When building the perfect WordPress website, there are many choices to make, from layering to tweaking. While the process is different, finding a suitable WordPress theme is general.
Your theme is your website from a visitor’s perspective – what they see, interact with, and remember. The look of your website and links affects how people see your presence on the web and your brand as a whole. Simply put, your theme should be submitted.
Anyone can create a WordPress theme, and after research, it probably seems that everyone did it. Thousands of themes are spread across many markets, from authors to individuals and various organizations.
To make learning easier, let’s look at five essential factors to consider when choosing a theme. If the theme follows these guidelines, it will be a worthy competitor for you.
1. Strive for simplicity
Simplicity is the best rule. Many WordPress themes include various colors, intricate layouts, eye-catching animations, and more. Sometimes you may need these, but most of the time, you don’t.
Simplicity is a remarkable sophistication. Find a structured theme that will help you achieve your goal. It should look good but without compromising on usability or ease of use.
Make sure the theme presentation is not too difficult. Web design is designed to help users find the information they want and at the same time help website owners achieve their goals.
If a theme seems exciting but doesn’t help attract existing customers or subscribers. It’s also not a great theme for getting to your site.
2. Pick a lightweight theme
Your theme forms an integral part of the foundation of your website and therefore has a massive impact on your website’s performance and page load time.
I once did a test where I “normally” switched from a WordPress theme to a performance-optimized one, and my page performance dropped 42%.
The site’s loading speed is critical in everything from the user to SEO and conversion rate, so it cannot be ignored.
So how do you know if a theme is lightweight? Well, first, let’s address some of the purest themes here. However, you can also test your exams with the test tool.
If you are looking for a free theme, install it on a trial website. Then run it through GTmetrix and see how it works.
You can do the same with a general theme example for a premium theme. This is not an excellent way for the theme creator to download some of their checklist that is not part of your website but should give you a good idea of using it. It’s your theme.
3. Compatibility with essential plugins
One of the great benefits of using WordPress is the number of great plugins that allow you to add all features to your site. From SEO to speed, security, and more – your website has the layout of many things you need.
There are several must-have plugins that you need to install on any website. These include Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache (or any other installation solution), Wordfence Security, and BackWPup.
You want to ensure that your theme is appropriate for all your primary purposes. In most cases, popular themes should match all required plugins, but ask the theme developers if you’re not sure.
4. Choose a responsive theme
Responsive design means your website is straightforward to use – not only on one computer but also on many devices. This means it fits your mobile phone and has menus and other widgets that are easy to navigate.
Look for features like locations and custom images that can be translated to non-computer devices. An example would be a sensitive theme quickly and seamlessly translated into a mobile phone.
5. Cross-browser compatibility
Your users might use a lot of browsers. Your theme may look good in the browser you’re using, but there may be something wrong with other browsers.
That’s why cross-browser compatibility has much importance. Most WordPress developers search for their themes using social media search tools.
They can make that clear on their website. But if they don’t, you can always do some basic testing in different browsers (like Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and more) to confirm the theme. Don’t forget to search for different browsers on your mobile phone.
If you choose a WordPress theme, you may be tempted to find a theme that does whatever you want. For example, if you’re going to create a website of events, you can look for a theme that includes an organized calendar.
Even if you are so tempted, I will not tell you not to do that. There should be a clear distinction between themes and plugins in WordPress. You choose a theme for this theme and use plugins to add features. The theme doesn’t have to control your entire design or stop your activities.
The main reason is mobility. When you choose a theme that embodies both design and performance, you’re sticking to that theme for most of your life. On the other hand, if you separate, you can still change themes as needed.
However, this does not mean that you will not find a ready-made solution. Instead of looking for a theme that brings everything together, look for a theme designed to integrate with a plugin that provides the features you want.
For example, if you want a theme that has a drag and drop function, you may not want to choose a theme with a snug fit because it blocks you. However, you can select a theme to cover. You are using another embedded component (such as Elementor). For example, the Elementor team officially recommends the Goal theme as a great way to connect with Elementor.
If you want to open a retail store, you can use a theme like Airi, designed for e-commerce features to integrate with the WooCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce variable pricing.
Or, if you’re looking to find an online course, you might want the Astra theme, which offers built-in integration for two popular WordPress plugins, LifterLMS and LearnDash.
Many themes come with a combination of recommended plugins, which is a great way to get the best of both worlds. You can still get the extraordinary feature you want, but you can change your theme in the future if needed.