A WordPress theme defines the display and aesthetic appeal of your website. Your WordPress theme will play a pivotal role in drawing the audience towards your website.
You will be jumping the gun if you are too quick to purchase a WordPress theme without deliberating over how well that particular theme fits your needs. You have to take several factors under advisement when selecting the right WordPress theme for your website.
Read on learn about the top seven considerations which have to be mulled to pick an appropriate theme for your WordPress powered website.
1. What is the website trying to accomplish?
First and foremost, you need to ponder over what exactly is your website trying to accomplish. This will have a significant impact on the WordPress theme, which we select.
As a case to point, consider the above picture, which shows the homepage and the WordPress theme of “gaps.com.” The theme has a well-designed header that features an opt-in email form. This form is integrated into the header and gives visitors the option to join the emailing list. Such a form is quite challenging to code even for the most competent programmers. Therefore, our preference would be to pick a theme that has this feature built-in if our objective is to draw a large number of email subscribers.
It is crucial to strike a balance between the aesthetic appeal of your theme and the way it functions.
A visually striking blog/website that does not draw traffic or a theme that focuses only on functionality holds little value.
A few factors to weigh in here include:
o Website’s target niche:
Certain niches require the website to look a particular way. Other niches demand a different aesthetic appeal.
o Type of website:
Is your blog/website going to feature only text, or will it have other mediums like pictures, podcasts, and so forth?
o The goal for creating the website:
Is your website an online library platform for avid readers or is trying to make money via affiliate programs? Or perhaps, the website serves another purpose altogether. Each purpose will require different features from its theme. It is wise to know the objectives and goals that your website intends to fulfill over time. In this way, you would have a better idea as to which theme to purchase that would accomplish your website’s goals.
2. What functions and features does your website require?
You need to list down all the kinds of functions that you think your website might require down the road. Some of the common features/functions include the ability to customize the footer and header, a section to put an opt-in email form, smartphone and tablet compatibility, an uncluttered design, to name a few. Many of the features do not have to be coded into the theme. You can add them to WordPress plugins.
You can avail of the services of subscriptions like the WPMU DEV Dashboard, which you can integrate into WordPress, and it permits you to download all of their plugins. Engaging such subscriptions can pay many dividends as it permits you to switch the functions/features if you want using the plugins. Moreover, the customer support is very responsive lest any sorts of problems or glitches arrive.
It is not necessary to know all of your website’s future functions at the start. You ought to plan for the fact that you can easily add more functions down the line via WordPress plugins.
3. Do you value ease of customization?
Customization choices differ from theme to theme. By altering a few features, you can construct a broad range of layouts without having any prior knowledge of coding, which is used in developing WordPress themes.
Several themes boast advanced features, but they still might not possess the functionality that you seek.
As a novice user, you should spend adequate time to try out the demo versions of the themes that you like. This helps to get a feel of how the basic layout looks and whether the theme suits the purpose of your website.
You would want to pick from among the most reputable top-end theme providers. This allows you to get a plethora of custom options and flexibility to customize the WordPress theme as per your needs without tampering with the inherent theme code.
For this purpose, look at the example above. This WordPress theme comes from HappyThemes. If you are creating a video website, the theme already does half of the work for you. You do not have to figure out the layout of the videos or the way your website’s home page should look. Most importantly, and as you can see in the image, the theme is 100% compatible with WooCommerce. Last but not least, you can throw your worries of mobile optimization and browser compatibilities out of the window because the theme takes care of all of that.
4(a). How fast does the theme load?
Website speed has a massive impact on the conversion rate. People don’t bother exploring a website that takes too long to load. One of the most important aspects you have to make sure when looking for a WordPress theme is that the theme does not slow down your website owing to the coding.
Most themes are coded in a manner that makes them load effortlessly with minimum delays. Other themes, however, use designs with high-resolution images and complex coding. These factors increase a theme’s loading time considerably, which is a buzzkill for users.
An average user expects the loading time to be around 3 seconds (Not more!). That is why you should be extremely thorough when selecting a WordPress theme because issues with loading speed will most likely offset the visual charm of a well-designed website.
You might come across a theme that has a poor loading speed, but you admire its design and feel it serves the purpose of your website well. In such a scenario, you can run a test of that theme’s demo on a website like “GT Metrix.” This will help you to get all the specifics on the coding lines of the theme. It is possible to fix some of the coding issues if you are well versed in the relevant programming languages. Alternately, you can engage the services of a professional programmer for this purpose. However, its best and convenient to pick a WordPress theme that is well-coded from the start.
4(b). Are you considering compatibility with all the major browsers?
The need for your theme to be compatible across all major browsers is just as important as the loading time of that theme. The WordPress theme should boast the same visual appeal and functionality regardless of which web browser you use to load the website.
Users tend to have various browser preferences like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer. It behooves you to test the WordPress theme you are inclined to buy in all of the browsers to be sure it performs equally well on all platforms.
5. Does the theme have quality ratings and reviews?
To have quality reviews lends credibility to that particular product.
It is always wise to invest sufficient time in perusing the ratings and reviews of the WordPress theme before you buy it online. This advice also extends towards anything else you purchase off the Internet.
When it comes to buying a theme, the last thing you want is to install an outdated one and provide it access to your server. Outdated plugins and themes bring about security concerns as they leave a digital back door to hackers who want to gain unauthorized access to your website.
You might come across several themes that look great and strike your fancy but have little to no reviews (This is a prevalent concern with free WordPress themes). This ought to raise a red flag, and it is best if you stay away from such themes. The ideal theme would be the one that looks impressive AND boasts splendid reviews as well.
Furthermore, you should also avoid purchasing a WordPress theme, which has not received updates for more than half a year. This is because that particular theme is not up-to-date with the most recent security protocols that individuals are using these days.
6. How much can you spend on a theme?
As much as you do not want to, you must consider the budget factor. This is especially true when first getting started with your WordPress powered website.
If you are a new website owner, it is in your best interest that you invest smartly on your first theme. Be sure that the theme you purchase ticks all the right boxes and meets all of your needs/requirements. In this way, you are not squandering time switching designs and themes down the road.
Do not fret if your budget to buy a WordPress theme is zilch! You can always start with a free theme and upgrade to a paid version later on when the traffic on your website increases. Although free themes have limited features, this is the best route for you if you lack the capital at the outset to invest in a proper theme.
When selecting a free theme, try to pick a theme that is as simple as possible. It is wise to focus on compiling targeted and constructive SEO content, which would appeal to a wide audience and draw more traffic. In this way, you can create a solid brand, and when your budget later allows, you can switch to a paid WordPress theme.
Some of the free WordPress themes you can consider, which have received mainly positive feedback from users, include Talon, Zakra, Sydney Hestia, Flash, and many more.
7. Which themes do your competitors use?
It is a smart strategy if you are trying to find out what aspects are functioning well on your competitors’ themes. In this manner, you can think about utilizing the same things on your WordPress powered website as well. Purchasing an appropriate theme becomes more comfortable if you are familiar with the kind of themes your competition is using on their website. You can also tweak the coding to boost the efficiency of the WordPress theme further. This will surely help you to set yourself apart from your competition.
However, it is best if you don’t direct all of your focus towards finding out what your competitors are doing. Most of them might have enormous budgets to work with, which might give you an inferiority complex and demotivate you.
Bear in mind that it is important to be motivated in spades when starting with your WordPress website!
Regardless of whether you buy a free theme or a paid one, it would be rash to purchase a WordPress theme without giving much thought to the aforementioned important factors. By considering these factors and picking an optimized WordPress theme, your website is sure to prosper tremendously.