Tips on choosing the best WordPress theme

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how-to-choose-the-right-wordpress-theme

WordPress theme is the most important foundation of your website. Choosing the right theme has a huge influence on will your site succeed or fail. #1 mistake that people usually make is when they are choosing the theme only by using one criteria such as the visual look and feel rather than looking at the over all function long-term. Will your site grow with you?

To answer this question, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions. What are your long-term goals, what are you planning to achieve with your website and does the theme you chosen have all the features that you’ll need. Can you expand it, can you change the color scheme, add sliders, shopping cart or anything else required.

You need to be able to manipulate a theme to make it do what you want it to do. All themes are not created equal. Some themes are easy to edit while other ones require a WordPress developer’s time and coding skills, which ends up costing you more in a long run.

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When you are thinking of choosing a WordPress Theme, there are many things to consider. Think of yourself as an interior designer. If you are hired to design the interior of say the United Nations Building, then Your work or website is going to be seen by thousands or even millions of people and what they see on the site is a direct reflection of YOU!
If you select the wrong theme, you only have limited choices on what you can do with it. It takes time, thought and patience to see your work of art come to fruition and the same can be said for your website.

The function of your site is also of utmost importance. It must be user friendly and easily navigable as people will not take the time to figure out how to get from page to page ….they will be gone long before then! Ease of navigation and setting up the navigation bar is the very beginning of your creation and condensing and simplifying information is where you will need to start. To many choices or vague descriptions only lead to confusion and again, your potential client will be gone.

Color scheme is another thing that needs to be considered when choosing a theme. Can it be changed quickly and easily in case you decide you want to change with the seasons or will you need to hire a WordPress expert to go in and change all kinds of coding to give you the effect you are looking for. Time is money and you will be spending a bundle if you don’t choose wisely in the beginning.

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You never hear an undertaker making jokes about “kicking the bucket” , at least not in public, so you don’t want your website to be “dead in the water” before you even get started! This is just what will happen if you don’t choose your theme carefully. A WP Expert can give you the guidance you need to make the right choice the first time and not have to fix costly mistakes later on when your company grows. Not being able to add on or to add a certain function to a theme is also something to be wary of. Many themes come with a select few choices of plugins available and anything above that requires a developer’s skills and time. This is another reason why you should consult a WP professional before you purchase ANY theme. Make sure it gives you the ability to make any and all changes that could come up in the foreseeable future.

You also need to consider the loading ability of the theme you choose and how it is going to affect SEO. When you first start out, it may be fine but once you start to load up the pages with images, videos etc, you may find that you have run in to trouble that only a developer can get you out of. Again, it’s going to cost you money in the long run to hire someone to make the changes that will increase the speed of the site. Some themes are designed for just this purpose and you will need to consider that.

The best advise anyone can give you when choosing a theme is to look them all over and then contact a WordPress Expert. Explain to him or her exactly what your goal is for the website and the growth potential so that they can help you to make an educated choice. So many times I have been contacted by people who have purchased a theme, not even realizing that it doesn’t even cover the basics of what they are looking for and that is a hard pill to swallow. These people have paid someone for the theme, paid someone to develop the site and paid someone for the design only to see that it does not come close to the vision of what they had in the beginning.

Theme considerations are essential

Responsiveness

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Mobile optimization these days is a must, not only because of website usability but also because of SEO. Google rank algorithms have changed and now websites that are optimized for mobile devices are ranked higher than ever before. Luckily, most of the premium themes available on the net are already responsive, but just in case I’ll explain to you how to quickly check if a theme is optimized or not. Find the theme you like and go to the demo page to see what the theme looks like. Then resize your browser and see if the theme resizes to fit your screen size. If yes, then that theme is responsive. It’s as simple as that.

Speed

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Without decent loading speed, do not expect good SEO results. Also, visitors do not like slow websites. The speed can be increased by using good and reliable host and a theme that is properly coded. Premium themes are usually stuffed with lot of features and the more options you have in your theme admin panel, the more resources are required, which usually results in a slow website.

The best way to determine the theme/website speed is to test the theme demo page with Pingdom. Just click here and paste the demo URL. Every score above 80 is decent and leaves some room for additional speed improvements.

Usability

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A perfect theme should allow you to make changes without coding knowledge, with the help of drag & drop page builders, shortcodes, widgets etc… which means that you should be able to easily change the layout, look and feel in a few clicks.

Features

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Before you purchase some premium theme, be sure that it has all the features needed for your project. Most of the premium themes are pretty much alike when it comes to features. They have sliders, theme options panel, ability to turn on or turn off some features etc… What sets them apart is some special feature that other themes you like do not have. That feature could be for example an integrated eCommerce that comes with a nicely designed shop and checkout pages.

SEO

Yoast-WordPress-SEO-Plugin
Your theme of choice should be optimized to fulfill the basic requirements of SEO. Premium themes in 90% of cases are already optimized, but you can always go even further and fine tune your SEO with the help of many free plugins such as Yoast SEO, All in one SEO Pack and similar. Also, do not forget the speed factor.

Design

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The design is deliberately listed as the last item you should consider, because people have a tendency to choose a theme by following only one criteria, the visual look. If the theme looks nice it doesn’t mean that it will cover all your needs or function in the way you want. What you should also consider when it comes to design, is layout. Navigation menus should stand out and be highly visible, fonts should be readable, entire structure should be compliant with search engines and oriented toward better user experience. It’s much cheaper to hire someone to do the design changes than to develop custom features for your theme/website. So, choose carefully and always base your search on features, speed & SEO rather than design.

Theme resources

Free Themes, Paid themes, Custom themes