Whether you already possess an existing website or are going to develop a new one, most often, one aspect that people usually get stuck at is choosing a correct theme. Generally, people consider just assessing the layout, design, optionally, and the usability of a theme before installing it.
While this may provide you a kickstart with the website, there is no way you may hope to get an edge, if you are just gauging the outer beauty of the theme and not digging deep inside. Regardless of your knowledge about different aspects and responsibilities of a WordPress theme, you must be wary of the fact that there is quite a long list of appropriate features that a theme must have to be tagged as an accurate one.
And, mind it, finding such a theme isn’t a simple task. With apparently thousands of premium and free WordPress themes available out there, choosing just the right one for your business website might become a bit trickier.
So, what does it take to choose the right theme for your website? These are top 10 things that you must look for in the WordPress theme before you install it.
Structure of your Website:
Regardless of the stunning features and mesmerizing design that a theme has, it isn’t necessary that it is going to look as marvelous upon installing on your website as well. Although WordPress themes are designed to be used for multi-purpose, there are some of them as well that are niche specific.
Hence, before you take the plunge and buy or download a theme, plan your website structure beforehand. Find out what type of content you are going to share, what is it that your visitors will find beneficial the most, how would you be keeping them hooked, how many pictures are you going to upload, etc.
Make a list with a few essential factors that you cannot neglect at any cost. And then, based on this list, try to shortlist themes. Focus on the one that fits your requirements and not just looks appealing to the eyes.
Verified Source of the Theme:
There is an array of sources that would allow you to download a multitude of WordPress themes easily. While selecting a theme, make sure you are cautious enough regarding the quality of the code. Make sure that there aren’t any suspicious codes present that can harm the security of your website.
In such a situation, one of the safest options is to download a theme directly from the directory of WordPress. Here, you’ll only find such themes that have been filtered and tested rigorously by the WordPress Theme Review Team (WPTRT).
However, if you couldn’t find an appropriate theme in the WordPress directory but somewhere else, you can still assess the authenticity of the code by testing it through online tools. At the end of the day, you must ensure that the theme doesn’t support any condemned or outdated function.
Generally, good themes comprise a 2-part system, containing two different layers, both underneath and on the top of the theme. The latter one is known as the Child theme and the former one is considered as the Parent theme.
While the Parent theme offers site functionality, the Child theme lets you customize the design without messing up with the framework – or the Parent theme – for that matter. Upon not using the Child theme, you may develop a risk of ruining the website functionality whenever you’ll edit the design.
Not just that, but you may even have to redo the design customization every time there is an upgrade or an update. So not fun. Don’t you think so? Therefore, make sure that the theme you are choosing comes with the 2-part framework.
Active Support & Theme Update Frequency:
To put it in simple words, WordPress is nothing but a software. Hence, the platform obtains period updates that address the security flaws as well as the functionality. And, talking about the theme, it is just another software piece that sits inside the WordPress.
If there are any sort of changes in WordPress, your theme must be competent enough to upgrade itself accordingly to ensure continuous compatibility. Therefore, when you select a theme, ensure that the developer provides regular updates to it.
Not just that, but you must also make sure that there is utmost support from the developer’s end. In case you face any problem, you wouldn’t want to regret spending money on the theme, if it is premium, or spending time on website development if you are using a free theme, just because there wasn’t enough support during a problem.
Features that are Important:
The list of functionality and features that you may find in WordPress themes has always been a topic for debate. Of course, features mainly depend on your requirements. Unless you are running a new website, you wouldn’t want a breaking news ticker displayed on your homepage.
However, there are some specific features that should be must for every website, regardless of the niche. To begin with, make sure that your theme is mobile-friendly and responsive. Since mobile is on the par with computers and desktops, you cannot take this aspect for granted. If your theme cannot work well on a mobile, your website may have to incur losses.
Another important feature is the capability of basic customization. Just by adjusting the color scheme and the homepage wouldn’t make you the owner of a business website, right? So, ensure that you have a bit extra.
Good Navigation is the Key:
Moving forward, another important aspect that you must look into your WordPress theme is the navigation. In today’s time, keep in mind that people are always on the run. They might stop by your website, but if they couldn’t click and navigate smoothly, they will close it down instantly.
In smooth navigation, a theme plays a major role. Whether you want visitors to subscribe to your blog or make it easier for them to discover your hot-selling product or service, make sure that the navigation is as smooth as a cake-walk.
Furthermore, with easy navigation, you would even be able to reduce the bounce rate. Therefore, it’s advantageous in every way.
Quality Ratings & Reviews:
Similar to anything that you might on the internet, it is important to take out some time and have a sneak peek into ratings and reviews before you take up the decision of a buying a particular theme. This becomes even more essential if you are going to use the theme for your business website as you wouldn’t want to give the access of your server to anything malicious.
Since security breaching is a sensitive as well as prevalent subject, you wouldn’t want to experience that, right? Even if the theme promises to offer you great features and regular updates, bad ratings and reviews should stop you from making a bad choice.
Ideally, having a good mixture of great features and acceptable reviews should be your pick. In the end, you must not forget – People know everything.
Easy-to-use & Organized Settings:
If you aren’t a developer or a designer, you may want your website to be easy to handle and completely organized. In such a situation, you must look for the settings that your selected theme is providing you.
You may even come across such themes that may have their settings scattered throughout the WordPress. This may cause you a lot of pain when it comes to managing or even customizing your website in the future. Have a look at the settings of theme and make sure they are nicely organized in a single tab. And then make your decision.
Built-in Page Builder:
For a person who comes from a non-technical background, it is important to ensure that the theme contains a page builder. This feature makes re-configuration and construction way easier than expected.
Generally, two of the most common WordPress page builders you may come across are Beaver Builder and Visual Composer. Easy-to-use and maintain, these page builders are making layout changing, removing or adding elements an easy deal for non-developers. Hence, you may select any one of them.
So, in future, if you want to manage your website in DIY style, make sure that your theme consists of a page builder.
SEO of the Theme:
There is no denying the fact that Yoast SEO is a magical wand for WordPress. This one plugin can eradicate SEO issues within minutes. However, it is even important for the theme to be SEO-friendly. There are several developers who may claim their themes to be adequate as per the SEO standards, but in reality, such may not be the case.
If you are thinking to get a free theme, ensure that there aren’t any concealed links. This may badly impact your efforts for SEO. Also, you may even think about the general guidelines of Google while looking out for a perfect theme.
Though selecting a WordPress theme is quite a straightforward process, still, it is recommended to be cautious and handle the process with great care. Since a crappy and unfriendly theme can affect the performance of your website, make sure you aren’t getting entangled in any trap.
Keep these 10 important factors in mind while choosing a theme and find out the best one for your website.