Choosing the best wordpress theme

How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme for Your Website (Infographic)

Before you go searching for the best-looking WordPress theme, to start building your new website or blog, take a few minutes to consider how a theme can impact things like your brand, user experience, and search engine ranking.

Too many times have I seen someone purchase an all singing and dancing WordPress theme, to then struggle to try to get it to fit their vision, only to find out that it doesn’t do want they ended up wanting it to do.

By thinking about our content first and how that might fit within a themes design and then looking at the performance and coding standards of the themes demo website, we can start to get an idea if the theme will work for us and if it’s actually any good in all aspects, not just the look and feel.

Of course, we might want to make changes so it’s a good idea to try and get a feel for how flexible a theme is, but also to choose one that is most in line with how you see your content evolving as your website grows.

A theme may look fantastic with its demo content but we need to be thinking of how it could easily adapt to our vision and include the types of content we want to present to our visitors. A WordPress theme needs to suit the type of website we want to create, but we also need to ensure that it gives us some things as standard such as; being suitable for all screen sizes, fast loading, and well coded to W3C standards.

As you’re likely realising, all themes are not created equal and choosing a poorly designed theme could affect your website in a very detrimental way – one that could affect your traffic, brand awareness, and overall online success.

The following provides a deeper look at this very important step in your website’s design and development.

Shared are some insights that will guide you in the theme selection process so you can avoid the pitfalls in the selection, adhere to best practices, and come out with a WordPress theme that would work best for your digital marketing needs. And we’ve even created an infographic for you (at the end of the post) that illustrates these points in a cogent way. Enjoy!

The Pitfalls of Choosing a Poorly Designed Theme

Some say that choosing a WordPress theme is like choosing a new car. Many are often distracted and enamoured by how a demo site for a particular theme would look and feel, enticing would-be theme buyers to focus only on the theme’s visual attributes.

Many would go ahead with the purchase, only to find out later that they ended up with a theme that they could barely tweak to suit their needs or get stuck with a theme that is not scalable to the future needs of their blog.

Some of the problems and pitfalls in choosing a poorly designed theme include:

  • Limited or very difficult customisation options
  • Difficulty in migrating to another theme
  • Susceptibility to security vulnerabilities
  • Low search engine visibility
  • Problems and other complexities when upgrading from your current theme

Considerations for Choosing the Best Theme

The visual attributes of a particular WordPress theme are also an important aspect of your blog’s success, there are other things to consider that will move you closer to choosing the best theme. These include:

Responsiveness

Choose a responsive WordPress theme that will always showcase your website at its best such as when viewed from a large desktop display or through the screen of any mobile device.

To check your theme’s responsiveness, you can make use of Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

Suitability to Your Website’s Content

Content first, theme selection second. Never pick a theme until you know exactly what you’re trying to build. Steps that you can take in this regard include:

  • Define the purpose of the website, the overall structure, and the media and test resources before you begin to start looking for themes.
  • Create a catalog of all the pages your website will need and what will be included on each page.
  • Use this information to identify the features you will need out of a theme. As you look for themes to use, reference this list to identify themes that include built-in support for the features you plan to use.
  • Find themes that are built to do what you’re trying to do. Choosing the wrong theme will cause frustration, as you’ll be trying hard to bend it to fit your vision.

For example, image-heavy themes are suitable for use as portfolio websites for creative agencies.

Be aware of the demo content

The goal of a theme designer is to make a site that is as visually appealing as possible and makes use of every available theme feature.

So, you find a theme designer has used as much lorem ipsum text and as many stock photographs as possible. But your interest is to evaluate how well that theme will fit within your content needs.

When you design a website, you have specific pieces of content to work with. Therefore, you will be incorporating carefully selected videos, images, graphics, and text.

Every piece of content you incorporate into the website will have a specific purpose.

Theme Features Must Correspond with Your Needs

Have your niche in mind. List every function that you want to feature on your niche website.

Choose a theme that can highlight your skills, merchandise, or service on the homepage.

For example, for a fashion blogger or photography website, words must not be used as much on the homepage–choose a WordPress theme that best show your snapshots.

Choosing Between Paid and Free Themes

The price of a WordPress theme is usually considered to be a valuable indicator of its quality and dependability.

For those with a working budget to start with go for paid or premium themes to ensure that what you’ve chosen is of high quality.

Additional benefits that you can get from premium themes include:

Consistent and Regular Updates

Paid themes are consistently and frequently updated. This ensures that your site gets all the latest features including fixes to security loopholes. These new features usually come with new WordPress versions.

Offers Greater Flexibility

You may find a particular free theme being used by thousands of websites. On the other hand, paid themes are less popular but offer more flexibility. This can give your site the chance to have a completely unique website design.

Good Customer Support

Most paid theme developers often offer support through a combination of live chat, email, and even public forums. For free themes, it is most likely you will get support only through a public forum.

More Detailed Documentation

Many paid themes come with detailed PDF documentation that shows you how to make the most of the theme. Many free themes don’t provide this.

Theme Well Optimised for Search Engines

Following the best SEO strategies ensures your website has more chance to get to the top of search engine rankings and thus you make a good profit with your web business.

This calls for choosing a WordPress theme that has lots of search engine optimisation features.

If your theme is poorly coded with illegitimate HTML tags, you will never get search engine paybacks. Choose a WordPress theme optimised for search engines.

You can use the W3C Markup Validation tool to check the legibility of the code used in a theme.

Easy to Customise

Choose a WordPress theme that is easy to customise, even if you don’t want to play with its HTML, PHP, and CSS code.

You can choose a minimal WordPress theme with user-friendly features so that you would be able to install and customise the theme without any hassle.

It should include drag and drop builders, lots of easy-to-choose font and colour options, and a vast variety of shortcodes to offer great simplicity in customisation.

Conclusion

In the past, free themes were considered to have poor coding. Some thought of free themes as a ploy to capture sensitive data from sites but not anymore.

Recent theme development has boosted the quality and dependability of thousands of free themes available online today.

You can no longer disregard free themes. Nevertheless, both paid and free themes come with pros and cons – so choose the theme that would work best for you.

After setting up your site’s infrastructure, the next important step to take is to choose the best WordPress theme that will work best with your needs.

Although an important attribute, the visual qualities of the theme should not be the sole criteria for selection. Other features and attributes should also be taken into consideration.

With all these in place, you can be assured that you are mere steps away from choosing the best WordPress theme.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme for Your Website

For more information and advice on how to choose the best WordPress theme for your website please see our infographic below where we go into detail to give you the right mindset and things to think about when looking for a WordPress theme to purchase.

Do you have any WordPress theme stories or nightmares to tell? If so we would love to hear them! Please share in the comment section at the very bottom of this post.

Choosing the best wordpress theme infographic

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About Steven Watts

Steven WattsSteven is the founder of Newt Labs. He's a WordPress specialist with an interest in building the most effective websites possible. Since 2010, he's been helping businesses with their online goals.

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