Finding the right WordPress theme is like shopping for a car. There are tons of choices, and you can end up going back and forth before settling on the right one. Fortunately though, unlike taking out a loan for a new car, you can grab a new theme for as low as the price of free! However, just because WordPress is so customizable, and there are thousands of simple to install themes right at your fingerprints, does not make the process any easier.
Your website design is a very serious investment, and your first impression to grabbing a visitor’s attention, and directing them to where you want them to go. Also, you have to factor in speed, functionality, and something that is optimized for SEO, not contributing to any problems down the road. To pick out the perfect WordPress theme, follow these five tips:
Stick With Reliable Sources
There are hundreds of marketplaces offering up themes for the taking, but do you truly know what you are getting? Some themes can be full of messy code, while others can potentially contain malware, hurting your visitors, and your reputation. Personally, I’ve had good success with Elegant Themes, WooThemes, and Theme Forest. All their themes are paid, but you tend to know that you are getting a high quality product, which is worth the rather small price to pay.
Ready To Rock Versus Ready To Customize
Since a theme is an investment after all, you want to make sure that it can do what you want it to do. This includes any changes you may want to make down the line. Sure, you can customize just about any WordPress theme, though some are easier than others. If you are completely satisfied with what one has to offer “out of the box” so to speak, then great. If you are satisfied, but want to make changes, make sure you know its limitations, and what you’re getting into before making a serious commitment.
Are There Any Updates?
Not all themes are created equal, and with the online landscape constantly evolving, you want something that isn’t going to be left behind. While a lot of theme updates are rather small, they can help increase speed, fix bugs, and even patch security holes.
Is It Mobile Friendly?
According to Pew Research Center, 56 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone. More people are consuming content on their mobile devices, and if your site is not properly optimized, you are making it dead easy for people to click away. Now, you can totally use a plugin like WPtouch to offer a mobile-optimized experience, but there are more and more WordPress themes that are already optimized for mobile.
A theme not mobile friendly is not a deal breaker by any means, but it is a plus for one very good reason: It offers a consistent, familiar experience across both desktops, and smartphones or tablets.
Reviews Are Your Best Friend
Just like with shopping, reviews help separate the losers from the winners. On Theme Forest for example, buyers are able to leave comments, and rate the seller on a scale from one to five. This helps to ensure if you are getting a good quality product or not, saving you hours of frustration down the line. If you don’t happen to see any chatter about a specific WordPress theme that you are considering, simply hop on over to Google, and see what you can come up with.
Photo credit: mkhmarketing
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.