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How to Pick the Right WordPress Theme

Picking a theme is one of the first decisions you have to make when starting a WordPress site. Sure, you can ride it out on the default theme until you set up a couple of basic plugins. Still, you’ll sooner or later have to pick a new theme.

The decision is rarely easy. New website owners, especially first-timers, don’t always know what they want from a theme. To make matters worse, there are over 3,500 free WordPress themes and countless premium ones. How then to choose exactly the right one?

This question is difficult to answer. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of things to keep in mind when choosing a WordPress theme.

Responsive

An incredibly important feature in 2019, responsiveness is not optional in any modern theme. People use their mobile devices to access the internet more than ever and the days of designing a website that just works on desktop computers are over.

Responsiveness means that all elements of a web page adapt to the size of the screen on which you’re viewing it. Everything is proportion-based and the images are adaptable. This makes pages work well and fast across all devices.

As we’ve said, mobile devices are widely used now. In fact, most traffic comes from phones and tablets. So, if you want your website to stand out, you must pick a responsive theme.

SEO-Friendly

SEO-friendliness is another aspect of modern web design. It means your website scores better with search engines and appears higher in search results.

This is a simple matter of attracting more visitors. The higher your site appears in search results, the more people will open it. It’s the best way to get incredible amounts of traffic to your site. That’s why you need an SEO-friendly theme.

SEO-friendliness and responsiveness shouldn’t be too difficult to find, though. Practically all themes are updated recently have these features, but check the theme features anyway so you don’t accidentally end up with the one that doesn’t have them.

Fast

Website speed is a much bigger deal than most people might assume. If a web page takes over 3 seconds to load, the website can suffer severe penalties in users satisfaction, the number of conversions, and even SEO.

The main concern here is with the bulkiness of the theme. The teams behind the theme sometimes try to cram as many features in the theme as possible to make it more attractive. Unfortunately, all the features increase the size of the theme and this results in poor website performance. A speed plugin can fix a lot of potential performance issues, but it can’t do much if the theme is faulty.

It’s fine if your theme of choice has a few unnecessary features. However, if there are dozens of features that you won’t use, some so complicated that they belong in a plugin, perhaps it’s best to go with a different theme.

Free vs. Premium

This is a choice rather than a feature, but it is still worth mentioning.

A lot of experts recommend first-timers to start with a free theme and move on to paid ones. Although the benefits of not having to pay are obvious, premium themes have their advantages as well.

One advantage especially important for beginners is the support. Free themes rarely have top-of-the-line customer support which can be a real issue if there’s a problem with your theme. It can be weeks before the problem is fixed. With a premium theme, you’re paying for support.

The second problem you might encounter is that free themes often lack some essential feature you might need. It can sometimes be a real pain to find the free theme that fits all your needs.

Luckily, most premium theme sellers offer a free version of their themes. It usually lacks some of the functionality of the full version, but you can use it to test the theme out and see if it works well for you.

Appearance

Somewhat obvious, but often neglected part is the appearance. A theme can have all the features in the world and be faster than Google and still just plainly look wrong.

You can’t run a serious law firm website with a theme full of crazy neon colors. It would also probably be difficult run an e-commerce store selling kids’ toys with a dark, grim theme.

You get the point. The appearance of your theme must fit your website’s purpose and audience. Otherwise the visitors will just find it odd.

Conclusion

Those are the basics of choosing a WordPress theme that will work for your website. Some other features that are nice to have are being translation-ready, having multiple page styles, and inbuilt social sharing features.

If this interests you and you’d like to learn more about WordPress and WordPress themes, we have an interesting infographic for you below.

About Author

Experienced WordPress developer with over 9 years of full time developing WordPress themes and plugins.

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