Based on the WordPress About page, over 35% of the websites out there are built upon the well-known CMS. And this is not surprising as WordPress websites combine simplicity, flexibility, publishing features, user, and media management.
Searching for the right WordPress theme for your site could be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. The online environment has a large amount of premium, as well as free templates, that feast your eyes, and the decision is hard to make. Big & bold headings, impressive headers, and footers, colored shades, asymmetrical shapes, modal blocks, flexible menus, animations, and what else?
Before being mesmerized by visuals, it’s important to also understand the technical, the not so known part of a website. When you get a beautiful WordPress theme, you also receive a package of features (scary at first sight) you need to master before making waves online. In this article, I’ll present the most wanted 10 tips in choosing the right WordPress theme for your blog or website.
What’s your website all about?
So, you have a hobby. Or, a website idea. Will it work? Will it look nice? Will people return to see more info? How to build a community around my site? Well, these are just a few of the questions that are probably running through your mind already.
But first, when starting a new website, you need to clear your head and write down what’s exactly about. What are you going to publish? What type of content? Is it a traveling blog, or a beauty one? Or maybe it’s a jewelry store? Whatever the subject is, you should take the time to introspect and make notes.
In case you already have a website and want to change your theme, it’s always a good idea to analyze your site’s purpose and to whom you address it.
Know your audience
The audience represents the most valuable asset for you. Everything you optimize on the website is interconnected with your audience. The content is for them, from you. The overall look is to attract visitors and keep them engaged.
If you already have a site, it means you know your audience or so you should. Maybe you are using Google Analytics, Semrush, Ahrefs, and other tools to monitor the website’s traffic. Have you done your customer profile?
If not, you definitely must understand and gather the data to know if your audience consists of women or men, the age, location, and the traffic source. Of course, there’s a range of other information such as bounce rate, time on page, and so on that help, you process how the audience perceives your website.
What are your site’s requirements?
Usability.gov describes a site’s requirements as “a list of necessary functions, capabilities, or characteristics related to your website and the plans for creating it”. According to their best UX practices, you have to define business, user, functional, quality-of-service, and implementation requirements.
Besides the website functionality, you need to know what type of content you’ll include, and what additional functions you would need. Here, I refer to extra plugins, which are not always a good idea. They can create conflicts with the chosen theme. To eliminate this probability, you should focus on a theme that can serve your requirements. This way, you won’t get your website’s speed and performance affected by multiple plugins.
A light-features theme or one that covers any subject?
I mentioned above that the web has plenty of free and premium WordPress themes you could choose from. In addition to this, for free themes, there’s the WordPress repository, which might be the best choice. When free themes are submitted by authors, they have to be approved by the WordPress theme review team. There’s a whole process there.
As for the premium themes, you might want to research the specific markets, such as Envato, Themeforest, Elegant Themes, Studio Press, Mojo Marketplace, Creative Market, WooThemes, Template Monster, Ink Themes, and many more.
With this range of possibilities, you’ll have to focus on the theme that best serves your needs, based on the website’s profile: travel blog, business presentation, medical website, eShop, or any other. If your website includes content based on multiple domains such as an online news portal or magazine, it’s best to opt for a WordPress theme that covers any subject and still performs at its best standards. A light-weight features theme needs additional plugins, and no one wants to clutter a website with unnecessary coding pieces, right?
Are you into frontend or backend editing?
If this is your number one interaction with a website and a WordPress theme, then it’s a must to know the difference between frontend and backend editing.
Nowadays, websites tend to be responsive on any screen device, due to the high number of people using their tablets or smartphones browsing online, instead of a desktop. To easily manage this, you should opt-in for the frontend editing. You’ll see every change in real-time while dragging and dropping elements to your pages. This is the fastest way to create responsive layouts that look amazing on all devices.
Meanwhile, the backend editing gives you poor functionality. You need to keep flipping from the backend to the frontend to see the changes. So, basically, you design your site in the backend, without actually controlling the visuals. Also, it’s a time-consuming process.
The majority of the new WordPress users don’t understand what demos really represent. Usually, the markets showcase themes along with beautiful presentations. They also place a link towards a default demo, which is a whole website already created by the theme developers. A demo design is built up by pieces of functionality, a pleasant layout, all based on UX and UI studies. You can find any demo subject, including cryptocurrency, news, fashion, business, sports, and what more. With an enabled demo, you only have to add your own content.
Pre-built design templates
With the tech world evolving fast, and with people preoccupied with so many things, time is an expensive resource. That’s why the WordPress themes’ authors tend to create pre-made design templates to minimize the time spent on creating a website. It’s easier to assign a homepage layout, an author page, a post style from a gallery of thousands of various options.
Multiple special design options
Web design is a continuous source of art, modern ideas, and inspiration. A WordPress theme with mixed design-related options is worth your attention. With the help of a fine-tuned theme, you can style your website without extra software to adapt images, videos, or layouts.
Some of these options are related to typography, gradients, duotones, hover effects, blending modes, animations on buttons, and of course, unlimited possibilities to create custom layouts. By using advanced design options, you can set up a trend so that people easily recognize your website.
Trustworthy WordPress themes are about the product and its web developers. You can rely on themes that are authentic, resourceful, with regular updates, and that has been on the market for quite some time. To check out if a theme is worth your trust, you should check out the customer’s opinion through reviews and comments on all available platforms.
Don’t forget that usually there’s a product that becomes popular with time passing and a lot of hard work, and others try to follow the same recipe. You’ve probably seen themes that look-alike.
Wisely choose your hosting provider
There are a few things to look at when considering a hosting provider to store your website. First of all, you should research those who provide WordPress hosting packages. Then, you have to decide which is the most reliable for you in terms of speed, security, and support. Also, it’s important to pay attention to details such as storage, bandwidth storage, and scalability. You can find here some interesting reviews on the best WordPress hosting services.
In conclusion, with so many offers out there, it’s ok to have conflictual thoughts about your theme decision. Based on experience, I’d say that you’re not getting anywhere without testing and analyzing data. So, follow these 10 tips for choosing the right WordPress theme, then choose your favorite templates, and test them. Select the one that best fits your site’s needs, with easy navigation, premium tools, and unlimited styling options.