15 Crucial Considerations While Picking the Best WordPress Theme
When it comes to choosing a WordPress theme, you have thousands of both free and paid options that often leave you feeling enormously overwhelmed and stressed. With a nearly unlimited pool of themes, sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and therefore are unable to recognize exactly which theme fits your specific business needs best. Isn’t it so?
Selecting a right theme for your WordPress-based business is almost like choosing a mate in your real life. If it’s good, it would make you. Otherwise, it may even break you. Therefore, to save you from those mind blasting situations of getting confused and feeling irritated, I’ve set out some questions to ask yourself during the theme selection process. While you’re in search of a perfect WordPress theme for your business, “consider these questions to narrow your options”.
Do You Know the Core Objective of Your Site?
The first and foremost thing I want your focus on is the purpose of your site. Before you’re going to do some research to find a high-quality WordPress theme, you must have a clear idea of what crucial aspects of your site are and exactly what kind of theme you’re looking for. The best way to know the objective of your site is to make a list of your desired features. Doing so would definitely help you make a perfect theme selection.
Is the Theme Responsive?
Responsiveness is the next big thing! In the era of mobiles, if your site doesn’t have responsive design, you’ll be missing out on a massive influx of traffic and sales. A recent Google survey revealed that 82% of sites use responsive web design. So before you fall in love with any theme, check whether or not it’s responsive. To check the responsiveness of any theme, you can take advantage of Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
Does It Best Describe Your Budget?
Budget matters! Before jumping into the process of theme selection, decide what kind of theme you want to go with: free or premium. While most people prefer to use free themes, premium themes have their own advantages like professional design, rock-solid support and extensive documentation, which free themes usually don’t. In my opinion, you should prefer premium themes. However, it’s always better to opt for a high-quality free theme than a low-quality premium theme.
How Fast Is It?
While you choose a theme, you must check how much time it takes to load. Not only a blazing fast website gets ranked higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) but also delivers end users an incomparable experience by making content available to them as fast as possible. To find out whether your selected theme is designed to load fast or not, test the page speed of its demo URL using tools such as GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom Website Speed Test.
Is It Search Engine Optimized?
While WordPress by default is search engine friendly, unfortunately not every WordPress theme is built with best SEO practices in mind. Most of the themes are not coded in such a way that they could make it easy for search engines to digest a website’s content. Therefore, it becomes crucial to ensure whether or not your selected theme is developed in accordance with semantic HTML and web standards for getting maximum exposure in search engine results.
Does It Have Built-in Social Media Options?
Social media is a great way to drive a huge amount of traffic, engage with your audience and build brand awareness. There are many free and premium social media plug-ins offering you a plenty of social media functionalities, but most of them require some customization and are built to slow down your website. So it’s much better to use a social media ready theme since the beginning than later installing various plug-in to integrate social media with your site. Aim for a theme that has perfect social media integration.
Is It Optimized for Monetization?
Are you interested in placing advertisements on your site to generate passive income? If yes, then you need to check if the theme you’ve decided to stick with is designed with monetization in mind. Before picking a theme, decide how many ad units of what size you want to display on your site. Go for a theme that has enough room to serve advertisements. However, you should always bear in mind that too many ad units may distract the mind of your visitors and lead to bad user experience.
Does It Include a Child Theme?
A child theme is considered the best way to modify a WordPress theme as per a website’s requirements without the fear of losing changes due to an update. It doesn’t only speed up development time but also provides you with a learning curve for WordPress theme development. As well, you don’t have to mess up with the code of parent theme to make any design customizations to your site. Thus, it’s always beneficial to consider a theme’s support for child themes.
Is It Easily Customizable?
Many themes offer a “theme options panel” to save you the hassle of jumping into the code to make minor changes to the look and functionality of your site. Those kinds of themes are best to move forward with since they offer you a room for growth right from your WordPress dashboard. Just know, a good WordPress theme is widget compatible and always supports Customizer. If not, it’s certainly not worth using.
Is It Simple, Clutter Free and Easy to Use?
Always strive for simplicity! Does the theme that you’re interested in have a cluttered user interface with complex functionalities? Is it easy to navigate? How comfortable would a user feel while browsing your website with a particular theme? All these questions are worth considering before you download or purchase a theme. In short, picking an elegant, clean and user-friendly theme should be your first priority.
How Secure Is It?
If the theme of your choice doesn’t get regular updates or is not compatible with the most recent version of WordPress, chances are it would have numerous security loopholes. So before you get stuck with a theme, ensure if it is secure enough to stand against malicious attacks. As most of the free themes usually have security vulnerabilities, from the security point of view, it would be better for you to purchase a premium theme built by a reputable developer.
Is It Able to Stand the Test of Time?
Is the theme you’re planning to purchase future-proof? Would it help you grow your business with time? Would it meet your future needs? Is it crafted with your future audience in mind? Would the author provide free regular updates in future? Ask yourself such questions in order to avoid facing any unwanted troubles in future. Remember, a good theme is one that gives you wings to fly instead of limiting you.
Does It Offer Consistent Support and Detailed Documentation?
Consistent free support and extensive documentation: these two things must not be overlooked at any cost while picking a theme. Where well-written documentation helps you get most out of the theme, high-quality support lets you make any theme customization by yourself without fear of “getting stuck into code”. Be it free or premium, go for a theme that ships with extensive documentation and offers active support either via a public forum or email ticketing system or live chat.
Have You Checked Out Live Demo?
Before you make any purchase decision, I strongly suggest you to go through the demo of your selected theme. This way, you would be able to have an idea of how it looks and functions across multiple devices and browsers. Be sure to test theme’s features like browser compatibility, responsiveness, navigation, layout, user-friendliness etc. before buying it. Go with a theme that has been built with “seamless user experience” in mind.
Have You Taken a Look At Reviews?
Last but not the least, have you checked out what other buyers think of your favorite theme? What star rating does it have? How many times has it been downloaded? Is there any negative feedback about it? Consider such questions to decide if a theme is worth to download or purchase. Also, go through professional reviews to have an idea about usability, flexibility and security of a particular theme.