WordPress development has come a long way since the content management system (CMS) was introduced. And there is no better place to measure the progress of WordPress development than in the variety of themes available to users.
There are so many quality WordPress themes that users are spoiled for choice. Whether the objective is to design a personal or a business website, there are tons of themes to choose from.
The themes available to WordPress development companies or freelance developers vary from paid to free themes. However, the cost does not determine how good a particular theme is.
As a matter of fact, if you know where to look, you can get awesome free themes that are even better than many paid versions.
Therefore, it is important to look beyond the cost to get the theme that best fits your project. Any WordPress Web Development company with a good track record should be able to guide clients in the right direction.
That is, it should be their business to know what makes one theme great and another not so great. And under what conditions a particular theme works best.
That said, these are the essential features to consider before choosing a particular theme.
1. The Cost
Obviously, you have two choices here: free or paid (premium) themes. Your choice would depend on how much you had budgeted for the whole business.
A free theme does not necessarily mean you would be limited in functionalities. Most WordPress Web development companies generally advise their clients to choose free themes if they want simple designs.
One of the cons of free themes is that you are limited in how you can customize them. Also, because you paid nothing for them, there is little to no support from the designers of the themes.
On the other hand, with premium WordPress themes,
- You get unlimited options to customize them
- You can get after sales support from the theme designers
- And you get prompt updates of new features.
One of the first things to check after deciding about cost is the responsiveness of the theme.
Before selecting a particular theme, make sure it is very responsive whether you are using a smartphone or a tablet to open a site. Since most people access websites on mobile devices, it is crucial the theme doesn’t slow down access to your website’s mobile version.
There are websites that would help you measure the responsiveness of any theme. Google them and try the themes there to see the result.
3. Compatibility with Major Browsers
It is important that your chosen theme is compatible with all browsers to get the best value for your investment.
In today’s world, many people use different browsers as their preferred way of opening Web pages. You would be surprised there are millions who don’t like Chrome or Firefox.
So the best themes must be able to work well on any browser irrespective of whether it is the mobile or Web version of the browser.
4. Theme Design
In WordPress Web development, the trend now is to go for simple designs. Too many frills, colors, and features on a website are not in vogue.
Even e-commerce sites try as much as possible not to go for themes that hit users with too much at once. So many important things can go unnoticed if the theme is cluttered with too many design-features.
5. Plugins Compatibility
Plugins are softwares that extend the functionality of a theme. With the right plugins, a theme can be further customized to meet specific needs.
Before selecting a WordPress theme, you must make sure important plugins can be added to it. Some themes come bundled with their own plugins. Notwithstanding, they should be compatible with the most important third-party plugins.
6. Demo Version
The best themes, whether paid or a premium versions, should have a demo version. The demo versions are the easiest way to test-drive a theme before choosing to use it.
The essence of the demo or live preview is to expose you to some of the features of the theme via a short video. During the test drive, you should be able to see:
- The kind of options you have to customize the menu
- The available social media icons and whether they are easy to locate
- How the homepage looks
- The available layouts for that theme
In WordPress development, security is important at every stage of the process. This should not be overlooked when choosing a theme.
One of the easiest ways to find out how secure a theme is is to search for online reviews. Themes with bad security or vulnerabilities would not get good reviews online. That is guaranteed.
8. The Settings of the Theme
Where the theme’s settings are located and how they are arranged are important especially if you are a novice in WordPress development.
The settings help you make some adjustments to the theme, including simple customization. The best practice as far as settings go is to locate them in an easily accessible place.
Some bad theme designers locate the settings in different places. This makes it hard to master how to easily make changes to the theme.
9. Is the Theme Right for Your Business?
There are so many beautiful themes that it is sometimes hard to pick one. But it is always important to pick a theme that is right for your purpose.
Most of the time, themes are categorized by industry or niche to make the process easier. Make sure this option is available. Then choose a theme from the category that best fits your business.
10. Theme Support
Theme support is very important especially if you are paying money to get it. Though most sellers would rave about customer support, make sure what they claim is actually true.
The fact is, many disreputable sellers can go silent on you after collecting your money. Again, online reviews are a good way to know themes with good support.
The need for good support is important in so many respects. First of all, you might need to contact them to help you fix a bug or a glitch. Or you might need them if you have problems customizing the theme.
Also important is the fact that with good support, you get important updates as soon as they come out. Sometimes, these updates can be the one thing that stops your website from crashing.
11. Is the Theme SEO-friendly?
Search engine optimization (SEO) determines how a website fares in search engines. Everybody knows search engines like Google determine how successful a website would become in the future.
So before choosing a theme, make sure it is compatible with plugins that enhance SEO. Make sure the list of features of the theme mentions SEO.
You can also ascertain this during the live preview of the demo. Look out for SEO features like fast loading of the theme, HTML tags, and support for SEO plugins.
All these might seem like a lot at first. But with patience and a competent WordPress web development company as a guide, you would ultimately, get the perfect WordPress theme.