Selection of a theme is a crucial step towards developing an excellent website powered by WordPress. The theme determines not only the look and feel of the site, but it also affects loading time, search engine visibility and overall functionality of the website. There are many WordPress themes which require a learning curve for the developers before they can take full advantage of the same. Some of the themes may have an excellent design, but it can slow your site incredibly. Thus, you should spend significant time in selecting the right theme which meets your immediate requirement. It should also have enough flexibility to meet your long-term needs.
Here are five things to consider while choosing a WordPress theme for your next website:
WordPress Plugins are the heart and soul of the content management system. It helps you add new and powerful functionalities to your site in seconds. In fact, the real power of any WordPress site comes with plugins and not with themes. Thus, while selecting a theme, you must be aware of the plugins that it supports. Any website must require some plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast, W3 Total Cache, Backup Buddy, Gravity Forms, etc. to work properly. A good WordPress theme should support all popular plugins. Ask the theme developer about the supported plugins if you are not sure about the same.
Today, almost all sites attract a majority of traffic from smartphone and tablet devices. Thus, responsive design is no longer just an option. It is a must for your site if you want to succeed online. Thus, the theme must offer responsive design elements without making any changes in the code. Avoid a theme which requires changes in the code to make it responsive.
Not all WordPress themes are compatible with all internet browsers. A theme which looks excellent on Chrome may look distorted on Firefox. Some of the elements don’t load correctly on Internet Explorer or Safari. Thus, before purchasing a theme check its compatibility with all the browsers.
A Page Builder is a WordPress plugin which allows you to create beautiful pages using a drag and drop editor. It helps you design attractive products, services, and other pages in minutes and without writing a single line of code. A standard page builder comes with a number of modules as shown in the following image.
These modules help you create almost anything just by dropping the module on the page. Writing code to create these modules not only take a lot of time but it is also quite expensive.
Page builders are usually pre-installed with many WordPress themes. Some of these page builders can be used only by that theme developer. Thus, creating landing pages using such page builder's result into a lot of code. Also, if you decide to change the theme in the future, then it may be tough to migrate the site to the new theme which doesn't support that page builder. Thus, use themes which have page builders which are compatible with one of the most used page builder plugins. You can also purchase one of these page builders separately so that you can use them with other themes as well.
In software development, technical assistance and maintenance play a crucial role in the success of the overall project. No software development is a one-time thing. It requires constant upgrade and maintenance. Similarly, when you are building a website using a WordPress theme, you need a helping hand. Excellent support from theme developer will save you a significant cost and a lot of hassle. One of the biggest disadvantages of using free WordPress themes is that there is no guaranteed support. If you make any mistake or messed up with the theme then, you have to figure out everything on your own or hire a developer.
Therefore, buy a WordPress theme from a company that provides excellent support. Although the developers may not actively help you in customizing the theme, they assist you with the CSS and other basic technical things. They can also help you get out of a situation when you have made some mistakes in editing the theme.
A WordPress theme plays a critical role in search engine visibility of a website. Poorly written HTML5 code can be harmful to your site’s SEO even if the design of the theme looks excellent. Similarly, good architecture is very useful for a website’s visibility in the search engines. Beginners may find it difficult to assess the code of a theme and its implication for the SEO. That is why many premium WordPress theme developers specifically write that their theme is optimized for major search engines. Use W3C Markup Validation tool to see if the theme page generates proper HTML5 or not. Note that this W3C tool generates a lot of warnings which you don’t need to worry about.
Ratings and Reviews
Check recent rating and reviews of any theme before downloading or purchasing it. Almost all themes have some poor and excellent reviews. However, by going through the reviews in details, you may get to know about the problems faced by other users. You will also get an idea of theme developer’s promptness to help the customers.
Price shouldn’t be the sole criteria for choosing a particular theme. You must evaluate a WordPress theme in terms of the other parameters which are given in this article to find out its usability.