Tips on Selecting a WordPress theme
One of the great reasons to use WordPress is that there are so many themes available, the problem is that the vast numbers of available themes can also be a huge negative. Why is this? Well, have you ever tried to wade your way through all of the WordPress themes online to decide which one is for your website?
So to cut down on all of this wasted time, it’s best to have at least some idea of your priorities and what you do and don’t want in a WordPress theme.
Paid vs free themes
So why would you pay for a WordPress theme?
- Ongoing customer support: If you need help with free themes you have to go to the WordPress forums or find a friendly developer, whereas with paid themes the developer offers support.
- More frequent updates: With the increasing problems of internet security and hacking, it is good to know that with a paid theme you are more likely to have frequent updates that address these issues.
- Less well known designs: Websites using free themes can be spotted just about everywhere. On the other hand there are far fewer websites using paid themes, so your theme will be less recognisable.
- No developer backlinks: Free themes have a backlink to the developer’s website, it’s a way that they can be ‘paid’ for their services. They are also sometimes present in paid themes, but can be easily removed (it’s not so easy in free themes).
Make sure that you really like the design of the theme before you hand over your money. Do you like the layout, the colours, will it be user friendly? Also, check out the demo and make sure that it displays well across all browsers.
Overloaded themes can seriously slow a site’s loading speed and if your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load, it is too slow. So be sure that you will use all the functions on the paid theme or look elsewhere (the more functions, the slower the site can load).
You would be surprised how many free and paid themes are not responsive. So be sure to check for that in their specs, as in today’s tech savvy world, customers want to access the internet on their mobile devices.
Make sure the theme you select is SEO optimised or it might say ‘SEO ready’ in the documentation – before you buy. You can check the SEO of a demo by using a free chrome extension such as MozBar, but you need to know what to look for to check that the theme is actually SEO optimised.
If you don’t like coding, then make sure that the dashboard of the theme allows you to do enough customisation to make the theme your own. You might go through many themes before you find one that is a good fit.
You need a theme with good security to stop hackers and one way to check this is to read the online reviews for the theme. If there are lots of downloads of the theme and no-one has had any problems with security, then you should be good to go.
No theme is going to be perfect out of the box, but you will be on the right track if you select one that is ready for SEO, not weighted down with unnecessary features and can be customised to suit your needs.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.