How To Choose A WordPress Theme For Your Site – The Ultimate Guide

So you have decided to go with a WordPress website builder to create a website for your business, right? Here comes the tough part, choosing a WordPress theme for your site.

Why am I saying this?

Well, there are countless WordPress themes out there, that’s for sure. Each template is lightweight and contains user-friendly features.

Luckily, WordPress has something for each business, no matter what your website goal is. And each theme looks more attractive, functional and flexible than the others. Therefore, most business owners feel that choosing the perfect theme for a WordPress website is a mind-boggling task.

You can spend days while digging the marketplaces for the best theme. There is a seemingly endless number of premium and free themes which are lightweight and highly-functional.

When you are about to choose a WordPress theme, you have to make sure the chosen template will provide endless customizing options, present your business message properly and contain plenty of features.

There are many themes which actually looks great in a general view, but ultimately slow down your website’s performance. Neither the users nor the search engines prefer slow websites. Moreover, you will be locked for a certain period of time after buying a theme.

So you have to make decisions wisely from the beginning of creating a website. Below I have listed 10 essential aspects which you should pay special attention when you are going to choose a WordPress theme.

Before purchasing a template or investing your time in browsing for the themes, be sure to read through the article. I believe you will be able to choose the perfect template for your site if you consider the components. So, let’s get started.

How To Choose A WordPress Theme

1. Responsive Design

Responsiveness is one of the most important key factors for a theme. A responsive theme can adjust its layout equally across desktop computer, tablet or smartphones.

Nowadays, with the incessant growth of tablet and smartphone usage, having a responsive theme is a must. A theme which fully responsive offers the users for a better user experience, increase the website’s search engine rankings and even scale your visitors.

Responsive design is vital to gain user loyalty. Users love to browse a website which is responsive for all devices. The more responsive your website is, the more visitors can be gained. By managing this step effectively, you can double your purchases, or even triple.

Google has shown that mobile responsive websites are on top for mobile search results. Regardless of your website’s topic, every website should be fully responsive.

Let’s just ask yourself, “Would you feel comfortable browsing a website that doesn’t display content and images properly on your device?” Of course not. Then, as a business owner, you should make sure that the users are browsing your website with ease from any device.

The themes you will find in the trusted marketplaces ( ThemeForest, Elegant Themes ) are already mobile responsive by default. But still, there are many themes out there which are not device friendly at all.

Though it’s tough to mark them all, luckily Google has introduced a free device-friendly testing tool to test whether a theme is mobile-friendly or not. Before purchasing a theme, just do a simple test and make sure it fulfills your requirement.

The easiest way to check whether a theme is device friendly or not is by resizing your screen. If the theme automatically fits itself to the screen, then the template is responsive. So, don’t just look for the appearance also for quality.

2. Simplicity

Keats said, “What is simple, that is beauty”.

Whenever you go to choose a WordPress theme, remember this quote. While researching, you will be introduced to a plenty of flashy animation, dazzling colors, simple and complex layouts.

Rather than a complex template, you will need a simple and easy to customize theme that describes your business message properly. Your website requires to look good, but without negotiating with simplicity and usability.

Go with the theme that is not overly complicated. Always avoid a theme which is cluttered with complex features. The purpose of your website is to help the visitors find the information, not to divert them.

In most cases, a dazzling theme having flashy designs becomes the reason to divert the users. If a template fails to get new customers, then it is valueless. You shouldn’t deal with a theme that is unable to fulfill the customer’s demand.

3. Compatible With Browsers

While creating a website, you must know that all the users don’t use the same browser. Generally, a user always goes to the browser which he/she is comfortable with.

The theme you are using on your website may look great in Firefox, but it may look terrible when the customers see it in Google Chrome.

You may lose a lot of customers only because your website is not browser friendly. This is the other important factor you should keep in mind while buying a theme.

Most WordPress developers check their themes with browser compatibility testing tools and ensure browser compatibility. But as a beginner, what will you do?

