A few days ago, I wrote an article on the introduction of WordPress as a Content Management System. I said in that post that, to have your website up and running, you need a theme, a quality one of course, and plugins for specific functionalities on your website. Both themes and plugins need to be selected carefully to make you website complete and perfect. You may want to check out my post on How to choose WordPress Plugins. Today, I am writing on How to Choose WordPress Themes. Let’s dive in.

What is a WordPress Theme?

WordPress themes give the appearance, or template of your website. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files written for a complete website is known as template, whereas all the above languages including PHP written on WordPress for a website’s appearance is known as a theme. Though a template can also contain PHP files. The difference is the WordPress platform on which the later is being hosted. WordPress has a lot of themes, I mean thousands of them in the WordPress repository. Others are also hosted on the Developers’ site. There are free themes, and premium (paid) ones.

How Do You Choose WordPress Themes?

Most of the time, people choose WordPress themes based on the beauty and the features that the theme offers. That is not bad at all. These are the points I think one should note when selecting a particular WordPress theme for their website projects.

Points to Consider When You Want to Choose WordPress Themes

  1. Consider the type of website you want to create: If you want to create for instance a health / hospital website, choosing a WordPress Theme specifically designed for health services will be your best choice before looking at beauty. This is because there may be options that will allow patients to consult a doctor directly or the like. If you want to create a photography website, choosing a WordPress theme that is coded purposely for photography will be best because it may contain features that will make designing your WordPress website easier. This is a very important point but if you still insist on choosing a theme that isn’t made for your website function, you can go ahead since there may be plugins that will give that specific function you need. You also need to check out for the features you want for your theme. For instance, social icons in the header, themes with left or right sidebar, or color scheme.
  2. Quality and Beauty of the WordPress Theme: Choosing a quality theme is a must for every Web Designer. This is because, customers who land on your website will tell the quality of your business by the look of your website. I personally think the look of one’s website is his first product or portfolio to his new customers. Very important. For beauty of a WordPress theme, it is relative. What is beautiful to me may be wack to you. But in both cases, you need to consult your friends on how they see the theme you have chosen. Note that some friends will applaud you for whatever thing you do, whether good or bad. Don’t ask for such friends’ opinions. Some people too have not got designers eyes. Once their favorite color is red, anything “bloody” is cute, hahas!

Developer Points to Note When you Want to Choose a WordPress Theme

  1. Choose a WordPress Theme with Good Rating: If your choice of theme is hosted on the WordPress repository, you can see the ratings just as for plugins. A good rating means its customization was easy for those who rated. There are themes that can take you months and you’ll never finish customizing it. There are other themes that you can complete a website with within a day.
  2. Avoid WordPress Themes that Have Links to the Developer’s Website: It is not good to divert your visitors to someone else. Learn to welcome and maintain the visitors that come to your website. Some WordPress themes, especially some free ones have “Theme by ‘so so and so'” in the footer. You can also remove that footer link if you know a little bit of PHP by going to Appearance>Editor in your administrator dashboard and editing your footer.php file. If you still want that theme, you can choose it but call on a developer to remove the footer link for you.

SEO Factors to Consider When Choosing A WordPress Theme

  1. Choose a Responsive WordPress Theme: This one is not an option. It is a must. Read about Responsive Web Design in my previous posts. Test your chosen theme on the major browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari. Afterwards, get on your phone and test on The same browsers as well. You can also resize your browser on your pc to a tablet size, and smartphone width to also see the theme’s look.
  2. Choose WordPress Themes that are Fast when Loading: Search Engine Traffic and customer retention is very important to your website. When your website is slow, you lose your customers who will not have the patience to wait for your website to load. Why should they when other websites have the same information they need, probably better than yours? Website speed also affects your Search Engine Optimization campaign. To see a themes speed, visit the demo site to see how fast it loads. That may not give you a good estimation so I’ll recommend you test it on a website speed testing site like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pindgdom Speed Test Tool, or GTmetrics.
  3. Choose WordPress Themes that are Search Engine Friendly: I wouldn’t stress much on this but it’s worth mentioning. Your theme’s code must be clean. How do you know that? Google for website speed test, and you would get results to site that will test your website’s speed. Make sure your blog titles are in h1. You can figure that out in Appearance > Editor and go to single.php file to edit the title.

Conclusion on How to Choose WordPress Themes

I have said a lot, now to my question, will you choose a free WordPress theme or a premium one?
My answer: Choosing between a free or premium WordPress theme depends on the type of theme that has all the above and the kind of look you want. If a premium theme is what have all you want, go for it. It’s a good investment. Some people have the perception that, anything free is not good. That’s a lie. WordPress is free, Google is free, Facebook is free. What about that? The most important thing is making the right choices. Don’t also forget to search themes you want based on the features you want on Google.

Isn’t this post not too long for choosing a mere WordPress theme? Hmmm! Lemme say it’s not. This is because, making the right choice once and for all is the best investment that will help you all your life. I would be writing on some quality WordPress themes very soon, both free and premium. Subscribe below to receive updates when they’re ready.

Let’s discuss in the comment box.