WHAT TO CONSIDER IN SELECTING THE BEST WORDPRESS THEME
WordPress host hundreds of thousands of themes developed by various theme developers and the number of themes being uploaded into the WordPress directoriy increases daily.
Also apart from WordPress theme directory there are many WordPress theme providers providing WordPress themes to wordpress lovers.
Based on the above, selecting the best and well optimized WordPress theme could be a cumbersome and stressful task for a beginner. However highlighting your priorities will largely assist you in Picking a befitting wordpress theme for your website –
In this post I will mention the things that you should look out for or should be your priorities in choosing the best wordpress theme for your website.
One factor that affect your decision in choosing a WordPress theme for your website is your pocket size i.e. -Price. While there are bunch of free wordpress themes out there for you to start up your website with, it is imperative for you to know that free things (including free themes) comes with a price. You should know that if you go for a free WordPress theme you’re going to be missing out of some great futures of premium themes.
There are two things to consider as regards your pocket size; the cons of free themes and the pricing pattern of a theme provider.
A. CONS OF FREE THEMES VIS-A-VIS PREMIUM THEMES.
- NO SUPPORT
While with a premium theme you get a continuous support from the theme provider, free themes does not go with Support. This is a big minus for free themes because you could experience some problem with the theme requiring a support from the theme provider.
- NO UPDATES
With the frequent updates being made by WordPress, It is imperatively necessary also that your theme functions fully with all new updates made by wordpress. Running your website on free themes is suicidal because wordpress could come up with an update that will require your theme to be updated also, and since free themes do not come with future update, your website could disintegrate.
- ODD DESIGN
While a great deal of effort is put in place to build a premium theme, less effort is put in building free themes there by affecting the quality, of the theme in terms of design, responsiveness, SEO and user experience.
- LIMITED BRANDING
First impression as they say is very important. You need to portray yourself as a professional in your niche and your theme speaks of you and tell your visitors how professional you are.
When a visitor Scroll down your site and sees a caption like “This is a free theme designed by AAA” it send a message to your visitor that you are not a serious blogger. More so when many free themes providers will mandate you to place a credit Link to their website.
B. PRICING PARTERNS
When you settle for a premium theme, you need to decide on the pricing model you prefer and which wordpress theme provider offers the pricing model of your choice.
Basically there are three or four pricing model available as regards premium themes.
- Onetime payment with continuous life updates and support. An example of a wordpress theme provider with this model is Themify.
- Fixed purchase price for a theme plus a one year free updates and support then a yearly recurring fee for future support.
Fixed purchase price for a theme with recurring fee for updates and supports.
- Membership fee paid monthly, quarterly or yearly giving you access to all themes, plugins, and tools of the provider including support and updates. An example of a provider with this model is Thrivetheme, even though it also provides a fix purchase price for its themes and plugins for those not interested in the membership plan.
#2. TYPE/CATEGORY OF WEBSITE
The type of website you want to build and the category or niche your website falls under will also determine the kind of theme you should settle for.
You have to be clear on the type of website you want to build before shopping for any theme. Accordingly, you should consider the following, depending on your niche and taste.
- PURPOSE OF SITE:
Is your site an album site which will require an image portfolio theme? Or is it just a blog site or an ecommerce site which will require a theme that supports Woocommerce plugin? You must clear all these questions before choosing any theme.
- DESIGN, LAYOUT WIDTH, NAVIGATION AND MENU:
Haven known the type of site you want to build, you then want to figure out the best design that blends with your niche. Here you will decide whether you need a theme of two (2) column layout or three (3) column layout, because some themes are not built for three (3) or more column layout.
You will also decide on the kind of navigation menu you like. While some themes are built to support two (2) header and footer navigation menu, some theme support only one (1) header and footer navigation menu.
You also want to figure out the best layout width for your website. While 900px width is normal with most blogging website, your website could require a wider width or full browser width.
#3.THIRD PARTY PLUGIN COMPATABILITY
It is germane and very necessary that before buying a theme you draw up a list of plugins required for your type of website so that if you require any third party plugin for your website, then any theme you will go for must be such that will be compatible with the third party plugin. For example if you are setting up an ecommerce store, then you have to choose a theme that will be compatible with the woocommerce plugin.
#4. SPEED PERFORMANCE
One of the factors that should play a vital role in your decision in choosing a wordpress theme is its speed performance. This factor is so important because the speed of your website influences the search engine in ranking your website above others and it also help in not pushing your visitors away.You should also avoid themes with bad coding and heavy file formats.
So before choosing a theme you will want to test the speed by copying the demo url and testing it on Google page speed insights, GTmetrix and Pingdom
You must also avoid all themes that are not SEO ready. It is normal that most wordpress theme providers will claim that their themes are SEO ready; you have to verify how true the assertion is. Any theme optimized for SEO must have the header and Alt tag and some other SEO requirements. If you don’t know how to verify a theme for its SEO’s readiness then I recommend you install on your Chrome or Firefox browser the following plugins:
- SEOquake(available for Chrome & Firefox)
- SEO Site Tools (available for Chrome & Firefox)
- Mozbar (available for chrome)
Responsiveness is the ability of your website to adapt and adjust to screen sizes. It is important to choose a theme that fits the screen of an ipad, tablet and smart phones.
For example this website theme called newsonline is a responsive theme, so when you visit this site from your ipad, tablet or smart phones it automatically fit to the screen.
Google recently included responsiveness as one of the factors for ranking, so it is worth considering when choosing a theme.
#7. NEAT AND FULL CUSTOMIZATION
One of the qualities of a good theme is for it to have a theme option panel where you can play around with the design of the theme. A good theme should have the following features in its option panel:
- General settings
- Styling option
- Header settings
- Homepage settings
- Footer settings
- Single post settings
- Ad management
- Sidebar settings
- Navigation/menu settings
- Right to left settings (RTL)
#8. THEME PROVIDER
I have already written on the top leading theme providers here. It is important that you buy your theme from a reputable theme provider known for building good quality themes because; of course you do not want to invest in a junk theme designed by quacks.
It is disheartening when you experience a problem with a premium theme and unfortunately, no one is coming to your aid. This is the reason why you should check the effectiveness of the pre and post sale support of a wordpress theme provider. You can check this by gaining access to their support forum, the comments, rating and reviews of customers.
The foregoing points represent factors that should guide and influence you in picking a befitting wordpress theme for your website. And I assure you that if you adhere to and hold onto these points religiously, you will end up picking the best theme you deserve.
Have I left any important point necessary to consider while choosing a wordpress theme? Let me know via the comment box.