We all know that the user-experience is what determines the success of your website and WordPress has come a long way in helping you in providing websites with good features. Despite this, some websites get good ratings while others fail to make an impact. This impact can only be created if the site looks good and functions well and the WordPress theme that you have chosen really makes a difference here. How your website looks and appeals to the eyes of the visitors is important and is determines by the theme you choose for your WordPress site, which makes the process of selecting one an important task. Choosing a theme isn’t a very hard thing to do, but since there are so many to choose from – if you choose a bad theme then it can start you off on the wrong foot when it comes to the fisrt impression of visitors (even if that visitor is a google crawler bot!). This is why, keeping a few guidelines in mind while selecting a WordPress theme is a good idea and given below are the most useful tips.
There are tons of themes which can work for a website of any nature and there are others which are less generic and focus on different type of websites. A few examples can be themes which are sports-specifc or cinema-specific, themes tailored towards a niche. At times there are plug-ins related to that niche of websites and this makes your life much easier. Also, because of this we are able to be more straightforward with our viewers and also save a lot of time. Confusing viewers and using vague themes is a bad idea.
Free is Good for Newbies
This basically means that when you are new to WordPress and looking for the perfect theme, it is a better bet to stick with the free ones as you can have a free test run and attain more knowledge about how they will suit your website. This is because, when you are new you do not know much about the added features that the Premium themes offer and you might just end up wasting money by not using them. Once you get the hang of it and are sure of what your website requires, then investing in a premium theme in the future is a good idea.
Look for Cross-browser (And Device) Compatibility
Before adopting a free theme or buying a premium one, you need to first make sure that it runs on all the browsers and devices so that you do not face problems later. Nowadays, there are a number of themes which are not W3 valid and aren’t even compatible with the old Internet explorer. Not only that, but not all themes are responsive, so if you are in a niche with lots of savvy smartphone users you may be neglecting your audience by not going with a theme that is responsive. Keeping this in mind and choosing a theme which overcomes the two problems mentioned here is a wise thing to do as you want your website to be accessible to the modern viewers as well as those who may still be living in the past.
Keep It Simple. (But Functional!)
There are themes which can really help you out in terms of great plug-ins, customizations and aesthetics but, at times this can also be very confusing as it makes your website looks cluttered and you can’t do much in such themes when it comes to modification. Also, the plug-ins that are already present in that theme might not be of use to you and could even add to your troubles. This is why, choosing a simple theme which is more flexible is a better idea, or you can go for a customized one which is tailor-made for your business and the plug-ins are the ones that you will definitely use in future. This way you will be able to make sure that you do not get tired of the theme you have chosen as changing themes frequently can reduce the authenticity of your website in the eyes of the viewers.
A slow loading website is a huge pain and nobody will waste time on it. This means that even if your content was good and useful, it wasn’t acknowledged because your site was slow. This can happen because of a theme which doesn’t have a great usability or contains too many features that cause bloat. This is the reason why, checking the theme’s loading reputation in the blogs is a good idea to ensure that your website has optimal speed and doesn’t annoy the viewers.
Think of the Search!
As you may know WordPress is naturally SEO friendly – however, you can always improve upon it! Choosing a theme that is known for its good search engine optimization is always a plus. Look around and see what other top blogs that are at the top of the search rankings in your niche are using, sometimes they display it proudly, other times it may take a little research on your part (don’t just take a theme authors word that the theme is SEO friendly). Picking an SEO friendly theme isn’t always the most important thing though since there are plenty of plugins for wordpress that can help optimize your site independently – or you could customize the theme yourself with your coding prowess (or hire someone to do it for you).
These 6 guidelines are keypoints which can really make a huge difference when choosing a theme for your website. It is suggested that you, one by one, consider each of these points with every theme that you shortlist and make sure that you end up making the theme work for you.