Having established the main steps on how to create a website in the previous article, now it remains to focus on how to choose the right WordPress theme for our site.
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Why is it important not to choose a WordPress theme at random? The WordPress platform serves to create a variety of sites and, as such, themes are tailored to the specifics of the target market. So, your next WordPress theme must successfully complete the content of your site. Here are some tips:
How to choose a WordPress theme?
1) Go for simplicity
Less is more. This is the right saying when it comes to choosing your WordPress theme. Many of the theme options you have come with a lot of colors, complex layouts, animations, and other twists. Beautiful, by the way. But you don’t lose your head after them unless they are useful to you.
Anyway, look for a WordPress theme with a design that comes to support the goals of your site. Of course, it should look good, but not with the price of functionality. Its main purpose is to help visitors quickly find the information they need, and to help you reach your goals (sales, notoriety, etc.).
If a WordPress theme looks great but doesn’t help you sell or attract visitors, then it’s not a good theme. And it’s not good even when it fails to give visitors a pleasant experience.
2) Choose responsive themes. It`s a MUST
Optimization is not optional. When you search for a WordPress theme for your site, you most likely do it from the desktop, where the themes can be admired in all their splendor. The problem is that nowadays, accessing sites is done with an overwhelming majority of mobile devices. So, the responsive nature of your site is a must.
In addition, keep in mind that Google primarily displays mobile-friendly sites in mobile searches. WordPress knows this too, so most of its themes are already responsive. However, on both WordPress and the marketplace, there are still plenty of themes that aren’t mobile-friendly.
How do you check if the theme you want for your site is optimized? Very simple! Resize your browser.
Responsive themes will be adapted accordingly; the others do not.
3) Take into account compatibility with various browsers
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari. Internet users use different browsers, so your WordPress theme may look great on some and bad on others.
Most WordPress theme developers rigorously test their compatibility with various types of browsers and mention this in their theme description. In case it is not mentioned, then test it yourself! Don’t forget to test compatibility with browsers and mobile devices!
4) Install the necessary plugins
The true power and beauty of using the WordPress platform lies in the multitude of plugins that can be installed. They allow you to add just about anything you want to your site, from contact forms to social media buttons.
While some of them are optional, other plugins are absolutely a must-install: BeaverBuilder, Systeme.io, Backup Buddy, Thrive Leads, W3 Total Cache or Floating Social Bar.
5) Consider using multiple languages
Although, your site will probably be in your native language, keep in mind that at some point you may also need an English version (or any other international language).
So that you don’t have to worry about changing the WordPress theme later, make sure from the very beginning that it allows the installation of plugins for several languages. For example, such plugins as Weglot, MultilingualPress.
However, avoid using bilingual content on the same version of the site. Either translate all the content or keep it all in the same language. Google will penalize sites that have a language other than the officially declared language.
6) Use Page Builders
Despite the variety of WordPress themes, nothing may fit exactly what you want and need.
For such situations, plugins have been invented with which you can build new pages for your site yourself. And don’t be scared, you don’t need HTML knowledge for that! Page Builder plugins work on the drag & drop principle.
Some of the best page builder plugins are: Beaver Builder, Elementor, Zyro, Zion.
But be careful! Using such page builders to create new pages for your WordPress theme may also produce some unwanted code, and when you change the theme, these pages will need to be adjusted. It is therefore good to choose page builder plugins that can be used for other topics.
7) Choose themes with integrated support
Downside when choosing free WordPress themes is that they don’t come bundled with technical support. If you have a problem with such a topic, you have to do it yourself. Or pay someone to solve your problem.
Make sure the theme you choose has both a good description and integrated support. Many of the premium WordPress themes offer detailed documentation and email support for 1 year.
8) Optimize for search engines
Even themes that steal your eye at first can generate inappropriate HTML code, in which case the performance of your site on search engines will suffer.
For beginners, it can also be difficult to see how good the source code of the themes is. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go with a premium WordPress theme, which provides you with information related to search engine optimization.
In this sense, your own research can help you. Search online for information on the topic you want.
Don’t worry if you see that the premium theme you choose is more expensive than one that is not premium but that you like more. It doesn’t just matter what the theme looks like but also how the code behind it is developed.
In addition, it provides a content SEO plan or strategy to optimize the organic indexing of the site. In this sense, Google Analytics and Search Console will help you.
9) Track ratings and reviews
Another indicator of the quality of a WordPress theme is the ratings and reviews associated with it.
For free themes, the rating stars appear right below the download button, and when you add a rating yourself, you will have access to the reviews based on which it was created. You can also read the reviews of others on the topic, as well as their comments and questions.
They are very useful especially if the information provided by the theme developer is not enough.
In addition, ratings help you identify the buying intentions of users who access your site. Moreover, a useful idea that you can implement is to use breadcrumbs to facilitate navigability in web pages.
Why not choose a free WordPress theme?
Although there are a variety of free themes, it is not recommended to choose one of them, especially if you do not want to have problems in the future.
A free theme is often created by novice programmers and may have few features and many vulnerabilities, so the risk of it containing weak code is high. In addition, they are updated less frequently and do not even receive technical support.
And as with everything that is free, the crowd is great, don’t be surprised if you discover online some more sites similar to yours, both in terms of appearance and functionality. Only “good” for visitors to confuse apples with pears.
If you want to create a personal blog and simply want to learn to master WordPress without expecting high traffic, then a free theme may be right for you. But later, if you want a professional site, a premium theme is mandatory.
Make sure the WordPress theme you choose supports most of these important plugins. In other words, if you don’t know for sure, you can ask the developer of the respective theme directly.
However, do not install plugins just for the sake of installing them. Some are useful (such as those recommended above), and others can make your site difficult and vulnerable to attacks.
In addition, plugins load the site’s loading speed quite a bit. And a slow-loading platform means lost conversions and poor organic indexing. Remember, Google especially appreciates sites that provide a fast and intuitive online experience.
In addition to the theme options provided by the WordPress platform in its own catalog, there are other developers who create and sell such themes.
Whatever option you choose, follow the criteria we talked about to make sure you have an attractive site and, above all, perfectly functional.
Until then, please tell me in a comment on this article what kind of themes you used for free or premium? What was your experience in choosing the WordPress theme?