How to Choose a WordPress Theme: Quick Steps to Follow

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WordPress is known for having versatile storage of themes that keeps on growing. There’s such an abundance of it that people get confused as to how to choose a WordPress theme.

If you are one of those people, we’ve got you covered, just keep reading!

3 Must Have Features in a Good WordPress Theme

A good theme can enhance your WordPress website in many ways as it comes with handy features as well as a trendy outlook. 

There are several different kinds of WordPress themes available for both free and premium prices but the most essential features are consistent in almost everyone that is worth your while. 3 such features are:

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Bloat-free

Much like bloatware, when a theme is filled with bloated codes that gravely affect the website’s performance, unnecessary plugins and features, it can be called a bloated theme.

If you have been wondering “how to choose a good WordPress theme”, going for a bloat-free WordPress theme is a must. That way, you can rest assured that your website can operate to its best potential.

WPML, RTL and Translation ready

Language is a crucial factor in any website on the internet. But WordPress itself cannot provide you with the optimum language support that a website usually needs.

WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML), RTL (right to left reading) and Translation are some features that work together to give you the complete support you need and so, they are a must-have.

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Page-builder support

Although some may claim that not all websites require a page builder, having a theme that supports page builders is your best bet.

Page builders are plugins that allow you to make customizations for individual pages and posts instead of the whole theme being changed. That way, you wouldn’t have to switch to a custom WordPress theme and can stick to your theme of choice with the alterations you desire.

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Read More: Elementor Pro Review: Best WordPress Page Builder

11 Things to Look for While Choosing your WordPress Theme 

With these features in mind, there are 11 other things that we want to tell you about below that can help you choose your perfect WordPress template. Before that, make sure that you understand exactly the kind of website you are aiming for – it will make the process much easier.

Pricing and support plans

WordPress offers themes that can cost you absolutely nothing as well as templates that can have quite a steep price plan. 

Much like pricing, support from the original author of the theme is a big deal that you should keep an eye out for. This comes in handy if you face any issue with your template and can be available for a lifetime or not be available at all depending on your theme.

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Documentation and reviews

Transparency is everything. Transparency builds trust. If you are looking for a good theme, right after the aesthetics, you should see if the theme is well documented or not. 

If it isn’t a well-documented theme, it could be a sign of unwarranted mishaps in the future. Also, checking out the reviews and ratings is a must. You cannot just change a theme on a daily basis, so do proper research before settling for one in the first place.

Lightweight or not

A theme must be lightweight otherwise it will slow down your WordPress website and hinder the overall website performance and may even cause unwanted downtime.

Any theme that is bloat-free will automatically be lightweight. Custom themes can also be made lightweight by removing unnecessary plugins and content. Moreover, a website will work really smoothly and fast which can help retain traffic, unlike a website that is slow and laggy.

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Customization

Having good control of your website can heavily rely on choosing a good theme. We aren’t outright telling you to choose a custom theme all the time.

Off the shelf WordPress, themes can also allow you to make customizations to a certain extent and plugins can add to that freedom even more. You just have to look for a theme that can give you room to make the customizations needed to give your website the boost it needs.

Accessibility ready

Having good accessibility is a must when it comes to WordPress themes. But having a theme that is accessibility ready is a whole other thing.

An accessibility ready WordPress theme is a theme that can be listed as an AA-level according to WCAG guidelines, which means that your theme should make your website accessible for people with disabilities and should include features such as alt text, voice search etc.

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Plug-in support

Plugins act as extensions to your WordPress website by adding extra functionality to your already existing theme features.

The most basic of plugins that your website should support has to be WPML, Elementor, WooCommerce etc. Whichever it is, your WordPress theme should be versatile enough to support it if you deem it necessary for your website, so choose wisely.

Check Essential WordPress Plugins

Responsiveness and social media friendly

Not even a decade ago, building a website did not necessarily mean that the website would be mobile-friendly right off the bat.

Most times, you’d have to make separate websites for your mobile and desktop devices. But, today, almost everyone around you uses the internet on their mobile as well as social media. Hence, having a responsive theme with a social media integration feature is a must in today’s world.

Up to date or not

WordPress loves updates and if your website is not up-to-date, rest assured that you will not be reaping the complete benefit from your website in the way you hoped for.

An older version of literally anything is a sign that it can be more prone to security threats compared to something that’s up-to-date. The same applies to WordPress themes as well. Before settling for a theme, look for when the theme was last updated and if it will get more updates or not.

GPL licensed

Aside from following WCAG guidelines and being accessibility ready, having a WordPress template that is GPL licensed is a huge plus, specifically GPLv2 or GPLv3.

Being GPL licensed allows any user to be able to modify the theme’s code, change or add to its script and add more customizations. These are mostly found in multipurpose themes, but any theme with a GPL license is safe to use as well as more beneficial.

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SEO optimization

If you are trying to start a website, we can say with guarantee that you have come across the term SEO or search engine optimization a few times by now.

Choosing a theme that was built with the intention of achieving good SEO can be very helpful once you have your website up and running. The better search engine optimized your theme is, the higher you can rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Amp friendliness

Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a feature that has become a necessity in WordPress themes just like social media and mobile-friendliness.

Having an AMP ready WordPress theme is key to achieving sufficient web traffic, gaining the fastest website performance and ranking higher in search engines. The only downside to this though is that the revenue you’re getting from various advertisements can be a tad lower.

3 Ways in Which a Theme Can Affect Your WordPress Website

That said, your WordPress theme may be a greater influence on your website than you can imagine. Let’s take a peek at a few such aspects below.

User experience

If you are building a website without user experience in mind, sorry to say, but your website will not have much success.

WordPress templates play a large role here as they can greatly affect your website’s features, accessibility, usability and overall performance. Without proper UX, your revenues will keep going down and you will be falling behind in SEO rankings which isn’t something that you’d want in such competitive times.

Content structure, outlooks and Indexation 

UI (user interface) is just as important as UX (user experience) when it comes to websites. 

Templates affect both these aspects almost equally and can change your content structure along with the outlooks of your website. Color schemes also depend on themes and so does indexation which helps search engine crawlers to crawl your website better (neat theme codes play a role here).

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WordPress Website Search functionality

Themes may or may not have the ability to remove a WordPress site’s search functionality.

By default, websites can have content listed in a chronological order (from recent to oldest). Having search functionality adds to good ux by allowing users to navigate a site with much more ease and save time. Thus, removing this feature could be a bad move that you must prevent.

End Note

With all that said, we would like to end this article by taking the side of minimalism and mentioning that a theme is mostly built for design rather than functionality. 

You could start off with a free theme, a custom theme, multipurpose theme or any premium theme. Only you can make the last choice – so choose wisely. Good luck!

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