With thousands of free themes in the WordPress repository and thousands more premium themes available online, choosing a WordPress theme can be a bewildering task. You certainly won’t have the time to look at them all and, even if you did, you’d find many of them very similar. To help save time and ensure you make the right decision, here are 5 Tips for Choosing a WordPress Theme.
1. Make sure your theme supports the latest WordPress release
WordPress is updated regularly and these updates improve its functionality and security. To benefit from these, you need a theme that supports the latest version of WordPress. When new versions are released, many developers will act quickly to update their themes so that they continue to be compatible. However, many does not mean all, so there will be themes out there that restrict you to using older, less sophisticated and more vulnerable versions of WordPress. It is best, not to choose these as it’s unlikely they will continue to be updated in future and they may also become incompatible with some of the plugins you use when they also get updated.
2. Choose a mobile-friendly WordPress theme
Mobile-friendly themes, also known as responsive themes, are essential for modern websites. In the UK, out of a population of 67 million, 63 million people use a mobile phone and more than half of UK website traffic in 2021 was from mobile devices. Importantly, a third of the country’s online shopping takes place on a mobile, with four out of five people using them to buy online in the last six months.
Mobile themes adapt the layout of your website so that it displays and works effectively on different devices. This ensures that text is large enough to read, menus, buttons and links are easily clicked on, images are resized, forms are simple to fill in and everything fits perfectly on the screen. As a result, using your website is easier, more convenient and offers a better experience. Non-responsive websites, meanwhile, are notoriously difficult to use on phones and result in many users leaving.
Such is the importance of mobile-friendliness, Google and other search engines will downrank websites that don’t display correctly on smartphones. So, choosing a responsive theme can also make you rank higher and get more visitors.
3. Make sure your theme offers the right functionality
Modern themes come with a wide range of functionalities. For example, some are designed to work seamlessly with eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce; some have a wide range of built-in fonts, colour schemes, layouts, menus and widgets so that you can get the right look and make changes in the future; others, meanwhile, are designed for specific types of website or industries. Ideally, you should choose a theme whose functionality matches the needs of your business.
4. Choose a theme from a reliable, trustworthy source
If you use a theme from the WordPress repository, you know it will have been approved by WordPress.org. If you get a theme from a different source, such as an online software retailer, you need to be a little more cautious. Some software retailers are highly vigilant and will make sure the themes they sell work properly, are fully compatible with WordPress and are free from malware. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to all vendors.
You should not download premium themes, which are normally charged for, from websites offering them for free. There is a risk that they have been tampered with by hackers to gain access to your website and are being given away for free to tempt you into using them.
5. Choose an SEO-friendly WordPress theme
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a process that can help your site rank better in search engine results and increase the number of visitors your website gets. The theme’s URL structure, mobile-friendliness and the size of its coding can improve SEO. Themes with lightweight coding have smaller scripts and this speeds up how quickly they travel across the internet, leading to a faster loading website. Search engines can downrank sites that load slowly, so a lightweight theme can be of benefit here.
Your theme is a vital part of your WordPress website and directly affects its look and functionality. While there is an overwhelming choice of themes available, hopefully, the tips we have given here will help you choose the theme that’s best for you.
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