There are more than 10 companies that specialize in the development of WordPress themes and plugins. Each company has hundreds of themes under their name, and promises you the best WordPress themes in the market. This translates to thousands of themes available and it is therefore easy to see how choosing a WordPress theme for your website can be a difficult task. It may start as a fun adventure but quickly spiral downwards when every other theme you see is better than the other.
When it gets to this point, you need a proper strategy to help you make an informed decision. That is the purpose of this article: to help you know what you need to look out for when choosing a theme for your WordPress website. We hope it will prove to be an invaluable asset in your endeavors.
1. Know What You Want
This is by far the most important and most ignored factor when searching for a theme. Most people will jump right into choosing a theme. Halfway through the designing, they realize they picked the wrong one. But because they have already invested time and resources, they opt to continue and put up with a theme that’s not well suited for their needs.
Learn from their mistakes and do what is right. Before you even think of the type of theme you want, start by listing the features you want. You can even go ahead and draw a sketch of how you want your website to look like. It will save your skin in future.
2. Ignore Demo Content
Most people are lured into choosing a theme by the demo content. Please remember that the designer’s purpose is worlds apart from your needs. While you need a theme that will be functional and meet your needs, the theme designer’s purpose was to make it as attractive as possible. They have no restriction to what they can use to make this happen and can utilize all the theme’s features.
It is therefore more important for you to look at features the theme has rather than how the demo site looks like.
3. Remember Simple Is Better
The purpose of a theme is to present your website content in a nice way that is attractive to your visitors. It is content that comes first, then the theme design. Many people give more priority to the theme and end up with a theme that is too flashy for their needs. Eventually, visitors get frustrated getting to content amidst all the flashiness and move on to the next website.
When choosing a WordPress template, remember that simple is always better. You want your content to have more relevance over your theme design and not the other way around.
4. Responsive & SEO Is a Must
Research is now showing that more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet. It therefore pays big time to ensure that your WordPress design is optimized for these devices. The best way to test whether a website is responsive is to resize your browser. As the width reduces, the theme layout should change to accommodate the new size.
Additionally, basic SEO features like well-written code, loading times, and availability of meta tags are must-have for any WordPress installation. Read through the theme specifications to see if it has or supports these.
5. Ensure Cross-Browser Compatibility
While you may be a die-hard fan of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, someone at the other end of the world prefers Opera or Safari. Because you want all users to have the same great experience, it is better to take some time to ensure the theme is compatible with all the major browsers, and the less know ones too. This applies to both computer and mobile browsers.
6. Bundled Plugins
Different WordPress website templates will come with different plugins bundled depending on the developer. What you need to ask yourself is will these themes help you achieve your development needs? Or will they only add meaningless code to your WordPress installation?
If a theme comes with 5 plugins that you will have no use for, it is better to find one that has some more useful ones. You can also ask the developer whether they can exchange those with ones that will be more useful for you.
7. Support Options
One of the biggest disadvantages of using free WordPress themes is that you get terrible support. In this case, you are on your own if you mess up your WordPress theme. If you need someone to help you when things hit a brick wall, we recommend buying a premium WordPress theme that guarantees you timely support. If you are trying to cut down on costs, then go for a theme that has good documentation that will help you understand how to get up and running.
Follow these steps for a somewhat easy time selecting your theme. It won’t be completely easy, but it won’t be frustrating either. After you have your theme selected, you can use our article on How to install your theme of choice on WordPress to help you get set up.