Starting a blog or website can be a difficult task, especially when you’re unsure of what steps to take. After deciding to create your own blog or website, what should you do next?
Perhaps the biggest question on your mind is choosing the suitable WordPress theme for your site.
Themes allow you to quickly and easily change the look of your new site. But deciding which ones you’ll use requires some thought and useful questions to ask yourself first. When choosing a theme, there are a few important pieces of information that can help you in the long run.
Each WordPress theme is different and works well with specific niches. There are a number of elements that you will need to be aware of when choosing a WordPress theme for your site. Understanding these concepts can help you create a unique website with a design that suits your needs.
Here are some elements to consider while you choose your WordPress theme:
Choose simple themes
Your themes have to be attractive, no doubt. However, they don’t have to be complex. Find themes with design layouts that will help you accomplish your goal without compromising on UX.
The aim of web design is to allow users to find the info they are searching for easily while simultaneously helping website owners attain their goals.
If your theme isn’t helping you attain subscribers or clients, then it is not suitable for your business. You should also not use a theme that makes it hard for users to navigate their way around your site.
At times you will need colorful themes or themes with complex layouts and flashy animations. But most of the time, you won’t need them.
Go for responsive themes.
When you have a responsive theme, you can adjust its layout and design on any screen or device. 50% of clients say that they will use a business website less if it is not mobile-friendly.
Having a responsive theme is crucial because Google has made it mandatory for sites to be fully mobile-responsive to rank higher on Google. Without a responsive theme, you will be losing out on a lot of traffic.
Avoid free WordPress themes that use fixed-width layouts that are not responsive. You can use a tool to check if the theme is mobile-responsive.
Run a browser compatibility test
Your theme may look good in a particular browser, but it may not be compatible with another browser. Since your users are going to browse your site using different browsers, it is crucial to run a browser compatibility test.
Most WordPress theme developers usually mention whether they have tested the themes for browser compatibility on their websites. Check the theme on popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. If you don’t see it, it is best to run a basic test yourself. Don’t skip to run the same test on mobile too.
Theme speed is crucial as you don’t want the theme you use to slow down your site. Not all WordPress themes are coded the same.
The way some themes are coded lets them load fast and smoothly. But in other themes, image-heavy designs are used that slows down your site. Apart from that, different code and script requests can also slow down your site.
Consider running a WordPress theme’s demo test. The test result will show if there are bad requests, poor codes, and so on.
If you find errors and still want to use the theme, first, fix the errors. But it is always better to find a well-coded theme from the start.
Use supported plugins
Does the WordPress theme you have chosen support popular WordPress plugins? With WordPress plugins, you can customize your design, boost your site’s performance, add additional features, and so on.
It is thus essential that the theme you choose supports popular plugins. Your theme developer can tell you whether it supports a particular plugin.
Also, see whether the theme you choose comes pre-installed with the plugins you are considering using.
The WordPress theme you choose is going to impact your site’s SEO friendliness. If your site has poorly-coded HTML, it is not going to rank well in the search engines.
The best WordPress developers usually cite that their themes are coded well and SEO-optimized. If it is not cited, use tools to check your theme’s HTML5.
Check ratings and reviews.
Before you choose a theme, ensure to have a look at its ratings and reviews. If it is a free WordPress theme, look for the ratings underneath the Preview and Download buttons.
If you are buying premium themes from a third party, check for customer reviews. Be careful while reading reviews, as some people will leave a negative comment if they can’t figure out how to use a product, no matter how brilliant the product may be.
Also, it is only natural to see a few negative reviews on a WordPress theme. So, in cases when the positive reviews surpass the negative ones, then don’t worry much and go ahead with the theme.
Look for support and updates.
Free themes usually don’t come with support. But you can always look at the WordPress.org forums for the chosen theme and observe if the developer quickly responds to queries and support requests.
But if you are purchasing a paid or premium theme, it should always offer superior support. For updates, have a look at the theme’s changelog. You will come to know whether the theme keeps developing or not.
It is crucial to install a theme that is actively maintained and keeps updating on a regular basis. It will ensure that your site stays secure and optimized. If you find a theme has not been updated for two or more years, it is better not to use it.
There are hundreds of free WordPress themes available on the internet, all offering different styles and approaches to web design. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with downloading a free theme to test it out for yourself, choosing the right one can be somewhat tricky.
You can spend hours and hours scouring through WordPress themes, or you can use these helpful tips that will help you find a suitable theme in no time.
Aanya Rachel is the Content Manager at The Address, a coworking space in Ahmedabad. She loves sharing her industry knowledge and insights on topics related to coworking, real estate, business, and startups. She enjoys live music, traveling, and reading comic books.