What to look for when choosing a WordPress Theme
By: Steven Rich, MBA
Themeforest is a website offering 31,907 Website Templates and Themes starting at $2. Your first reaction will probably be, “Wow! How can I choose one theme from over 31,000 of them?”. Themeforest breaks down their WordPress Themes into 18 different categories ranging from Blogs, Corporate, Ecommerce, Education, Real Estate and Technology. However, each category contains numerous choices like the Blog containing 30 options.
Here are 5 Tips for choosing the best theme for your WordPress site
- Make it simple
WordPress themes come in complex layouts, numerous colors, flashy animations, etc. While they may look cool, most of the time you won’t need them. Remember your goal and choose a design which helps you support your goal. Choose one which looks good but is simple and usable. An overly complicated design may hide the very information that your viewers look for.
- Make it mobile ready
Find “responsive themes” which can adjust their layout between different size computer monitors and devices. The use of mobile and different handheld devices rises every year where the majority of your web traffic could be devices rather than computers. Google demonstrates that the mobile friendliest sites rank higher for their mobile search rankings. Therefore, all sites need to be responsive and mobile ready.
Here’s a test. If you resize your computer’s browser screen you should notice that the theme’s layout automatically adjusts to the screen’s width.
For Windows 10 and earlier versions: Press ALT + Tab on your Keyboard, then Press ALT + Space together to open window menu. Now press “S” which makes the mouse cursor turn into a Cross with Arrows. Now use the left, right, up, and down keys to resize your window. When you have the desired windows size, Press ENTER.
For Mac: Move the pointer over the resize corner in the bottom right corner of the window. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse where you will see the window shrink or grow as you drag the mouse. Release the left mouse button to freeze the window size.
Another test is to copy the theme demo page URL and paste it in Google Mobile-Friendly Test which will tell you if the theme has wider content than a mobile screen or the text is too small.
- Compatible browsers
Since your viewers use different browsers, your theme may look good on IE but not on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or others. Not all WordPress theme developers properly test their themes for browser compatibility. You should always test a new theme on all browsers.
- Multi-Language and Translations
Many WordPress sites are in different languages so don’t focus on English unless your only goal is to get English speaking customers. You may have to create a site in a language other than English. Plan to create a future multilingual WordPress site.
Assure that your WordPress theme is ready for translations and can support WordPress multilingual plugins.
- Plugin support
WordPress plugins allows you to do anything with your WordPress site. There are many plugins to choose from, but that is the subject for a different article. Just make sure you use the most popular WordPress plugins like W3 Total Cache, Yoast SEO, Gravity Forms, etc.
What to look for when choosing a WordPress Theme requires making it simple and mobile ready, compatible with all browsers, able to be in multi-languages or easily translated, and supports all essential WordPress plugins.