WordPress can be defined as an online, open-source website creation tool written in PHP programming language. This excellent website platform is being used for powering a variety of websites, including e-commerce, business, portfolio websites, and even blogs. Around 32% of the world’s total websites, ranging from small personal blogs to complex websites, including the New York Post, Time Inc., and NBC are powered by WordPress. The wide range of WordPress advantages is what makes it one of the most preferred platforms for building an online presence.
Since WordPress is free software; you can download, install, use, alter, and customize it to meet your business needs. Though WordPress is free, you would need a domain name and a web host to install it, which might require an investment.
A number of plugins, themes, features, and functionalities, etc. Add to the advantages of using a WordPress theme to build your websites. A large number of free and premium WordPress themes are available to suit specific business requirements. In fact, the appearance, functionalities, and features of each of these themes surpass the other, making it further difficult to choose one for your needs.
In this article, we will cover all the important things to be considered when choosing a WordPress theme for building your websites:
Table of Contents
Simplicity is Sophistication
There are a number of WordPress themes that are available, which look great and appealing. However, if these themes fail to provide users with what they want, they might probably leave your site and choose your competitor over yours. If your bounce rates are higher than usual, then it would start affecting your business. So when you start examining for factors that are impacting your business, start with your theme. Sometimes, your business might be failing because of a theme that generates disinterest in people.
Simplicity is one of the keys when it comes to choosing a great theme. This means you do not want an overcrowded theme with flashy animations, mixed up with a variety of colors, complex layouts, etc. There may be situations which might demand such themes, but many a time, it would be ideal to keep your site’s design as simple as possible.
Recommended reading: 13 Best WordPress Themes Built with Bootstrap Framework
WordPress.org has a collection of free themes with simple design layouts, though the features and functionalities might not be as great as those in premium themes. Just check whether the layout is excessively packed with a lot of components, which might not be well received by your audiences (based upon their interests).
So when choosing your WordPress theme, remember the goal of our website is to ensure that your users can find the information they are looking for with ease. This leads us to a point where we are working toward user satisfaction and when the user is satisfied, ultimately, your business blooms with success.
Responsiveness and Mobile-friendliness are Mandatory
In this emerging era of smartphones and iOS devices, there are still a number of themes with fixed width layouts and are not mobile-friendly. As we know, responsiveness is no longer an option to choose, but it would be an excellent practice to follow. This brings us to the point that choosing the perfect WordPress theme also means ensuring it is responsive and mobile-friendly.
Google loves responsive and mobile-friendly sites, and chances of such sites ranking among the first few results of the search engine result pages are higher. This gives you one more reason to make your website responsive and mobile-friendly no matter what kind of topic, niche, or demographic it targets.
Responsive themes are capable of adjusting their layouts on any devices, regardless of the screen sizes. A huge volume of traffic is generated from mobile devices, which means, Google would love your site if it is responsive and as discussed earlier, the chances of making your site reaching the top of the search engine results are higher.
WordPress themes are mostly responsive, by default. So all you have to do is test your theme to ensure that it is responsive. If your theme’s layout fails to adjust itself to the screen’s width as you resize your browser’s screen, then your theme is not responsive.
You can check whether your theme is mobile-friendly by copying the URL of your theme’s demo page and pasting it in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page. This test would warn you with red flags, such as smaller text, content that does not fit into the screen, etc. If your team fails the test.
Sometimes, people start using certain themes to build their websites without testing whether it works on all the different browsers that are available. And, by the time, you realize that your site doesn’t fit into all the browsers, it is too late. Next time, when you are choosing a WordPress theme, ensure that it is supported by all browsers to avoid last minute confusions.
It is impossible to predict the browser that your user is going to use to access your site. If they notice something broken when viewing your site, then, we need not say more. You end up disappointing your customers, which does no good for your business. This is why it is important to ensure that your theme is compatible with multiple browsers.
Most of the WordPress themes that are available today have been thoroughly tested using some of the best browser compatibility testing tools to ensure that these are cross-browser compatible.