There is a possible change in purchasing a template that does not support all browsers. The easiest solution is, you can check the themes on different browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Besides your laptop, check the browser compatibility in the other devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.) also. Although this feature mentioned in almost every theme, ensure they appear the same way in every browser and works efficiently without any issues.

4. Easy To Customize

Though a variety of customizing options is not an essential part of a theme, it could be valuable if you can handle it properly. There are plenty of themes that offer endless customizing opportunities so you can create a diverse website layout without any knowledge of programming.

Depending on the customization options, you can make simple changes in your designs without bothering the programming section. By tweaking a theme you can get the perfection to your website. You can get access to the countless theme customization options and make your website look gorgeous.

Besides selling the themes, some theme developers also offer additional theme customization service at a cost effective rate. If you are not web savvy and want to design your website beyond the available options, ask the developer to fulfill your requirements as he knows everything about his designed themes.

How to determine whether a theme offers plenty of customizing options? Well, try the ‘Live Demo’ and make sure you will get required customization options after installing the theme.

Most of the time, a theme contains countless customization option costs higher than the other themes. Confirm that you are getting the facilities that you are paying for.

5. Plugins

Why creating a gorgeous looking business website or a personal blog with WordPress is very easy? Because WordPress comes with a variety of plugins with thousands of features.

Plugins are the element that allows you to do anything with your website. You can protect your website, prevent malware and hackers, make your website lightweight, monitor your website growth, and so on tasks efficiently with the relevant plugins.

There are thousands of free and premium plugins available for WordPress which you can use for different purposes. The theme you are purchasing should support all the initial plugins as well as the additional tools. You will find this mentioned in the theme description.

Mind that the used plugins could be updated anytime. So the theme you are using should support the updates also.

Discover top free WordPress plugins

6. SEO Friendly

What will be your next focus after creating a business website or a personal blog? Reach to the targeted audiences and boost website rank for relevant keywords, right? If the answer is yes then your website should be SEO-friendly.

A good looking website has great coding behind it. But there is no reason to think the website is SEO-friendly. Basically, SEO divided into two parts. The first on is On-page and the other is Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO comes with the website template, coding, contents, images, etc. If you choose a theme that is poorly designed which doesn’t support required SEO plugins, you won’t get a chance to turn back.

So, the theme you are choosing should be SEO-friendly. An SEO-friendly website has a great role in boosting a website’s rank and increase the customers.

An SEO-friendly theme should be coded following search engine algorithms. Most premium themes are WordPress claims their template is search engine friendly. But before buying you must make sure whether they are saying right.

You can test a theme using the W3C Markup Validation tool. If the page generates proper HTML5, then you can consider the theme for purchasing. Besides, monitor how fast the page is loading. Additionally, install an extension like MozBar on Google Chrome and run some quick checks.

7. Faster Loading Speed

Website speed is the other significant factor today and it has a great impact on conversion rate. A website that loads quicker performs better than the others. A webpage should be lightweight not only for better search engine ranking but also for better user engagement and superior user experience. The faster a website is, the higher online revenue can be gained.

Users always love to visit a website where they get everything and don’t have to wait for extra loading times. Also, they pay a good attention to the website and its business. Obviously, your audience won’t prefer browsing your website if it takes too long time to respond. A template becomes heavy when it contains large files.

While researching, if a theme catches your eyes, then run the theme’s demo through several web pages performance testers such as Pingdom and GTmetrix.

The average loading time of a page is 3 seconds. Check whether the page loads within the average time or not. Although you purchase a lightweight theme, it becomes heavy if you use large images, videos, and files. So, try to use compressed files when creating a website. Besides, always avoid bloated themes. Look for those which come with the latest bells and whistles.

8. Outstanding Support

Most WordPress themes provide documentation instead of customer support, this is the only negative side of WordPress themes. The problem becomes crucial if you develop the website your own and don’t have extensive knowledge of programming.

If you face any problem with the purchased theme, you may fix it your own or hire an expert developer for support. That means an additional investment which you have never planned.

