Looking for a WordPress Theme? 7 Questions You Need to Answer Before Making a Decision
Choosing a WordPress theme for your website or blog is a big decision.
You want to choose a theme that makes a good impression, instills confidence in visitors and attracts business.
That’s a difficult task for any theme to fulfill. But with the millions of WordPress themes available online, making the right choice can be daunting – and time consuming.
But how do you know which theme is right for you? What do you need to look for when considering a theme?
A beautiful theme is of no use to anyone if it’s hard to work with. Which is why you need to answer the following questions before choosing a WordPress theme.
1. Is It Mobile Responsive?
With more and more website traffic coming in through mobiles and tablets, a WordPress theme’s mobile responsiveness is of utmost importance.
Find out what percentage of your website’s traffic is coming through mobile devices. If a substantial percentage is coming through them, then you need a mobile responsive WordPress theme.
Otherwise, you risk drastically reducing your website traffic.
Of course, it’s entirely likely that you don’t need a mobile responsive theme. Maybe your traffic isn’t heavy enough or the number of people visiting your site on mobile devices isn’t big enough.
Either way, you need to understand which devices your website’s traffic is coming from to make an informed decision.
2. Which Internet Browsers Is It Compatible With?
Internet browser compatibility is extremely important if you want to retain traffic.
If you only focus on one browser (say, Google Chrome), you risk alienating visitors who’re using older browsers (like Internet Explorer).
Use a service like Google Analytics to find out which are the top three browsers you’re getting traffic from. Then make sure your WordPress theme is compatible with them.
Even if a theme says they’re compatible with all major internet browsers, take the time to test it out yourself.
3. Does It Meet Your Editorial Requirements?
Every website has their own editorial requirements – image sizes, video embedding requirements, specific types of landing pages, etc.
Every WordPress theme has different editorial specifications too and this is where things get tricky.
A video intensive website will need a WordPress theme designed specifically for video content. The same goes for image and text based themes.
Make a list of your requirements and make sure your theme can handle them all.
4. Does It Have Widgets? Do You Even Need Them?
I’m a big fan of WordPress widgets. They allow me to customize a theme without messing with the code. But a widget heavy theme can feel clunky. And I’m willing to bet you don’t need as many widgets as you think you do.
Find out if the WordPress theme in question has most of its functions coded or are they included as widgets?
Then determine whether you need those widgets or not and make your choice accordingly.
5. What Kind of Support Is Available and for How Long?
If you’re investing in a premium theme then this one can be a deal breaker (or maker, depending on the situation).
Typically, premium theme creators offer support for up to a year. Good theme creators – especially companies selling WordPress themes like Elegant Themes, Woo Themes etc., provide on-going support.
Does your theme seller/creator offer that option? Find out if you don’t know because there’s nothing worse than wanting help with your theme and finding out the seller won’t help because they don’t provide support.
6. Can the Theme Adopt Your Company’s Branding Easily?
One of the things every website owner needs to consider when selecting a WordPress theme is to see how well the theme adopts their branding.
Is there place for the website logo? Can it easily change colors to reflect the logo? Etc.
You know the drill.
7. What about SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it’s popularly known, is perhaps the single most important factor to consider when selecting a WordPress theme. Does the WordPress theme you’re considering offer SEO settings?
As shocking as it sounds, a theme should NOT have SEO settings. Always use a plug-in for it.
If you’re wondering why, then consider this: If you use your theme’s SEO settings option, and a few years down the line, you decide to change your theme – what happens to the SEO settings of your old theme?
There’s a good chance you’ll lose it all.
When you use an SEO plug-in like WordPress SEO by Yoast, you’re not bound by your WordPress theme. You can change themes any time without worrying about losing your years’ worth of SEO efforts.
If you’re using a WordPress framework like Thesis or Genesis, you can use their SEO settings because their settings aren’t tied to the theme. They’re tied to the framework and your WordPress theme would be a child theme.
Choosing a WordPress theme for your website is a big decision. What factors do you look for when choosing a theme? How long did it take you to choose your first theme?