The 3 Things to Look for in a Great WordPress Theme
Due to the popularity of WordPress as a content management system (CMS), developers have taken the opportunity to design themes for users to choose from. And because WordPress is more than just a blogging platform, developers have created specific themes for different types of websites.
Whether you’re managing a portfolio site or operating an eCommerce site, there is a WordPress theme for you.
Unfortunately, due to the hundreds and thousands of choices for WordPress themes, it has become difficult to find the one for your site.
As a site owner, you need to find a WordPress theme that you can easily customize to achieve the look and appearance that reflect your brand. At the same time, you need to consider other factors that will help you narrow down your choices.
In this post, I will help you determine the different WordPress theme categories so you can limit the types of themes to choose from and make it easier for you to make a decision.
Free vs. Paid
From the onset, it is important to determine if you want to pay for your theme or download from free WordPress themes available in the dashboard. By deciding whether to go with paid or free themes, you can allocate your resources wisely on your way to building a site that fits your vision.
Free WordPress themes have a reputation for being poor in quality compared to premium themes. However, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, the WordPress themes you can find from your dashboard go through a stringent vetting process to ensure that the standards set by WordPress for coding, security, and other factors are met.
This is opposed to premium themes, which are available for purchase on third-party sites and, therefore, do not have to go through the review process. As a result, while some of the paid themes look stunning, their code can be messy, which can cause your site to load slower compared to using a different theme.
However, if there’s a distinction that paid themes have other the free ones, it’s your ability to customize your layout and design. Free themes are typically rigid and have limited options when it comes to changing the feel and look of your site design. You will need to have coding and design experience to tweak your free themes and achieve the look you want.
This is in stark contrast with premium themes, where you can build a beautiful site without any design knowledge using shortcodes, drag and drop functionalities, pre-made templates, and more.
Verdict: If you are working with a limited budget and are comfortable with tweaking your theme’s code and CSS, then you should be okay with using a free theme such as these found at Colorlib. If you want an easy-to-design theme out of the box that will help your site stand out from the pack, then you should buy a premium theme most of which can be found on Themeforest.
Type of site you’re running
Some themes work best when running a specific site. Therefore, you need to determine the types of WordPress themes so you can choose the right one for your site.
Below are examples of some of the most popular ones.
- Portfolio– Idea for freelancers and professionals, portfolio themes allow you to create a small and straightforward online space where you can display your sample works to prospective clients.
- Magazine– Magazine themes display your content as the pages of a print publication. These may contain sliders and tabbed content above the fold to showcase the latest and most popular content, followed by the content from latest to oldest below. This theme is perfect for news sites and blogs.
- Masonry Grid– This theme is similar to the layout of Pinterest. It puts your content in grid style and shows the featured image of your post. Masonry grid themes are perfect for bloggers or publishers that rely on visual content.
- Business – Sleek and cutting-edge are words that come to mind when describing business themes. These have a prominent call to action above the fold and features the services your site may be offering at the bottom. This is perfect for agencies and service providers who want to put their best foot forward to customers.
- eCommerce – If you own an online store and want to put a premium on the products you are selling, then you can’t go wrong with an eCommerce theme. You will find to decide which eCommerce platform you want to use for WordPress (WooCommerce, Shopify, etc.), all of which have their themes for you to choose from.
Keep in mind the best and appropriate WordPress theme for your site. It would be foolish if you plan on using a theme dedicated to bloggers (Magazine, Masonry Grid) for your business site, although this is not uncommon. The point is you need to feature your content in a specific way that matches audience expectations, and the categorizations I’ve made above should serve as a basic guideline for you to follow.
Whether you like it or not, you need to appease Google if you want to drive organic traffic to your site.
While there are on-page factors that you need to observe within your content, there are also design guidelines that you need to follow.
A factor that determines how fast your site load lies on your WordPress theme. Lightweight themes with limited features and lean code such as the Genesis Framework, for example, is faster because it takes fewer resources to load the theme. On the other hand, feature-heavy themes load slower because it will take more resources to show your site in the browsers of your visitors.
Not to mention, you probably won’t be using all the features included in the theme. Not only does a feature-rich theme bog down your loading speed, but it leaves your site bloated with features you have no use for.
By choosing a lightweight theme that responds according to the screen resolution, you can pick and choose plugins that you need for SEO. Below are other plugins that you should download to improve your site’s SEO performance.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Optimize the metadata of your pages, determine your SEO score for your target keyword to boost your chances of ranking in search results, boost readability of your content, and more!
- EWWW Image Optimizer – Compress your image file size make them load faster.
- WP Super Cache – Create a static page for your dynamic pages to make your pages easier and faster to load.
- WordFence – While not necessarily an SEO tool, it protects your site from brute force attacks, malware, and other online threats.
Also, make sure that WordPress theme you will be choosing to accommodate the plugins mentioned above. Some plugins are incompatible with certain plugins, so you need to watch out for that.
Finding the best WordPress theme for your site shouldn’t be difficult once you’ve taken all the things mentioned above to heart. By determining the most appropriate theme based on the kind of site you’re running, you can supercharge your site to display the right content and make the best impression on your audience!
Thanks for reading! If you have questions or reactions about the article, feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below!