Generally, you can find this info on their websites when you choose a theme. In case, you do not find this info, you can manually test the theme of your choice on various browsers, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc. Also, test your theme on different browsers using mobile devices as well.
WordPress is well-known for the wide range of plugins that it is offered for a variety of purposes. In fact, many of these plugins make it easier to customize various features that you want your site to offer.
This is one of the advantages of using WordPress to build your sites, as the presence of some of these plugins makes it easier even for people with minimal technical knowledge to set up a site with ease. With the use of plugins, you can add the necessary functionalities and features to your site, customizing it further such that it fits into your business needs perfectly.
Some of the plugins available are page builders, which provide you with the provision to create layouts with their drag-and-drop user interfaces. Many of the premium WordPress themes come with installed page builders.
Choosing a perfect theme for building your website also means that you need to check that it is compatible with all the plugins that are essential for your business.
Multilingual and Translation-ready
We want our businesses to reach far and wide rather than focusing on a single audience. Most of the WordPress themes are in the English language; however, when choosing a theme, it is important to keep in mind that there are millions of people around the globe, who speak different languages. They might prefer to read in their native languages.
When you are building a website, regardless of the industry niche, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your audiences. When our audiences reach us, we want them to read our content, which is possible only if we provide the content is in a language that they can understand. Reaching out to a global audience is one of the advantages of using WordPress for building your websites.
WordPress has already provided a multitude of plugins that help with multilingual translation. Most of the latest WordPress themes are compatible with WordPress multilingual plugins. Ensure that the theme you are choosing is also compatible with WordPress multilingual plugins so that you can use your website to reach a wider audience.
Check for Support
Not all themes might guarantee support. Some of the free themes offer excellent support, while some do not have this option. If there arises a problem with your WordPress theme and you are unsure of the technical glitch, then you would need to hire an external web developer to solve their issue, which might be a tedious process. It might take a lot of time and money to fix the bug.
However, if you choose a WordPress theme that comes with extensive documentation and good support, you do not have to struggle to fix the mess. Most of the premium WordPress themes offer excellent support and have good documentation.
SEO is one of the most important aspects of any websites when it comes to visibility over the search engines. Not all good looking themes might be SEO-friendly. Sometimes, some of the themes might contain poorly coded HTML, which could affect your site’s performance on search engines. If you are a beginner, then analyzing your theme’s source code would be even more tedious and you would need help.
Many of the premium WordPress themes that are available today have their pages well-optimized for SEO purposes. You can use the W3C Markup Validation to check whether the HTML code will generate proper markup, which ensures that all your web pages are built in accordance with web standards.
When your website follows these standards, there are greater possibilities that your website would work across all major browsers and operating systems. Also, from the SEO perspective, it can help identify the errors that result in your site’s visibility over the search engines. This means it is better to choose a WordPress theme that is optimized for SEO.
Please keep a note of the above checklist when choosing a WordPress theme for building your website. Check for customer reviews and ratings when choosing a theme. This will help you arrive at a decision on which of the themes meet your business-specific requirements.
WordPress is Free
One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress is that it is available for free since is open-source. Also, WordPress is a self-contained system, which means that it does not require an HTML editing software, such as Adobe Contribute or Dreamweaver to add new pages, blog posts, format text, upload documents, images, video files, etc.
Recommended reading: Striking Differences between XHTML, and HTML5 – XHTML vs. HTML5
When it comes to traditional websites, adding new features and functionalities are not easy. But when it comes to websites built on WordPress themes, you can take advantage of the plugins, which are easy to install (typically, installation can be completed in three simple steps). This makes upgrading your site’s capabilities easier.
Be Careful When Choosing a WordPress Theme
WordPress can be used to create a variety of websites. It is important that your WordPress theme complements the content of your site. Most of the WordPress themes offer a variety of customization options, which gives you more than one reason for choosing a WordPress theme to build your website. Again, if you are an amateur, you can always find help as there are a large number of WordPress developers available with extensive knowledge and expertise of WordPress.
Also, if you choose a theme based on its appearance, chances are the whole load of components that it carries might slow down your website, which might affect the ranking of your website.
Your theme is the face of your business and choosing it wisely would take your business to great heights.