A Complete Guide on How to Choose a WordPress Theme in 2019
Choosing a WordPress theme for your business is more important than you might think, here’s how to choose the right one.
From themes to plugins and optimizations, Choosing the right WordPress theme shouldn’t be done on a whim — we discuss everything in this article.
As a developer…
How often have you gone to chose a WordPress theme, built a website and then come across some other theme that you started liking better? Almost anyone familiar with building a website on WordPress has experienced this at some point.
Why is it that selecting the right WordPress theme is such a complicated process?
WordPress, like most website platforms, give us pretty much all the necessary information we need in making a sound decision regarding the theme, compatibility and other issues. Still, the problem with choosing the right theme keeps popping up.
In this article, we will look at the most important questions regarding choosing the right WordPress theme, like:
- Is the theme aligning with your business’ goals, personality and image?
- What are some of the differences between a ‘Parent theme’ and a ‘Child theme’?
- What roles do Plugins play in choosing the right WordPress theme?
- How the right WordPress theme fulfils the Google Ranking Factors?
- What kind of investment am I looking at when it comes to choosing the right theme?
Choosing the right WordPress theme is important for your business. Brands simply can’t afford to choose a theme based on eye catching placeholder designs — they have to make decisions based on audience, user experience and ultimately conversion goals.
WordPress Themes: A Brief History and Introduction
WordPress powers over 30% of all websites on the internet!
This is a staggering statistic. WordPress being an open-source publishing platform built on PHP and MySQL. It is licensed under GPL and hence guarantees its open-source freedom for future generations.
A WordPress theme may look like a website skin on the outside, but is more accurately compared to the frame that a modern car is built on. The theme framework determines the site’s flexibility, responsiveness, speed and even ease of use. The theme’s skin dictates what the user will see in terms of brand and graphic styling.
WordPress themes are divided into three main categories:
- Parent WordPress Themes
- Child WordPress Themes
- Theme Frameworks
Nearly all WordPress themes are by default, Parent Themes. That being said, most WordPress themes are customized and customized themes typically require Child Themes. However, in order to use the Child Theme, you will always have to get the Parent Theme installed.
Factors to consider before you Choose a WordPress theme
1. Define the Goals of your Business and Brand:
Branding defines who you are, your nature, scope and the functioning of your business.
Before you decide on your brand, it is important that you introspect on certain factors that can immensely contribute to the growth and development of your business.
Some of the factors worth considering include:
- Principles, vision, and mission statement
- Your target audience
- Your inspiration
- Company culture
- Professional style
- What makes you different from the others?
In terms of how that applies to your website you’re going to need to consider how your prospective customers will interact with your website and what the goals of your website should be. Typically, we measure these goals by establishing conversion goals. A conversion could be anything, depending on your site’s or your business’s goals.
Typical conversion types might include: a purchase or a subscription to a newsletter, leads, form completions, anything that produces a contact or lead for your business.
Understanding your goals will help you establish a Wireframe of your website’s requirements and needs before purchasing a WordPress theme. This means that you narrow down on the features, sections, pages, categories, contact forms and other integrations that you are going to need for your business website.
2. Decide on the Budget for the WordPress theme:
While some WordPress themes are free, others, which offer greater functionalities and features need to be purchased from WordPress theme platforms or premium developers. The pricing varies depending upon the quality of the designs, features and functionalities built into them. Paid themes can cost you anywhere between a few dollars to hundreds of dollars with sophisticated ecommerce applications.
While on the one hand, good customized websites require a budget of about $5000-$10000, on the other, a Theme can get up and running with just a few bucks and a little effort on your part!
This broad range in pricing and trying to sort through what’s included and what isn’t; is exactly what drives first time web-prenuers over the edge when planning a website design budget. For more help determining your budget, click here.
3. Select the Best Plugins for your WordPress theme:
Every WordPress theme based website needs WordPress Plugins to function. This may include plugins for Contact Forms, Payment Gateways, Compressing images and videos, social media plugins and so on. It is important that you ensure that the plugins are compatible on your version of the WordPress theme. The most advanced themes are now running WordPress 5.0.
There’s a lot of opportunity to go wrong with plugins, but we’ve done the research to put you on the path to success:
4. Mobile Responsiveness and Browser Compatibility:
Ever since Google stated that Mobile Responsiveness and Site Speed are one of the crucial ranking factors, developers scout web themes that satisfy these factors. Finding these themes can be very hard because the more functionality a theme has typically the more cumbersome it becomes. It is important that themes work in the same fashion across browsers like Google, Mozilla, Safari, etc. It is also important that they function in exactly the same fashion on desktops, mobile phones, tablets and so on.
Launching a WordPress website?
This Handy Website Checklist will Help You Make Sure Your WordPress Website is User Friendly and Responsive.
5. Check whether the Themes are Customizable according to your liking:
While some WordPress themes provide enough customization options using Page Builder, Elementor and so on, others do not. Themes, which do not allow too many customizations start looking the same. Creating a web design that reflects your brand will require you to change certain aspects of the design and the functionalities.
6. Look for periodic Updates, Support and Documentation:
Some of the best WordPress Theme development platforms offer great support and periodic updates. This will ensure that your website is always up to date with the latest software installations. You can also ask the platform for licenses and documentation to bring more legality and transparency into the purchase. It is better to purchase from platforms that offer extensive support periods.
7. Is the WordPress Theme SEO Optimized?
Yes, this is a valid question from many levels. Most good WordPress themes already have ‘Schema Mark-ups’ and defined H1, H2 and H3 title and meta tags.
If you’re launching a new site, these 4 WordPress SEO hacks are way too easy to NOT implement right from the jump
Your website is a valuable tool for communicating with your customers, building leads and driving sales. Website design often plays a significant part in ensuring the success of a company. To help businesses create great looking and highly functional business websites, WordPress offers up ready-made themes.
And why not?
WordPress powers more than 74 million websites and counting, WordPress is the world’s leading content management system (CMS). It’s fast, efficient, easy to modify, and well supported by WordPress Web Developers World Wide.
In addition, these themes have a proper HTML structure that helps developers execute most of the On-Page SEO functions at the development stage only. This helps save time, money and extra effort later on.
For a list of THE BEST FREE SEO Themes for WordPress, click here.
8. Does the Platform offer Money Back Guarantee?
Even after paying attention to almost all the above stated factors, the theme might not end up working for you. In such instances, you might want to get your money back from the developers of the theme. It is crucial that you check the platform well in advance and see if they offer such guarantees. Very few WordPress theme developers offer this.
As I have already stated, selecting the right WordPress Theme can be a daunting task. This is why doing adequate research before narrowing down on your theme is necessary. The right WordPress theme can help boost the performance of your website in many ways.
Do let us know about some of your favorite WordPress themes in the comments section below.