How To Pick the Right WordPress Theme for Your Website
Websites have to be uniquely built to serve its distinct purposes and nearly every website is somewhat unique in its design and content. WordPress powers more websites than any other CMS (Content Management System) in the world, is open source and free and most importantly drives the multi-billion-dollar economy with most of the leading brands vying for what it has to offer.
There are innumerable factors that go into the building of a WordPress site. Be it content, CTA’s (call to actions), designs, themes, etc. everything needs to work in harmony to produce a desired effect on the audience. However, unlike content and design, themes are not paid much attention to that are critical in giving shape and value to one’s website. Much of it is due to the fact that there is limited knowledge of themes and at the same time its importance is not addressed the way it should be.
A theme in WordPress is a collection of style sheets and templates that are used to define the display and appearance of a website powered by WordPress. Each theme comes with its own features, design, and layouts. For e.g.photography themes would attract certain sets of users whereas a cinematic theme would cater to its own audience.
Curating an enhanced online experience is what today’s designers and developers strive for, therefore, it’s important to have a theme that is intuitive and user-friendly for establishing a strong online presence. Staying up to date with current trends will not only cement your visibility but also boost your conversion rates and better than those of your competitors.
#1 Before choosing a theme of your choice WordPress is not suitable enough to power all the custom business needs. Webmasters use 3rd party plugins and themes with custom JS and CSS codes to make up for the functionality gaps. Developers also use a wide range of technologies, features, and API’s to fulfill their requirements. However, it should be noted that having too many unknown components integrated within one’s website can also cause some unwanted issues which could make debugging a more complex task. Opt for WordPress development services which would definitely come handy and should be considered when you are catering to many users.
(i) Cross-Browser Compatibility
Having a cross-browser compatible theme will support all the web browsers at once. Browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox offer many DevTools to make your website compatible and efficient. Test your website in these browsers to figure out bugs if any. Analytical tools such as Google Analytics and FoxMetrics are critical when it comes to understanding your website statistics and user behavior. WordPress theme developers test themes rigorously using browser compatibility tools. It’s important to test your theme on mobile browsers as well.
Run some basic theme compatibility tests for both desktop and mobile versions by using free tools such as browsershots, browserling, saucelabs etc.
(ii) WordPress Plugins
As mentioned above, WordPress CMS is not very advanced and does not offer a lot of functionalities as one would have liked to. For this, we have WordPress plugins that improve the website, its functionalities and the user experience. Plugins reduce the cost of building website and eliminates the need for professional programmers. In short, it fills the functionality gap and helps one scale their website.
There are many plugins to choose from, but one must have plugins like Gravity Forms, W3 Total Cache, Yoast SEO etc for getting good traffic from the search engine. The majority of widely used plugins come of no cost and can be easily integrated.
#2 Choosing a Right WordPress Theme
It’s recommended to go for themes that are available in the official WordPress directory. Downloading themes from unrecognized sources should be avoided. A malicious code subsides in the theme when downloaded can cause potential harm to your system. Points to consider when choosing themes:
● Stay away from themes that do not allow you to tweak or customize the code files. Even if you don’t want to, the code files should still be accessible.
● Do not go for themes that aren’t mobile and tab friendly.
● A premium theme should always have a good quality support. Don’t buy themes that fail to do so.
● It’s the job of the plugins to offer robust security and SEO features. Do not opt for themes that promise to offer what plugins do best.
#3 Premium Themes
Experimenting with free themes is great for bloggers and individuals who are starting new on WordPress. However, going premium should be no brainer for one who depends on their websites for business operations. Premium themes score high on quality, functionality, security, updates, and support whereas free themes lack support and timely updates. It also runs the risk of abandonment from the theme author which many would like to steer clear from.
Theme customization is more important than ever. The ability to customize comes with great responsibility since it gives one control over the website’s look and functions such as images displayed, headers, footers, sidebar layout, etc which should be in sync with the services and products offered. A customer-responsive time says all about the website’s ability to attract and hold users. Therefore, along with the theme of your choice, other aspects such as browser support, device support, page load time, friendly customization, etc. are crucial for hassle-free user experience. Also, compare themes before making any final decisions. Figure out themes that let you change fonts, background colors, sidebars, and other layouts easily. In the end, you want to have some flexibility in order to reach your users with personalized services for maximum impact. Once you are sure that your theme matches the criteria mentioned above, it would be much easier for you to run your website.
Work with developers if you lack coding knowledge or want to try something unique that has not been tried before. Taking the assistance of a WordPress development company can help shape your website according to your specific needs. If you would like to go with some pre-built WordPress theme, make sure that it contains clean code, is responsive and comes with plenty of customization options.
Keval Padia is the founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a progressive web development company. He loves to craft a mobile experience that automates business operations. The prospects of future web technology entice him to express his views on subjects that he is affiliated with.