When choosing a theme for your WordPress website, most beginners may not find their way. After all, with thousands of free and paid options on the market, each theme looking better than the other, how exactly can you choose the best WordPress theme?
In this article, we will share some important things to consider when buying a theme so as not to make you waste a lot of time, effort, and even money in the process.
Why you should choose WordPress themes carefully
WordPress can be used to create various types of websites, so each theme caters to a different market. The theme you choose should complement the content of your website, for example, if you are starting a blog about economic or social issues, then a theme that helps improve readability is needed.
Many WordPress themes come with a lot of customization options, but if the coding is not perfect, these options make it difficult for you to change the theme or even create conflicts with other plugins. You will be stuck with this theme or have to pay the developer to help switch. In addition, some themes that look good can actually slow down your site, and no one likes a slow site, especially search engines, which prefer faster sites and rank them at the top of the search results page.
Your theme is the face of your WordPress website and is crucial in the eyes of users and search engines. You may have heard the saying.
All that glisters is not gold.
What glitters is not necessarily gold.
Having said that, let's take a look at the next steps that need to be taken in order to choose the most appropriate theme for your WordPress website.
- the simpler, the better
Many WordPress themes come with rich colors, complex layouts, and flashy animations, which sometimes you may need, but in most cases, you don't actually need.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
The most complicated is the most simple.
Leonardo da Vinci
The design layout of the theme should help you achieve your goals, look good, and not compromise usability and simplicity. Make sure the presentation style is not overly complex, the purpose of web design is to help users find the information they need and at the same time help the site owner achieve their goals.
If a topic looks good, but doesn't help you get new business or new customers, then it's a bad option. Also, it's a bad omen when your visitors can't find valuable content on your site quickly.
- Responsive design
Adaptive themes can automatically adjust the layout on different screen sizes and devices. Smartphones and other handheld devices generate a lot of web traffic, and depending on the website theme you choose, this number may even exceed 50% of the total traffic.
Google displays pages optimized for mobile devices at the top of mobile search results, so it is imperative that whatever your site's theme and demographic distribution, it is responsive in design and fully supports mobile devices.
By default, most WordPress themes are already responsive, but there are still sellers who are selling fixed layouts that are not accessible for mobile devices. An easy way to test if a theme is responsive is to resize your browser, and you will notice that the theme layout automatically adjusts to the screen width. For a more comprehensive test, you can copy the link to the theme demo page and paste it into this Google page for testing:.
Please note that this test will show some warnings, regardless of how good or bad the theme is. The red markers are the ones that need to be noticed, such as text too small, content beyond the screen, etc.
- Browser compatibility
Your users will be using different browsers, some themes may look perfect in some browsers but have problems in others, this is the result of browser compatibility issues.
Most developers use sophisticated tools to rigorously test their themes, and they may mention this explicitly in their documentation, but if not, you can run some basic tests on your own to check on different browsers, including
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
- Internet Explorer
- Also, don't forget to test on different browsers on mobile devices.
- Supported plug-ins
The biggest advantage of WordPress is the variety of powerful plugins that allow you to perform almost any action on your WordPress site. Although there are a large number of plugins to choose from, some are a must for every website, such as Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache, Sucuri and many more.
Make sure your WordPress theme supports all popular plugins, if you are not sure, ask the developer.
- The best WordPress plugins recommended
- translation + multilingual
WordPress was originally developed in English, but now supports almost every major language in the world. Again, there are many WordPress sites in languages other than English and Chinese, and you may be able to create a site in languages other than these two, and perhaps you will launch a multilingual site in the future.
Please make sure your WordPress theme supports multilingual plugins (e.g. WPML).
- Page Editor
Page Editor is a special WordPress plugin that allows you to create page layouts using drag-and-drop tools. Many premium themes come with a page editor pre-installed, but some of them are only used by theme developers.
Creating pages with such an editor will generate a lot of unwanted code, and if you ever switch themes, those pages will need a lot of cleanup. The theme you choose should come with one of the most common page editors, being too cold will cause scalability troubles, also, you can buy the editor separately to use with other themes.
- The best WordPress page editor recommendations
- Support Options
One of the drawbacks of free themes is the lack of updates and support guarantees, and while some developers offer excellent support services for their free themes, most are not. If you mess up your website, you will have to fix it yourself, and sometimes you may have to pay a third-party developer to fix seemingly trivial problems.
Great premium themes have good documentation and subscription options usually offer 1 year of email-based support, with lifetime support available for a one-time payment.
- SEO friendliness
WordPress themes play a crucial role in the SEO (search engine optimization) of a website, but seemingly beautiful themes can still generate incorrectly coded HTML, which can affect a website's ranking on search engines.
It may be difficult for beginners to analyze the source code of a theme on their own, so many developers will make it clear that they are optimized for SEO. You can also check with the W3C markup validation service to see if the page is generating correct HTML5, but please note that W3C tools may generate a lot of warnings and there is no need to worry.
- user rating
Another reliable indicator of a theme's quality is the reviews and star ratings provided by users, and you will see this information if a theme is sold on a third-party marketplace (e.g. ThemeForest). Almost all WordPress themes will get some bad reviews, and you should read them carefully if the number of bad reviews is excessive.