Deciding the WordPress theme for a website has always been confusing for the programmers and developers because there are plenty of options available for creating the layouts and graphics. Though many use customized themes to make it compatible for their websites, others utilize readily available designs with little alterations. WordPress themes are versatile as they can be modified to the desired layout and functionality based on the website requirement. The WordPress theme that you select should complement the webpage content but not act the other way round slowing down the performance of the website. Before picking the right theme for your website, it is important to understand what you need to look for in the features.
Important Features Required for Theme
- Avoid complex layouts & flashy animations
Choose the theme that is aesthetically pleasing with good elements of page design but do not overdo it by choosing complex layouts and flashy animations. The theme presentation style should be simple and easily customizable to suit the website needs. Some of them may look really great in color and layout but may not match with the website’s purpose.
- Check for responsiveness
When themes are designed for responsiveness, they automatically adjust their layout to the browser screen size. Some WordPress themes are built responsive and can align to fit into various screen sizes. Before choosing the theme, it is important to check for responsiveness otherwise, the theme will not adjust itself to the smaller screen widths for mobiles and tabs. The easiest way to check theme responsiveness is by resizing the browser screen. If the layout adjusts itself to the screen width then the theme is responsive and mobile friendly.
- Presentation vs Functionality
Many people often get confused between themes and plug-ins. In WordPress, themes determine the presentation part of the website whereas plug-ins handle the features and functionality. Some WordPress themes are designed to behave like plug-ins as they are specifically created for special niche purposes. If you choose a theme that includes specific functionality then customizing it will become difficult and time-consuming process. Hence, it is better to avoid themes that include features and functionality unless it mandatory for the website.
- Compatibility Check
The theme that you choose should be compatible with the plug-in that you are planning to use. Otherwise, there will be inconsistency in functionality & design, when they are put together in the website. As such, there is no restriction to use a particular theme for a plug-in but if the theme is matching then it will include all the necessary page templates required for that specific criteria.
- Plug-in support
Plug-ins are very important to add a functionality to the website. There are plenty of plug-ins available and some are mandatory for every wordpress website. Make sure the theme that you select supports all the important plug-ins that are necessary for the website design.
- Page builders
The requirement of page builders is another big decision while choosing a WordPress theme. Many premium WordPress themes come with this option pre-installed. This plug-in allows drag and drop option for easy creation of page layouts. However, there are also some disadvantages as this produces lot of unnecessary code which makes it difficult to modify if you ever plan to switch the theme.
- Optimized for SEO
The theme that you select could influence your website SEO affecting its performance on search engines. Some themes will have well structured design but have poor performance because of their slow accessibility. For beginners in wordpress, analyzing the theme for SEO friendliness might be bit difficult unless the person has some technical knowledge to go through the source code. The better option is to check for that feature while selecting, as many developers will mention upfront that their themes are optimized for SEO.
- Support resolving the issues
It is the quality that matters the most while selecting WordPress themes. The are hundreds of themes that are available free but they may not provide guaranteed support when help is required. Even a small issue may prevent your website from performing well and you may end up in confusion how to resolve them. Hence before you choose the theme, make sure it has enough documentation and good support option.
- Reliability and performance
When themes are made not focusing much on good coding practices they are vulnerable to security and performance issues. These themes are not reliable as they are not safe to use for your websites. If you are not a technical person to check the quality of code, then it is better to look for reviews and customer testimonials.
Choosing Between Free vs Premium
For websites that require simple page layouts the wise option is to go for free themes from reputable and trustable sources. If price is not a major concern, then you can always opt for premium themes with quality features and flexible customizing options. Most of the premium WordPress themes provide access to template files which makes it easy to design the website. However, while purchasing premium themes make sure to check if they support ongoing updates to maintain compatibility with the latest versions of WordPress.