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6 key things to consider when choosing the best WordPress theme for your site

A search on the web for the best WordPress theme for your brand will bring a multitude of different options.  In fact, according to codeinwp with a 50 -60% share of the global CMS market, WordPress has reigned as the most popular CMS for the last 7 years.

However, with all this information and options, as a beginner, you may be wondering where to start.  But don’t despair – we’ve got your back!  Take a look at the article to find out the 6 top things to consider when choosing the best WordPress theme for your site.

 

1 – Focus on accessibility

In a space where websites are competing for a visitor’s attention, you want a theme which engages your visitor without sacrificing UX.  Keep in mind that you want your reader to find the relevant information while moving your visitor further along your sales funnel. Choose a strategic theme which enhances the visitor’s experience while supporting the content and the site’s objectives.

A theme needs to be practical, using web design as a strategy to get new business or subscribers and generate revenue for the site.

 

2 –  Optimise for mobile

When your theme is optimised for mobile, it adapts according to the screen size of the particular device – be it a cell phone, tablet, desktop or any other device from which you can access the internet.  This is significant, considering the increase in mobile traffic.  According to Bluecorona 2018 has seen 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in the previous year (Statista, 2018), making it is essential to have a responsive WordPress theme.   Additionally, Google penalizes websites for not being mobile friendly. If you have an old website design that is not responsive or mobile-friendly, you loose the any ranking potential. In fact, you could lose anywhere from 5-30% of leads based on this factor alone. 

While you can test the WordPress design by looking at your website on different devices, Google has simplified the process with a Mobile-Friendly Test.  Just type in your website address.  Then click the ‘run test’ button.  An added advantage is that this test gives you feedback, allowing you to make any tweaks to optimize your site for mobile if necessary.

 

3 – Test browser compatibility

According to mybroadband.co.za, Google leads the browser space with Chrome dominating both the mobile and desktop market, enjoying over 60% market share across both platforms. The next would-be contender is Safari, trailing considerably at a 28.44% market share.

However, that having been said, you still need to test that your WordPress theme is compatible across all browsers. While this can be achieved manually (i.e. typing the website URL in each Search Engine’s browser), there are browser testing sites such as browsershots.org or browserling.com – which provide a quicker and more effective option.

 

4 – Well-coded WordPress theme

Starting out can make it challenging to detect coding issues.  However, here too there are some tools which can be used to reveal any problems which may not always be obvious to a beginner.

GTmetrix helps you gauge how well the site loads, something which impacts on bounce rate and Google ranking.  This tool also analysers the site, providing recommendations which can be implemented, helping you to optimise your site further.  Additionally, if you are weighing up the pros and cons of different themes, the results of this test may help point you in the direction of the more effective theme.

Pingdom is another useful tool to assess the site’s performance by inserting the URL of the demo page.  Keep an eye open for the overall score and the number of HTTPS requests as an indicator of the theme’s value.

If on the other hand, you’ve already installed the theme, you can use a plugin called Theme Check.  This plugin can help you uncover coding errors.  Bear in mind that the app is expected to return a few red warnings.  However, dozens of critical errors do not augur well for the theme’s future stability.  In this case, it is better to reconsider about selecting the theme.

 

5 – SEO

While a beautiful theme may initially attract your visitor, the back end of the WordPress website needs to be optimized for SEO to be eligible for ranking on Google and other Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

SEO is the responsibility of the developer.  Although the WordPress theme’s description may state that it’s optimized for SEO, it is best to err on the side of caution by checking a theme manually.

Two ways of doing this is using W3C Markup Validation Service or MozBar a free Chrome extension that makes it easy to get advanced metrics and do all your SEO on the go.

 

6 –  Review and Ratings

If you are wondering how to find out if a premium WordPress theme is good, there are certain things to look out for and question.

Does the premium WordPress them offer support and updates?  Premium themes usually do this for a period of 1 year.

Other ways to gain insights about a theme’s quality is by looking at the ratings and reviews of other users.  You can see customer reviews for themes sold by a third-party.  Free WordPress themes ratings can be found underneath the download button where you can click on the rating to read a particular review.  This can be helpful in gaining insights about the theme – both the aspects which are of value to the user and other elements which create problems.  Although there will always be some bad reviews, by reading through the reviews, you can get a fair understanding of the quality of the theme and use this as a guide to help you make your decision as to whether or not it is the best WordPress theme for your site.

Reviews also point out security loopholes, which are an important aspect of WordPress theme quality.

Aside from other people’s opinions, click on the demo button to engage in a first-hand experience of the theme.  From here you can experience the layout and other features, using your own experience to help you in making your final decision about the theme.

Lastly – don’t forget the power of Google Search!  Use it to find out more about the developer so that you can get further insights about the theme’s creator and the creator’s standing in the WordPress community, which in turn can provide further insights on the theme quality.

 

Wrapping it up:  How to choose the best WordPress theme for your site

Choosing a WordPress theme is a significant part of creating a website that promotes your brand and its services.  Because of this, it is important to ensure that all key factors have their check-boxes ticked, enabling you to choose the best WordPress theme for your site.  In this way you can narrow your choice of themes so that your final selection is a theme which supports your brand and business objectives while facilitating your visitor’s ease of access to the information on your site.

 

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Deena Hesp

Author: Deena Hesp

Deena is a copy writer and digital strategist with a rich fantasy life filled with ideas, words and stories. She is obsessed with establishing emotional connections between a brand and its community, using the art of storytelling to effectively convey the brand’s personality. When left to her own devices she can be found scanning the internet for new trends, reading a book in the company of her two dogs or somewhere in nature on a walking holiday, in an attempt to balance her workaholic tendencies.

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