Which WordPress theme is most suitable for a website? When choosing a theme for your WordPress website, there are many options. There are over 7,000 free themes in the WordPress directory and countless premium themes from various developers.
How do you choose the right theme for your site? In this post, I will review 10 things to consider when selecting a WordPress theme.
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Which WordPress theme is most suitable for a website
WordPress can be used to create virtually any website, and some themes work well for your site type.
You want your theme to complement your site’s content. So, if you run a blog, you must use a theme that improves readability and makes your content easy to digest.
Multipurpose themes – Several multipurpose themes are meant to be “one-size-fits-all.” They claim to be the perfect choice for any website but are often the exact opposite – the most ineffective option you can choose.
Generally speaking, you want to avoid multipurpose themes because they are full of customization options, most of which you will not use. All this extra junk makes them slow and bloated, with unnecessary code that hampers your site’s performance.
Many amazing themes must be better coded and full of extra garbage that will make your site sluggish and unprofessional. No one likes a slow website, and Google penalizes you in search rankings.
While many multipurpose themes should be avoided, some are fast and coded well.
Do some research – When choosing a theme, research and read reviews about it. Create a list of 5 themes you like, then narrow down your choices.
Your website theme is the face of your online business and plays an important role in how visitors and search engines perceive it.
Do yourself a favor and choose a clean, professional theme that effectively conveys your business’s message.
Below, you will find steps to choose the most suitable theme for your WordPress website.
1. Simpler is better
Many WordPress themes have a wide array of color, layout, and customization options; some even have animated elements. All these options enhance your site, but you can use them without them.
Please search for a theme with a design that helps your business clearly and effectively convey its message. Ideally, you want your site to look amazing and be easy to navigate for your visitors.
Choose a simple theme. Web design aims to help users find information quickly and easily.
In addition to finding a great-looking theme, you need one with Calls-To-Actions (CTAs) designed to help your site grow. These can be built into your theme or added separately via a plugin.
2. Your site must be responsive
In today’s day and age, your website MUST be compatible with ALL DEVICES.
People use smartphones and tablets to browse the web. If your site looks crappy and doesn’t function properly when viewed on either of them, you have a problem. A large percentage of website traffic is from mobile devices, up to 50% or more in some cases.
Most WordPress themes are fully responsive and look great on all devices, including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Google penalizes mobile-unfriendly sites and boosts its mobile-friendly algorithm occasionally.
Make sure your website appears in Google search results by making it fully responsive.
Testing your site for responsiveness
The simplest way to test whether a theme is responsive is to resize your browser window. As you change its size, the theme layout should automatically adjust to fit each screen width.
You can copy the theme’s demo page’s URL and paste it into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
No matter how mobile-friendly the theme is, this test will likely show warnings. Be on the lookout for any red flags, like text being too small or content being wider than the screen.
Add AMP to your website
If you want to take your site’s mobile-friendliness to the next level, consider adding Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
The Accelerated Mobile Pages project aims to make web content load faster for mobile users. It is designed to work properly in every application, browser, and web viewer.
3. Compatibility with essential plugins
One of the main advantages of WordPress is the number of amazing plugins you can use to add functionality to your website. From SEO to speed, security, and more, there is a plugin for anything you need on your site.
There are certain must-have plugins to install on any website. These include Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache (or another caching solution), Wordfence Security, and BackWPup.
You want to ensure your theme is compatible with all widely used plugins. Popular themes should be compatible with all the plugins you’d need, but ask the theme developers if you need clarification.
4. Check browser compatibility
Your site visitors will use different browsers, so your website must look and function properly on all of them, including:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
Most WordPress theme developers thoroughly test their themes using browser compatibility tools. They will likely mention that their theme is compatible with all browsers in the theme details, but feel free to check for yourself.
You can run some basic theme compatibility tests for both mobile and desktop versions using any of the following online tools:
- BrowserStack (paid)
- Browsershots (free)
- Browserling (free and paid versions)
- Litmus (paid)
- IE NetRenderer (free and paid versions)
- Browser Sandbox (free)
- TestingBot (paid)
- BrowseEmAll (paid)
- Multi-browser (free and paid versions)
- CrossBrowserTesting (paid)
- Sauce Labs (free and paid versions)
Note: You can run the theme demo page through any of the above tools instead of installing the theme and running the test on your site.
Are you looking to sell digital or physical products on your site? If so, ensure your chosen theme is compatible with WooCommerce, the leading eCommerce plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites.
While almost all themes should work with WooCommerce, some will be more suited to your online shop.
Check out some theme demos to see how the shop, product, and product category pages look using whichever theme you choose.
Alternatively, you may preview your eCommerce site:
- Install the theme and the WooCommerce plugin
- Create a product
- Please check out the shop, individual product, and product category pages to see what they look like
Choose a translation-ready theme if you wish to have a WordPress site in multiple languages other than English.
In addition to choosing a theme with built-in multilingual functionality, some plugins can help you create certain site elements. Loco Translate lets you quickly and easily translate several strings, plugins, and more.
The WordPress theme you choose is important to your website’s SEO-friendliness. Your site can look amazing but needs better-coded HTML, which harms search engine performance.
If you’re a beginner, analyzing your theme’s source code will take time to determine if it’s well-written. Premium WordPress developers often state that their themes are coded well and optimized for SEO.
You can check your theme’s HTML5 compatibility online using the W3C Markup Validation tool. It will likely show you some warnings about your site, even if they’re irrelevant, but it’s a helpful tool for general checks.
8. User-friendly design
Your WordPress theme must be nicely designed and simple to navigate. Whatever you do, MAKE SURE that everything on your site is clear and can be easily found by your visitors.
Look at the theme’s demo and analyze its design more closely.
You can ask yourself the following questions to decide if it’s the right choice:
- Is the site easy to navigate?
- Is the content readable and easy to digest?
- Does the design fit your site or blog type?
Simplicity is your friend, so make your site as it needs to be.
9. Is it updated frequently?
WordPress’ core is updated regularly with security upgrades, bug fixes, and enhanced features. Choosing a theme that is also actively maintained and updated regularly is important. If a theme was last modified 2 or more years ago, you’re better off avoiding it.
10. Check ratings and reviews
When choosing a theme, look at its ratings and reviews. See how many ratings the theme has, and read through some reviews by clicking on the corresponding star amounts (1 star, 2 stars, etc.). You will see ratings below the Preview and Download buttons for free WordPress themes.
You’ll also find customer reviews of premium themes sold on third-party marketplaces.
Please note: Some people will never be satisfied, no matter how awesome a theme is. Keep this in mind when reading bitter reviews written by miserable people who likely couldn’t figure out how to do something on their site.
Pretty much all WordPress themes receive bad reviews. If the number of 1-star reviews for a particular theme is high, you should avoid using it.
Install your chosen theme.
Once you’ve chosen the best theme for your WordPress site, it’s time to install it.
First, go to Appearance > Themes, and click the Add New button at the top.
This will take you to a new page where you can browse WordPress themes and install them directly. You can also upload a theme you have already downloaded.
If you downloaded a theme, click the Upload Theme button at the top.
Click the Choose File button and locate the zip file on your computer. Once you find it, click the Install Now button. This will bring you to a theme upload box.
As soon as your theme is uploaded successfully, you’ll see a success message and the following links:
- Live preview
- Return to the themes page
You can preview the theme to get a rough idea of what it will look like on your site or activate it.
Choosing a WordPress theme is fairly straightforward but should be handled carefully. Using a crappy theme can negatively affect your site’s design, performance, and user-friendliness.
Hopefully, this guide has given you insight into choosing the ideal WordPress theme for your website.