Personalizing your WordPress account may sound easy having so many amazing themes available at your disposal. But the truth is that unlimited choices can do more harm than good.
Quite often, users opt for a beautiful and eye-appealing theme, without considering the fact that it may not suit their specific needs.
Or even worse – they can end up choosing an inactive and low-quality one, discovering this only when it’s too late. With so many options involved, the first thing you should think about is not what you want or like, but what your website really needs.
You may question yourself:
‘What am I supposed to pay attention at?’
If you can answer this question, it’s great! It means that you can save your precious time and efforts which, otherwise, may end up being wasting on fixing an unresponsive theme in the future.
If you can’t, let’s see the key points on which you should focus when choosing the right theme:
Responsiveness and responsive design are not desirable – they are indispensable! Responsive design will help you stand out from the old fashioned websites and gain your customers’ interest and loyalty. But most of all, having a responsive design shows your visitors that you use the most up-to-date tools and functionalities. Through this, you can gain their trust and build a successful relationship.
Since users tend to abandon traditional desktop devices and shift to handheld ones, offering an ultimate mobile experience is essential.
Luckily for you, today’s most reputable themes usually guarantee both mobile and tablet responsiveness. But before making your final decision, check if the theme you’ve chosen really has a responsive design. The best way to do it is to run a demo version of the theme through Google’s Mobile-Friendly test tool.
The theme should be suitable for the type of website you intend to build
The idea of a successful online presence is not merely about building a unique and breathtaking website. Some users have the tendency to ‘fall’ for seductive and stunning solutions, even when they’re not completely sure if the themes are compatible with the website they want to build.
Do you prefer tall headers? Are you going to display lots of photos? Do you need wide or narrow columns?
For example, food websites need themes that must display bigger homepage thumbnails through which they can draw attention towards their main dishes.
In many cases, clients won’t hit the ideal theme at their first attempt. Shoehorning your web portfolio into a beautiful and functional template can be very tricky, and may require additional off-shell repurposing of your theme.
The hazard in the case is that by doing modifications, you risk losing some benefits you could get after purchasing the theme that doesn’t need custom work.
The theme should match your brand image
The main reason why you’re building a website is that you need to expand your brand. Users continue their shifting to online shopping, and you should remember that your website will be the first encounter between them and your brand.
This encounter is essential for making a great impression. This means that you must select a theme that will best represent your brand and your unique value proposition.
The connection between usability, speed, and SEO
Web design should be created for website’s visitors and their user experience. This means that you should think about choosing a theme that is functional, rather than beautiful.
The connection between usability and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very strong. A better user experience will make your visitors return to your website or share your content, thus, will help it improve its ranking on search results page.
Speed and loading time shouldn’t be neglected either. Sometimes, speed may be the single factor that determines whether a theme is usable or not. Even though the loading time of your site mainly depends on your hosting provider, you should also think about choosing a reputable theme with clean codes which will ensure quick loading of your website.
One of the main theme features you should pay attention to is ‘SEO ready’ or ‘SEO optimized’. Even if you find such mentions on the theme’s landing page, don’t take it this feature for granted. Sometimes, this is only a trick designers use to sell their themes. You should check whether they’ve actually considered SEO ready before investing your money in that theme.
Support and automatic upgrades
You can have the most stunning website ever, but if you won’t be able to rely on a 24/7 customer support, your experience will certainly be ruined. This is why it’s very important to choose a company that provides you a dedicated and professional customer service. You can look up some open support forums or customer service communities to get a real insight about how that company deals with queries and support requests.
Integration with social media
You should not surpass the social media presence trend, especially if you intend to run blogs or complex corporate websites that require many users and social mentions. The more people get on board to participate in your discussions, to like, share, or comment your posts, the more popular your brand will become.
Luckily, that can be easily achieved if your theme has effective social media integration and social buttons. These features will help you increase your page views and sharing repetitiveness.
Compatibility and 3rd party plugin support
In an ideal world, your WordPress theme and your 3rd party plugin will work perfectly together and you wouldn’t have to worry about their integration ever again. But unfortunately, you must take care of this issue in advance, by choosing a theme that’s compatible with the plugins you intend to use.
Plugin compatibility may not always be clearly displayed on the theme’s features list. Thus, before buying the theme, contact support and check if you can count on this compatibility.
One of the most appreciated characteristics of a high rated website is its wide customization options, that allow you to modify site elements the way you like. The ability to adjust basic main items, like logos, colors, fonts, buttons etc, is quite enough. You shouldn’t spend a fortune on overwhelming options you’ll probably never use or complex themes that don’t allow you to easily make simple changes.
Neither your stunning layout nor your high-quality content won’t substitute the lack of easy navigation on your website.
You need to structure your content to make it easily recognizable and intuitive to find, with accessible social buttons. Your website should create an overall non-cluttered feeling from the very first moment a user visits it.
Easy navigation is the best way to make your online presence productive, so make sure you’re actually providing it on your website.
A futuristic approach
This is not something many customers consider: ‘Is the theme I want to buy capable of following my website’s evolution?’. Usually, customers start with small sites and few simple pages, but as their businesses grow, they need to shift towards a more robust theme.
The best way to choose a theme that will follow your development flow is to check if it has a simple navigation structure and well-organized layouts. It’s much better to purchase this type of theme in advance, instead of losing months in maintenance or making radical changes once your brand will be on the market.
Choose a well-known supplier
Shopping from reputable and large brands is the best way to get quality, support, and protection. Deciding to buy a theme from unknown developers sounds like a unique idea, but it’s risky and hazardous. By doing real-time shopping in design agencies you can overlook some key features, so make sure you do proper online research before the purchase. Forums with feedback, ratings, and reviews will help you check whether the theme is good and fits your business.
By focusing on these key factors when choosing your WordPress theme, you will lower the risk of incompatibility. It will save you both time and money by preventing future adjustments or changes. If you’ve encountered some other specific particularities or difficulties when selecting the best WordPress theme for your business, feel free to share it with us through a comment.
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