How to Choose a WordPress Theme

Many people might think that choosing a theme for their WordPress website is a straightforward process that will take no more than a few minutes. Indeed, you can pick and install a theme in no time. The WP dashboard is directly connected to the official WordPress repository, where you can find over 9 thousand different designs.

However, if you rush the process, you could make a few mistakes that could have serious consequences down the line.

Let’s see what you need to bear in mind.

Why You Should Be Careful When Choosing a WordPress Theme

It shouldn’t be too difficult to see why choosing the right theme for your WordPress website is important. A good design encourages people to interact with your site. The better-looking the page is, the more likely they are to click links and buttons and use the services you’re offering. It’s not just about beauty, though.

A good design is also a memorable one. You want returning customers who can easily associate your business with an image. That image is your site’s homepage, so you need to make sure your brand identity stands out as soon as the website is loaded.

Last but not least, a good design makes your site easy to use. A sleek-looking theme will be of little use to visitors who can’t find what they’re looking for, so you need to make sure your website presents people with an intuitive interface that they can get used to in seconds.

Although these requirements seem relatively basic, making sure your theme fits them all is more complicated than you might think. As if that wasn’t enough, there are a few other things you should consider when choosing the design for your site.

Things You Should Consider

Your choice of a theme must obviously depend on your project’s specifics and goals. However, there are some universal things you should pay attention to when picking a template for your site. Let’s have a look at them.

A clean, simple look

The latest web design trends favor cleaner-looking pages over the multitude of links, buttons, drop-down menus, and other elements from days gone by.

Most theme developers know this, but there are still some who try to appeal to as many people as possible by implementing a large number of (sometimes unnecessary) features into their designs.

Even if you prefer the more traditional look, you need to make sure your site’s visitors aren’t left with the impression that you’ve stopped developing the project years ago.

Responsive design

Part of the reason for the push toward a less cluttered look is the fact that people now use smartphones to browse the internet. In fact, studies show that almost 70% of all traffic is generated by mobile devices. This means that having a mobile-friendly website is no longer just a recommendation.

You must make sure the design you’ve chosen can easily adapt to screens of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, theme demos can help you see for yourself just how good or bad a particular theme is.

Browser compatibility

Different people use different browsers, but they must all see your website equally well. If you’ve picked an off-the-shelf theme, you can use the Live Preview button from the WordPress dashboard to test the design on different browsers. However, if you set it up in a staging environment, you will have more options for testing and making sure everything works.

If you’re commissioning the theme from a developer, make sure “support for all modern browsers” is available on the list of requirements.

Plugin support

The theme will work alongside your WordPress plugins to shape and enhance your site’s overall user experience. Ideally, you’ll have a clear plan for what functionality you want to implement into your website. Even better, you’ll know which plugins you’ll use, and you’ll be able to check with the theme developer to ensure they’re supported.

Translation capabilities

If you have a multi-lingual website, you want to ensure the design works well with all languages. There are several things you need to consider, including the space the theme leaves for your text, the implementation of a menu that quickly switches between languages, and the seamless integration with translation plugins.

Technical support

Managing a WordPress theme on its own isn’t particularly difficult. However, because it works with so many other components, a bug or a compatibility issue could be just an update away.

If problems do occur, the theme developer should be able to provide a fix or at least show you a way around them. That’s why it’s essential to consider the technical support options different themes give you before choosing your final design.

SEO performance

Your project’s entire future could depend on its search engine rankings. The theme might not be the most obvious place to look for SEO gains, but the truth is, some developers put quite a lot of effort into making their products as Google-friendly as possible.

It’s a good idea to check what sort of SEO techniques different themes come with when reviewing the options.

Customer feedback

You’ll build your entire brand identity around your WordPress theme, so your choice should not come lightly. Other users’ experience can be invaluable.

You can learn from the experience of people who have installed and configured the theme. You’ll see what sort of bugs they’ve had to deal with, and you’ll learn how the theme developer handles the said bugs.

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Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.