15 February 2022
Struggling to choose a WordPress theme from thousands of available options? With so many options, it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Well, design is personal, so I cannot help you choose a theme that suits your aesthetic. However, I can ensure that whichever theme you choose will help your WordPress website succeed.
Remember, not all WordPress themes are made equal, and there are specific boxes you want a theme to check to avoid problems later on.
To help you in making your decision, I’m going to share 11 suggestions to help you choose a WordPress theme that will build a strong foundation for your website.
If you just do one thing for your site, it should be to carefully choose the right WordPress theme.
Considering how to choose a WordPress theme is the basis of your entire website. Your layout, navigation, color, font, images, and other aesthetic decisions will be the first thing your visitors see.
If you make a good first impression, they’ll be more likely to read the content. Make a lousy one with poor design or slow page loads, and they’ll leave before it’s even finished loading.
Consider it similar to decorating a physical store. A pleasant atmosphere may attract you and keep you coming back for more. The same is true for the design of your website. A unique and well-designed website can surely influence the number of repeat visitors, leads, and customers you get.
Many WordPress themes have different colors, features, layouts, and even fancy animations. You may believe that you require all of these, but you do not.
Always keep in mind that you’re creating a website for your visitors. Your website’s theme should make it simple for visitors to navigate.
If a theme is very busy, it may confuse your visitors and cause them to leave your website without looking at what you have to offer.
Web design aims to make it easier for your visitors to discover content on your website. As a result, you will achieve your goal as a website owner.
If a theme looks amazing but does not help you attract new customers or email newsletter subscribers, it is not a good theme.
Generally, the theme you choose should be as simple as possible.
Mobile and other handheld devices generate a lot of online traffic. This percentage might exceed 60% of your visitors, depending on the content of your website.
Google shows mobile-friendly websites on top in their mobile search results. Regardless of their topics or demographics, all websites must be responsive and mobile-ready.
By default, most WordPress themes are responsive. However, some sellers continue to sell fixed-width layouts that are not mobile-friendly. Make sure that the theme you choose for your website is mobile-friendly.
The simple way to check whether a theme is responsive or not is by resizing your browser screen. After you resize your browser screen, you’ll notice that the theme’s layout changes to the current width.
However, you can also test your theme by copying the URL of the theme’s page and pasting it on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page.
The best thing about using WordPress for your website is that you can customize almost every theme as you want.
When choosing a WordPress theme, ensure it allows you to customize elements such as the font, colors, images, layout, and pages.
Customizing your theme will allow you to add your brand to your website. This ensures that your business colors and style are similar across all pages.
For example, with the Astra theme, you can customize your site’s colors, looks, layouts, and more using this simple interface:
Some themes give you more customization options than others, so you should look into that. Furthermore, many themes provide some customization options for free but require you to purchase the Pro version to unlock all of the features, which is something to consider.
Your users will be using various browsers. Your theme may seem to be perfect in the browser you’re using, but it might be broken in other browsers.
This is when browser compatibility comes into play. Most WordPress theme developers use advanced browser compatibility testing tools to test their themes thoroughly.
They should make this clear on their website. However, if they don’t, you can always do some basic tests to see if the theme works in other browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.
Also, check the theme on different browsers on mobile as well.
WordPress plugins provide the real power of the platform. These plugins allow you to perform anything with your WordPress site.
While several WordPress plugins are available, some are essential WordPress plugins for every website—for example, WPForms, All in One SEO, WP Rocket, and others.
Make sure your WordPress theme is working with all popular plugins. If you’re not sure, ask the theme developer.
Page builders are WordPress plugins that help you design page layouts using a drag-and-drop user interface.
Many premium WordPress themes have pre-installed page builders. Some of these page builders are only accessible to that theme developer.
Using a page builder like this to create landing pages might result in much-unneeded code. If you ever replace the theme, you’ll have a lot of work to do to clean up those sites.
Choose WordPress themes that are come pre-installed with one of the most popular page builder plugins. These page builders may also be purchased separately and used with different themes.
Your WordPress theme is key to the SEO friendliness of your site. Even a nice-looking theme might generate poorly coded HTML, which can hurt your site’s search engine rankings.
It may be challenging for beginners to analyze the source code of a theme on their own. As a result, many premium WordPress theme developers will state that their sites are SEO-friendly.
If your theme is lightweight and fast-loading, you’ll be on the right track in terms of search engine rankings.
Then, you can use the best WordPress SEO plugin, like AIOSEO, to further optimize your website. This will help you rank higher in search engines and get more traffic.
Whatever theme you choose, you may require help at some point.
When that happens, you’ll want to be able to contact someone for help, so it’s a good idea to look into a host’s support policy before making a decision.
Most premium themes will often include 6-12 months of support and updates with your purchase, with the option to renew to continue receiving support.
For example, GeneratePress theme offers one year of premium support and updates on a yearly plan. However, on a lifetime plan, you will get lifetime support and updates.
It can be hit or miss with free themes. Some theme developers will provide help through the WordPress.org forums, while others will not provide support to free users.
You can find a theme’s support forum on the WordPress.org listing page:
When purchasing anything online, it’s usually a good idea to read the reviews – and purchasing a WordPress theme is no exception. After all, those reviews are there for a reason, so use them to help you make a buying decision.
Once you’ve discovered a theme you like, spend some time reading the reviews to learn what other users say about it.
If you’re looking for a free theme on WordPress.org, ratings can be found on the theme listing page. You can also view the text reviews by clicking the See All link:
Similarly, for a premium WordPress theme, you can see customer reviews on the theme sales page. For example, here are customer’s reviews on the Divi theme:
Another hard data element to consider is the theme’s last update date. Since the core WordPress software is always updating, you should choose a WordPress theme from a developer who keeps it up to date.
There is no hard and set rule here, but the last update date should be within the last six months or so.
Again, most theme directories make this information available to the public.
You may find it at WordPress.org right at the top of the right sidebar:
Similarly, ThemeForest shows the most recent update date. It’s just below the review rating:
WordPress powers more than 60% of the internet. As a result, many website owners choose to create a site in a different language or cater to an audience who speaks a different language.
If you’re in search of a free WordPress theme, you can search for translation-ready themes. To do so, go to the WordPress.org theme repository and use the Feature Filter menu option.
Then, from the drop-down menu, select Translation Ready.
This will bring up a list of themes intended to make translation easy.
If you are looking for a premium WordPress theme, the theme page will usually indicate its language compatibility.
However, you can build a multilingual WordPress site by using a WordPress translation plugin.
If you follow the advice on this list, you should be able to select a WordPress theme that will establish your site for future success.
However, if you want to skip the search and get right to some outstanding WordPress themes, you should look at some of our theme lists: