10 Things to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Theme

WordPress was started as a simple blogging platform, but now it is one of the most powerful and popular Content management System to create different type of websites. You need a simple blog or your client need a custom website, WordPress can help you to build 30+ types of website.

Front end is most important part of any website, when a visitor visit your website, first thing will notice the design of your website and content readability. On desktops design really matters because there is a lot of space your design should be simple, elegant and attractive. When someone visit your website on small screen devices, your website must be accessible and content should be easily readable.

WordPress allows you to change design of your blog/website with themes. Installing and activating new WordPress theme is really simple and easy. You can choose from thousands of free and premium themes available online. There are so many marketplaces where you can buy premium themes or download free themes.

Even though it is easy to change design of WordPress based website with themes but there are many things to remember before installing a new WordPress theme. In this article i am going to discuss some most important things to remember when choosing a new WordPress theme.

Whenever you decide to install a new free or premium theme on your WordPress website, make sure your theme offers:

1. A clean and simple design and good color scheme
2. An easy and fully responsive Navigation
3. Easy to Customize
4. SEO Friendly
5. Social Media links
6. Must be mobile friendly and fully responsive
7. Text is easy to read on all type of devices
8. It must be light weigh
9. Visually appealing content : images and videos
10. Up to date and from trusted developers

1. A clean and simple design and good color scheme

Always choose a theme with simple and elegant design. As a developer, designer or blogger your basic goal should be the creation of design that can attract the maximum number of the visitors, who spend enough time on the website to browse around. With good design it is easy to attract and engage the visitors. You don’t need a WordPress theme with full of color and super fancy design.

Always try to find out a WordPress theme with simple yet professional design, suitable for your business or blog. By choosing a WordPress theme with nice design, you can be sure you will have people coming back to you (but you should not forget about the content as well of course).

2. An easy and fully responsive Navigation

You should never ignore usability. You have to make sure that your website will be easy to navigate and pretty simple. Always choose a theme with fully responsive and accessible navigation menus. Make sure that the website navigation is straight forward and it has SEO friendly information architecture.

3. SEO Friendly

Search Engine Optimization really matters and you can not ignore it, Check if your theme is using SEO friendly markup. HTML5 offers so many elements which helps developers to create Search Engine friendly web pages. If your theme is SEO friendly, good but if it isn’t you can install and use any WordPress SEO plugin. Yaost SEO is one of the most popular plugin to optimize WordPress websites for search engines.

Recommended reading: 4 Tips to Improve WordPress Blog for SEO and the User Experience

4. Social Media links

It is impossible to ignore Social media now a days, Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram and many other social networking websites are very popular and billions of users are using them. If your theme supports Social Media menus, great. For example TwentFifteen theme allows you to create social media menu. you just need to add your social media links and your theme will display social media icons.

Recommended reading: Optimize Content Sharing On Social Media With WordPress Plugins

5. Must be mobile friendly and fully responsive

The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace, but unfortunately much of the web isn’t optimized for those mobile devices. Mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen.

After installing a theme make your website look great on mobile devices. you can always run a Mobile Friendly Test. A don’t forget that Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.

Most of the new free and premium themes are fully responsive and mobile friendly. You should read Is Responsive Design A Ranking Factor? at searchengine land to learn more why Responsive design matters.

7. Right font & Readable text on all type of devices

This one is really important and you can not ignore it. Make sure that the content on your website or blog is easily readable. If you are a theme developer use a reasonable font size or if installing a new theme make sure font size reasonable and people can easily read content on small screen devices. I have seen website where it is impossible or really difficult to read content on small screen devices.

Font size should not be too small nor should it be too big. Also, make sure that the color of the font stands out from the background. Never ever use similar colors for the background and the font. Use appropriate font size for headlines, sub-titles and bullets as much as possible, because it makes it easier for the visitor to comprehend the content in a glance.

Web fonts are very popular now a days and most premium themes allows you to choose your desired font, so make sure your font is easy to read.

8. It must be light weight: Loading speed matters

This is a key aspect of any website. The loading speed of the web pages must be very fast. Remember Google hates slow websites and loves fast websites. People will leave your website if it is too slow. Most of the people leave the website within a few seconds of visiting it, if, the page does not loads quickly.

It can severely affect your bounce rate. Therefore, make sure that your website infrastructure is such that the pages load at optimal speed. There are so many free plugins available that helps you to optimize your WordPress websites for optimal speed but your theme must be fast as well. You don’t need a theme with hundred on extra images, use CSS3 properties if needed.

9. Visually appealing content : images and videos

Including visual (images and videos) content is yet another effective way of attracting the visitors. People prefer watching interesting images and interactive videos rather than reading long text paragraphs. When choosing a WordPress theme for your personal or customer website, make sure it displays images and videos nicely.

10. Theme must be up to date and from trusted developers

Never use out dated WordPress themes. Check when theme was last updates and if it is not up to date and does not supports latest version of WordPress, ignore it. Always download and buy WordPress themes from trusted sources and market places. Official WordPress Themes directory is best place to download free themes.

What are your most favorite WordPress themes and why do you like to use them. Do your prefer free themes or premium themes. Share your thoughts in comments.

About Author: Tahir Taous is front end developer and blogger and founder of JustLearnWP.com, a WordPress and Blogging training and tutorials website. Join his FREE NEWSLETTER and Download Free eBook increase Blog Traffic, Subscribers and Earning and receive more articles about WordPress, theme development and blogging directly in your inbox.

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