WordPress Theme, only two words but I’m pretty sure that as a beginner WordPress developer or site owner you have been overwhelmed by the number of marketplaces and sites that are selling WordPress Themes and in some cases all what you need is free theme!
When do you need to choose a new WordPress theme?
Choosing new WordPress theme may happen in one of the following cases:-
- Creating new WordPress site: So you decided to open your own site and took the decision to use WordPress as CMS ( Content Management System ) in this case you need WordPress theme to fasten your launch process and try sending a message to your customer that you are professional and take case of every detail when dealing with them.
- Outdated WordPress theme: So here you have up and running WordPress site with a theme but it hasn’t been maintained from too long time so you may see warnings, deprecated error messages, broken functionalities, …etc. so here you have no option except changing this theme.
- Changing business identity: So you have WordPress site with working theme but you want to change your business identity and need a theme that reflects your new identity.
Tip 1: What do you expect from your new theme?
Fast, performant theme:
Why? We need WordPress theme that helps our guests to navigate quickly between pages and this will affect positively the bounce rate.
Also search engines added this factor while ranking your site so choosing fast WordPress theme is one of search engine optimizations you firstly do in your site.
For those reasons I added this as first point to check when choosing WordPress new theme.
How? You can open the theme demo page and check the page speed by yourself or using online tool to do this for you like
GTmetrics, Pagespeed Insights, …etc.
so you may know the score of this theme demo page before purchasing it.
Why? Making your site responsive is no longer an option and became mandatory thing when creating a new site.
In last web stats I found the following points :-
- 72% of People Want Mobile-Friendly Websites.
- 77% of Adults Own a Smart Phone.
- Almost 60% of All Internet Access is Done Through the Phone.
- 50% of Total eCommerce Revenue Comes from Mobile
So We don’t want to miss this wide audience for just making our site not responsive!
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.Quote by Stephen Hawking
So we need our theme to be ready to be multi-language even if you don’t plan to do so immediately.
Also please remember, changing your theme isn’t an easy way and may have drawbacks and this is the last thing we need to get into.
Why? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that will help you archiving your site’s pages quickly and rank your site at the top of search results in Google or other search engines, so in some WordPress themes you will find that they use some markups in a way that encourage search engines to archive your site in proper, quick way.
How? There are many online tools that check the demo page url against SEO scores.
Tip 2: Multi-purpose theme or single purpose one?
I will give you a hint here for each one and the full decision is yours at the end!
Multi-purpose WordPress theme
WordPress theme that is full of features which called multi-purpose theme is a way to give you all what you need, what u wish and what you don’t wish also 😀 all the features that help you create any type of sites for example blog, e-commerce, LMS, personal, …etc.
And in most cases you will use 40% from the available features at most and this may affect your site performance as if the themes doesn’t handle this properly you will find tons of CSS stylesheets, JS scripts and other assets loaded into the page and you don’t need most of them.
Also if you are non-technology geek, you will find it hard to look into all of these features and configuration for them.
Single purpose WordPress theme
Here you will find minimal features that only satisfy your needs so if your site is an e-commerce platform you will get e-commerce specific so you will not find any option related to LMS for example.
So her you will use more than 80% of theme features and if you needed any new functionality you would need to hire developer to make it for you or search the plugins directory searching for what you want.
Tip 3: Do I need WordPress theme support?
Simply, Yes you do.
At first month when purchasing a new theme for your site, you may need theme support as you aren’t familiar with the theme yet and you may find incompatibility between theme and one of your plugins so you will need them when you start using their theme.
Also after first year you will discover more about the theme and the company behind it and in this stage you will discover that you are receiving theme updates which are very helpful when it comes to security or performance matters.
WordPress is changing dramatically these days and your theme is depending on WordPress Core changes so for example if one of the functions that you theme is depending on is deprecated so you will need a hand to handle this situation and updating the theme will solve the issue and prevent your site from the white screen issue.
Also PHP itself is changing dramatically, and for the same reason you will need a hand to help you updating your theme code from time to time.
So invest in theme support as much as you can, don’t say that my site is working properly, why do I need their support?!
Tip 4: Test your theme on staging before going live.
Please take this point into considerations as it’s very important to test your new theme on staging site and trying to explore the whole functionality and play with it as much as you can and remember, you paid money on this theme and it should do its job properly otherwise please use refund button to return your cash back.
Testing your WordPress theme on staging will give you a perfect insight about the site performance issue but please when using staging site make it not accessible by others not to have duplicated content at search engines as this will lower your grade there.
Tip 5: Check reviews comments on theme and on seller.
You will need to check what people say about this theme from experimental eyes so you will get a hint about the theme itself and pros/cons related to it.
Reviews on the seller itself will help you identify if their support is fine or they are bad when dealing with tickets.
Also you may know the way of communication between you and the support team so most of themes are supported via ticketing system so you may know if this will satisfy your needs or you want faster support channels?
Choosing WordPress theme is not an easy way and takes some time so please don’t be in a hurry when it comes to choose a theme for your site and be careful as changing your theme may have drawbacks on performance, search engine ranks, customer retention, …etc.