WordPress, as an open source software, is free of charge and provides users with a number of plugins as well as multiple themes to choose from. Many people love it because of the relatively simple code, the beautiful site architecture and the fact that they don’t need to have any programming skills in order to be capable of editing the content.
Besides that, there is a large online community of developers in the world who are trying to continuously improve the platform. An important feature is that WordPress provides a good basis for SEO optimization.
WordPress allows a dozen of free themes that users can choose from, and that makes the process of finding the perfect theme very difficult. Every theme is beautiful in its own way and targets a particular type of industry. The theme that you will choose needs to be complimentary the content that you will provide to the readers and represent your business in the right way.
Almost all WordPress themes are built to provide flexibility and customization. But, if they are not coded properly you may struggle to find how to customize them. Also, you need to make sure that the website will be fast and that it will provide an excellent user experience.
That’s why you should keep in mind the following things when choosing a WordPress theme:
1. Strive for Simplicity
Make sure that you will choose a theme that will be visually appealing. But, a crucial thing is to be simple enough so the visitors can easily find their way through the site’s architecture.
Many WordPress themes offer a lot of animations and complex menus and in most cases, you won’t need any of them. The purpose of any website is to help users to find some kind of information, and if the user struggles in the process of finding the required information he will leave your site and try to find the easier way to achieve its goal.
So, keep in mind that the theme doesn’t only need to look good, but it also needs to be simple and functional.
As the number of hand-held devices increases daily, most of your target population will try to reach your website through some type of mobile device. That’s why a very important feature of every theme is the responsiveness. You need to make sure that your website will be responsive to all type of devices i.e. that it will be capable of adjusting the layout according to the screen size of the device.
Make sure that the WordPress theme that you will purchase is not with a fixed size layout. If you are not sure whether the theme is responsive or not, you can find out be resizing your browser. If the layout adjusts its size to the size of the browser, it means that the theme is responsive.
3. Browser Compatibility
Another thing to keep in mind is that the visitors of your website may use different kinds of browsers. There is a possibility that your theme will look perfect on the browser that you are using, but may look completely different on another browser.
That’s the reason why you need to test the theme on different browsers. The browser compatibility may be mentioned as a feature when you purchase the theme, but if it’s not then you must test it by yourself.
Try how it is going to look (both on laptop and mobile device) when opened from some of the most used web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Firefox.
4. Supported Plugins
The plugins are special features, that don’t come in the package with the basic WordPress elements but are a key element for the effective functioning of the site. Their main purpose is to improve the site in the form of functionality, performance, and security.
It is believed that there are currently several tens of thousands of plugins for WordPress. Of course, you will need a few basic plugins, but later you can decide on your own which ones you are going to add additionally in order to improve the functionality of the site.
Always make sure that your theme supports most of the existing plugins.
5. Translational ready theme
If you want to target populations from different countries, you’ll want to create a website that can be easily translated to the language of the visitor. That’s why you need to make sure that your theme can be easily translated and that it supports multilingual WordPress plugins.
6. Page builders
The page builders allow the usage of drag and drop interface. Like that the user can easily create different page layouts. Some of the WordPress themes are coming with built-in page builders. But, there is one drawback regarding these page builders. The thing is that they can produce a lot of unwanted code that can make a struggle the processes of switching to a new theme. If you want to use a page builder you can also purchase it separately from the theme.
7. SEO friendliness
Although the theme that you like looks good, it may still have a poorly coded HTML. This can lately affect the performance of your site on the search engines.
If you don’t have any programming skills, it may be extremely hard for you to analyze the source code, and that’s why you need to make sure that the theme is labeled as optimized for SEO.
8. Look through the rating and reviews
One of the best ways to make sure that the theme is satisfactory and created with high quality is by looking through the reviews provided from people that are already using it.
You can see their ratings and comments and find out what they liked and what they didn’t like in the given theme. Like that you will draw a conclusion on your own and decide whether you want to purchase the theme or not.
9. Balance between aesthetics and functionality
It is normal that the theme should be visually appealing in order to attract readers. You may encounter themes that look good to the eye but are poor with additional features.
In a situation when you don’t have a lot of programming knowledge it is preferable to choose a theme that looks good but lacks in functionality.
That is because the functionality can be easily improved by incorporating additional plugins that are easy to install, but the process of changing the design will be hard if you don’t have any CSS knowledge.
The change of the entire layout of the theme can be an extremely hard process and that’s why you should choose the theme wisely. Always try to achieve balance among the aesthetics and the functionality.
Before you choose a WordPress theme, make sure that you can easily accommodate it according to your needs and preferences. This is extremely important in the case when you don’t have any skills with the CSS language.
You need to be assured that you will be able to customize the colors, fonts, headers, logos, add images and videos without any problems. Otherwise, you will be stacked and unable to create the type of design that you were aiming for.
A great thing is that through blogging you can make money – by advertising. If you use a theme as a portfolio site we need to mention that it doesn’t feature adverts, if you want to earn money on that way. By using Google AdSense you can monetize your website if you use a theme that is optimized for monetization.
12. Social media plugins
Social media plugins are a great way to increase the web traffic. These plugins may come as a part of the theme, and if they don’t, you can install them additionally.
When choosing a WordPress theme, you should always check whether it has built-in social media buttons. If they already exist it will save you a lot of time and struggle.
If your theme has these buttons it means that you won’t need to purchase the plugins for them separately and you won’t waste time by designing them on your own.
13. Last update time
If you are looking for a WordPress theme for the first time you will probably pay attention to the date of creation of the theme. You are wrong. It is not important when was the theme created, but it is important when the theme was updated for the last time.
The developer of the theme must keep the pace with the development of the technology and the newest trends and incorporate them into his theme. If the theme has not been updated for more than a year, it means that it has some problems with its functionality and security.
As a conclusion, always check the time of the last update and skip the themes that are not updated for a longer time.
14. Frequently Asked Questions
Before you start using a theme, always look at the section with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). In this section, the developer of the theme explains how the theme works, explains all of its features, the plugin compatibility, the framework that it uses, that support that will be given to you and much more.
When you purchase premium WordPress themes and plugins don’t only check the different layout and color options. You should always check what type of support will be provided to you if you purchase the theme. Some developers don’t offer support at all, some offer a lifetime support and some offer a support for a given time period (usually between six months and one year).
The support is important because if you have struggled with the usage of the theme, there will be someone to help you. You can check how fast the support will be by sending an email or adding a comment and wait for a reply from the support team.
So, if you ever decide to purchase a WordPress theme, have the previous tips in mind. You certainly don’t want to end up constantly changing the website themes and spending money for nothing.
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