many external apps that can check your code for you but in our experience they throw up many errors that aren’t relevant or actually detrimental.
9.) Mind the ratings and reviews
WordPress themes are one of the most heavily reviewed and rated things on the Internet. Pay attention to star ratings and reviews to save yourself potential headaches with faulty themes. If you choose a 5-star theme you can be assured that it is working properly and won’t have any issues or bugs down the road. Stay away from the free themes for any website that matters and only look for premium themes. You get what you pay for.
Even with these tips and tricks on avoiding dud themes, WordPress can still get complicated quickly. Hiring a web developer or website designer to aid you in your task and help you create your website is a definite advantage. The cost may be higher up front but all it takes is a couple mistakes and you could be looking at substantial bills to fix your broken website. The world of WordPress themes awaits and will make the website of your dreams a reality.