You want to stand out among the crowd with a great-looking website, but not sure how to appeal to your target audience? Despite its easy process, starting a new website or blog on WordPress can be a daunting task if you don’t know which theme to choose.
Should you go for a complex theme or a simple one? Free or premium? How can you be sure that your template choice is well-coded?
In this guide, we’ll address the key points when selecting the right WordPress theme with confidence.
Why is a WordPress Theme important?
First impressions are lasting impressions. When visitors view your website for the first time, they form a mental image of your brand and all it stands for.
Having the right WordPress theme and design will bring in more audience and help you better communicate what your business or blog is all about. People will stay longer on your website, browse more content, and earn you more clicks.
In addition, an engaging theme is an essential element to increase sales and conversion rates if you’re running a business. It also helps in boosting your SEO rankings on popular search engines like Google.
How to Choose a WordPress Theme
There are several key factors you need to keep in mind before you decide on a WP theme. Let’s look into the most effective ones.
The first question you need to ask yourself before picking a WP theme is, “what’s the purpose of my website?”. Using your online project for sales/eCommerce is different from using it for providing information and entertainment.
Knowing the purpose of your website will allow you to competently evaluate its goals and determine the right theme to serve them well. Once you have a clear roadmap, you can start thinking about the second important question – “what is my target audience?”.
Identifying your ideal client begins with demographics such as age, location, and gender. Above all, figure out what motivates your visitors and what other websites appeal to them. This will give you a better understanding of the kind of theme that will catch their eye and make them comfortable while browsing your website.
The world of WP themes is abundant, with thousands of templates neatly stacked in different categories. But before you start shopping, you should check your budget and decide on whether you want to spend money on premium themes or go for free ones.
Most users believe that paid themes are the better choice if you want to benefit from a good level of customer support and more features. Although this could be true, the premium doesn’t always mean better. There are lots of free themes that come packed with features and very good security measures as well.
Design and Ease of Use
While the design is crucial to establish a good first impression, you have to ensure your theme is user-friendly as well. A good-looking website that’s cluttered or difficult to navigate is often an unsuccessful website.
It’s fundamental to organize the elements you put into your site, such as columns, navigation bars, content, CTAs, etc. This will increase your website readability and make your visitors comfortable while navigating through your pages.
You should also maintain a consistent theme style throughout the website. Choosing the right color scheme, together with font style and size, helps in affirming your brand’s feel and look. For instance, if you’re creating a business website, using cartoonish fonts and lots of bright colors will easily turn off your customers, but can work great with toy selling businesses.
Make sure to also follow your design strategy in related social media profiles as well. This kind of aesthetic uniformity appeals to your audience and strengthens your connection with them.
You also don’t want to spend too much time customizing your template. Look for ready-made themes that don’t need a lot of work from your end.
Security is an integral factor for any WP theme. A secure template helps you evade bugs and glitches, errors in compatibility, cyberattacks, malware, and so on. This also reflects on user experience and builds trust with your brand. Visitors will feel safer browsing your website and performing transactions if they see you as a reliable business owner.
It’s recommended to pick a theme from trusted sources that’s constantly updated. Make sure that it’s in accordance with the correct code standards and compatible with your WordPress version and plugins.
Performance and Responsiveness
Your WordPress theme is among the many factors that can affect the loading speed and overall performance of your website. Even if you have all the performance-related factors taken care of, a poorly coded WP theme can negatively affect the loading speed of your website.
The loading speed of your website is an essential aspect of your website’s success. If your site loads slowly, this will increase your visitor bounce rates and decrease your conversion rates.
In order to see if a theme has good or bad loading speeds, go to the developer’s website and check out the demo. Then, test the loading speed of the demo site’s pages using any of the online tools available (e.g. GTMetrix).
Not everyone will access your website from their laptops or desktop computers. Many people nowadays use their smartphones or tablets instead of their bulkier devices. This is why your website has to be mobile-friendly. For this to happen, your theme must be highly responsive, meaning it can adjust automatically to fit any screen size on all devices.
Needing support for your theme at one point or another is inevitable. It doesn’t have to always be caused by an issue that needs fixing, but even just for slight cosmetic adjustments or customization tips.
Some theme developers offer continuous support through WordPress support forums, emails, and other channels. Other developers don’t offer any extra assistance. That’s why you need to make sure that you’ll be receiving the required support before choosing your WP theme.
Another important point to consider is the scope of the support provided. Some developers offer assistance but are quite limited and refuse to offer help if any third-party plugins are already integrated with the theme.
Finally, make sure the support you receive includes important theme updates to avoid vulnerabilities in your website.
Plugins are all about adding features. Even though some themes offer built-in functionality, the add-ons are where you can really excel
The optimal combination would be if the theme is feature-rich out of the box and easily integrates with third-party plugins if you need such.
Keep in mind that you’re not guaranteed to find a theme that is perfectly tailored for you. That’s why you want a layout that is easily customizable without requiring any advanced technical knowledge.
A useful thing to look for here is “WordPress Customizer Support”. This is a core WP feature that allows you to change your theme design through a user-friendly interface and view a live preview of your website throughout the process.
Different themes offer different options for customizations. Make sure to pick the design that meets your expectations in this aspect.
You may be asking yourself – can the WordPress theme affect my website’s SEO? The answer is a resounding Yes and the explanation is very simple. Your layout displays the content of your website and can play a key role in helping search engines understand it better.
The core contents that are detrimental to your website SEO are headings, text, images, interlinking, page load times, and data structure. All these are directly linked to the theme you choose.
User Reviews and Ratings
Just like any product, you must be diligent in checking user reviews and ratings for the theme you want to purchase. They are an excellent source of information about the experience of other users with the template, possible issues, and helpful insights.
This applies to both free and premium themes.
As you can see, a WordPress theme isn’t just developed to make your site look nice. It’s an integral extension that allows you to control and make modifications to the design, style, and even functionalities of your website.
By following the tips above, you’ll be perfectly capable of picking out the proper WP template that matches your personality or company values in an exceptional way.