Luckily, you can get help from the documentation that comes with the template. Free themes mostly come with 3/6 months Email support. In most cases, you have to wait longer to get replies.

On the contrary, premium themes offer live chat, phone calls support besides Emails. This is a huge benefit especially when you start a new online business or a blogger. So, double check whether the support options are mentioned with the template.

9. Free Or Premium Theme?

Here comes the biggest point. Which theme should I choose? A free theme or a premium one?

Answer a few questions before making the decision. Do you have the funds available to go with a premium theme? Are you sure that the premium themes can fulfill your requirements?

Let’s differentiate the Free and Premium WordPress themes.

Free WordPress themes have simple designs where you don’t have to pay anything. Although many themes you will find are great, plenty of them are clunky and coded poorly, which result in a bad impact on your website. Usually, you won’t get support with the free templates so you have to ensure the maintenance part from your side.

The biggest problem is, the theme developers don’t update their product much. As a result, your website won’t support updated plugins, page builders, tools, and extensions. The website security may decrease and it will be at a risk.

However, if you don’t have the plan to customize your website regularly and don’t have the budget for paid versions, then go for a free theme.

Premium themes are relatively inexpensive. The developers always ensure their product quality and offer endless support. The themes are designed by the experts, so they are compatible with the latest versions of WordPress and better coded. The developer can provide real-time support for any issue you might have.

With premium themes, you will get plenty of customization options. They come with complex features and functionalities which result in a unique and gorgeous looking website. Most of them come with full documentation so you can do the designs your own.

Premium themes are always updated and support the latest plugins. If you are going to start a new online business, you must go with premium templates as they meet all your business criteria.

The most popular & best WordPress themes of 2018

10. What Is Your Content?

Always choose a theme that perfectly matches your content. There is no content so far that the theme has not been created. Knowing this, you have to select the exact theme that fits your business.

In order to do this, look for the theme’s features whether they meet your business essentials. The theme you choose should be confirming the visitor’s expectations. Know your customers and understand what they are expecting from your website.

For example, if you have a website based on photography, pictures should be focused more rather than lengthy contents and if you have a blog, you need informative contents with attractive images.

The Best Places To Choose A WordPress Theme

There are hundreds of marketplaces out there for WordPress themes powered over a million themes. The number is constantly evolving. Each of the marketplace uploads new themes every day, which offers the newest features. So which marketplace you should go for?

Below I am listing the top 2 trusted marketplaces where you can buy the best WordPress theme for your website:

1. ThemeForest

With over 42,000 WordPress themes, ThemeForest is one of the biggest repositories out there. The themes of this marketplace are inexpensive, highly functional and offer unlimited customization options.

In my opinion, the advantages you will get at ThemeForest isn’t available in the other marketplaces. I prefer this awesome marketplace for their incredibility, integrity as well as outstanding support.

Most of the designs are created by the world’s top class designers so there is no question of quality. No matter what your website niche is, they have mind-blowing templates for all. The best-selling themes of ThemeForest are Avada, X Theme, Enfold, BeTheme, and Salient Themes.

Visit ThemeForest


2. Elegant Themes

Who didn’t hear the name of the amazing Divi Theme? Yes, you will get the super-cool theme at Elegant Themes. With their easy-to-go templates, you can design your own website rather than hiring a professional. The themes sold at Elegant Themes are really gorgeous.

Looking for a perfect theme for your online store or personal blog? Visit Elegant Themes and see what is waiting for you. You will be thankful for their products as well as services. The most popular themes are Divi, Extra, and Nexus.

Visit Elegant Themes


Over To You

Although no theme is perfect, selecting and optimized theme will help you become successful. I believe this article has given you the best suggestions and resources to choose a WordPress theme for your website.

Before buying, spend some time reading the content as it will help you save valuable hours and money. Keeping the above ideas in mind will take you to the perfect theme. Wish you good luck finding the right theme for your WordPress website!

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