You’ve taken the plunge and decided to finally start your very own website. After considering the differences between WordPress and Shopify, you’ve decided that WordPress is the best choice for you. You’ve found a reliable and reasonably priced web host and have installed the free WordPress software. The next step is to choose a theme – the face and structure of your website. But now you’re stuck! There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. Where should you start? And once you’ve found a WordPress theme that you like the look of, how can you tell if it’s going to be the right choice for you? Read on for the seven questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a WordPress theme for your site.
Does The Theme Match Your Website’s Purpose?
Every website has a purpose, and you should be very clear about yours before you embark upon choosing a WordPress theme. The best theme for a blog is going to be very different from that of a photography website or an e-commerce store, for example. A blog or text-based website will benefit from a theme that showcases attractive typography and readability, such as a magazine theme. If your theme is complicated or likely to change in the future, a viable option is to look at a multipurpose WordPress theme.
Is The Theme Customizable?
Customization of a WordPress theme is a tricky topic. While it is important to be able to customize your chosen theme (including typography, colors, and navigation options, for example) to suit your individual needs, some themes can become bloated with too many customization options. Ideally, choose a theme that fits your website’s purpose and niche, keeping customization to a minimum. For example, if your website is intended to be a photography portfolio, look for a photography WordPress theme rather than using a multipurpose theme that will require heavy customizations.
Is The Theme Responsive?
What does it mean for a website to be responsive? Simply put, it means that the website will display as intended across different devices and different screen sizes. This is important given that more than 50% of website traffic today comes from mobile devices rather than desktop or laptop computers. Not only is responsivity vital for good user experience (UX), but since 2018 mobile speed has been recognized by Google as a major factor affecting search results. To test the responsivity of a WordPress theme you’re interested in, paste the web address of the theme’s demo page into Google’s mobile friendly test site. Find out more about using mobile WordPress themes or check out this award-winning responsive WordPress theme.
Is The Theme Plug-In Friendly?
The vast majority of WordPress websites use at least one plug-in to achieve their desired look, feel, and functionality. While it isn’t a good idea to install too many of the free WordPress plug-ins and tools available, you will likely require at least a few plug-ins to add contact forms, social sharing, automatic backups, and SEO tools, for example. Some WordPress themes do not play nicely with plug-ins – even the most popular and commonly used plug-ins. It can be a good idea to note the plug-ins you intend to use on your website, then ask the theme developer if these plug-ins are fully supported and compatible with your chosen theme before you go ahead.
Is The Theme Fast And Lightweight?
Website loading speed is enormously important, both in terms of SEO and user experience. When a website takes more than three seconds to load, the majority of visitors will click elsewhere. To prevent poor user experience, Google cites site loading speed as one of its most important ranking factors. While it is relatively simple to ensure that a text-based website loads quickly, e-commerce websites can be notoriously slow. If you’re planning on opening an e-commerce store, consider starting on the right foot by choosing the fastest WooCommerce theme.
Is The Theme SEO-Friendly?
Most people starting a website understand the importance of optimizing their content for high search engine positioning. But did you know that your choice of WordPress theme can have an enormous impact on your search engine rankings? Even the best-looking theme could be built on outdated or poorly created HTML coding that can negatively affect the search engine performance of your website. Your chosen theme should include basic SEO schema support for all pages and posts and should be optimized with ideal HTML tags in the headers and footers, main content, and all content headings. Look for a reputable WordPress theme creator who prioritizes SEO optimization in theme creation, or choose a specifically SEO optimized WordPress theme.
Is Theme Support Easily Accessible?
One of the major drawbacks of using a free WordPress theme is that support is often unavailable. Themes can be created and then abandoned, leaving users struggling without access to updates and support. When you choose a Premium WordPress theme, ensure that the theme providers offer ongoing support. At FuelThemes you will have access to our comprehensive knowledgebase and the ability to submit a support ticket at any time – giving you the peace of mind in knowing that the answers to your questions are just a few clicks away.
Does The Theme Fit Your Budget?
You need to be clear on your budget before choosing a WordPress theme. There are plenty of free WordPress themes that can be downloaded directly from the WordPress theme store. Free themes can come with several disadvantages, including the lack of ongoing updates and support, and the fact that – despite the ability to customize a theme – your website is likely to look very similar to other websites also using the same free theme. Premium WordPress themes involve an initial investment but come with all the benefits of a premium product. Beware, however, that there is no standard pricing for premium themes and some can be ridiculously expensive. Keep your budget clear in your mind before you start comparing themes.
When you’re first setting up a website, you’re understandably excited and ready to go. It can be frustrating to be slowed down by the process of choosing the right WordPress theme to suit your website. However, it is important to take as much time as you need in this step. While it is certainly possible to change your WordPress theme as many times as you like in the future, every change brings about a new set of difficulties. Plug-ins that once worked well may be incompatible with the new theme, and your clients may have become so used to the previous look and feel of your website that they are deterred by constant changes. Instead, take the time at the outset to ask yourself the above questions and choose the best WordPress theme from the start. If you have any questions about choosing the right theme for you, the benefits of a premium WordPress theme, or just WordPress in general, feel free to contact us today. The friendly team at Fuel Themes will be happy to answer your questions and get your website started on the right foot.