Before we take a closer look at WordPress themes, I’d like to take a moment to thank Skyje for the chance to share this article. Skyje is a great site for bloggers, and after you finish reading this article, you should check out Best Selling WordPress Themes Worth Exploring and start looking for a theme that fits your project!
Wow! You’ve just embarked on a blogging journey (or decided to spruce up an existing one), and I’m sure you’ve realized how many WordPress themes are out there. How are you going to decide which one to choose?
We’re going to address seven things you need to consider before you choose a WordPress theme for your blog. Not all WordPress themes are created equal, so you’re going to have to narrow it down by which ones you find aesthetically pleasing, and which ones are the most well-made.
How does it look?
To your readers, this might be the most important part of your theme, but it’s only one of many points you have to consider.
Most readers will prefer clean, readable, easy-to-navigate and minimalist themes. They want to be able to get to the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
That still leaves you a lot of choices, meaning that this is a chance for you to be creative and show the world what you have to say. For example, two blogs could both be about cooking, but a mom blogger might want a playful look and feel, and a chef blogger might want something cleaner and more professional theme.
If you’re into minimalism, here are some free WordPress themes that will provide the most easy and clean experience for your readers.
How much does it cost?
You might not have a very big budget for your blogging project, but this is one area where you really can’t skimp. Free themes might seem like a great solution, but unless they come straight from the WordPress catalog, you should treat them with suspicion.
Even if it is in the WordPress catalog, and therefore safe and well-made, thousands of other bloggers are using it, and you might want to choose something more unique. Premium themes have the advantage of more frequent updates, better support and unique designs that not everyone is using.
What features does it have?
Therefore, the best theme is a slim one that still prioritizes the features you really need. What features are worth it? That’s up to you. Maybe you really want Tumblr-style post format options, built-in social media sharing or a portfolio. Focus on that, and don’t get distracted by a bunch of odds and ends that you don’t need.
However, you may want to pay particular attention to its SEO optimization features. A theme with good SEO features (such as load time optimization and indexable content) will save you work and time in the long run. Here’s a list of the most SEO-friendly WordPress themes.
Is it customizable?
Even if you’re not super tech-savvy, you’re still going to want a theme that is more customizable. If it’s in the budget, you can hire an expert to customize it for you, but even if that’s not possible, you want a theme that can grow alongside you.
If you’re itching for a chance to be truly creative with your WordPress theme, here’s a list of deeply customizable options.
Is it compatible with different browsers and different devices?
We’re firmly in the era of mobile technology, and therefore your readers might be using two or more devices in a single day. It’s your job to make sure that your site is compatible with all of them. Most themes will advertise their compatibility, but it can’t hurt to recruit some friends and check out how your site appears on different devices and in different browsers.
Here’s a resource you can use to test the mobile version of your website right from your computer.
Is support available?
This is often overlooked, but its importance can’t be overstated. Even if you consider yourself a technological wizard, having help when things go wrong can make or break your website.
Support is not only a backup if you need it. Having available support lends credibility to the theme and its developer. If a designer has the ability and desire to allow users to contact them, they are likely to maintain the theme itself.
You’ll usually have to pay for a theme to get support along with it, but if you’ve found a theme that really works for you, it’s totally worth it. It’s also an indicator for our next point.
How safe and secure is the theme?
When your blog is at stake, you can’t be too careful. Hopefully, you’re already taking standard precautions, such as keeping your anti-virus vigilant and using a VPN, but downloading and installing themes creates unique problems. By installing a theme, you’re allowing the developer to add code straight to your blog, and the consequences for not trusting the right person can be disastrous.
How can you tell if a theme is safe? Premium themes are usually going to be okay, but you should still run through the rest of this checklist. If it hasn’t been updated in years, there are likely to be security holes that hackers can utilize. You should also easily be able to find support for the theme. If people can contact the developer, it’s probably not full of harmful code. Finally, the themes in the WordPress catalog are almost certainly safe. If you want to branch out, some other trustworthy websites are ThemeForest, StudioPress and Elegant Themes.
If you’ve already downloaded a theme, you can check out this handy guide to check it for security threats.
Join the conversation. Which WordPress theme are you using? Have you ever had a theme go wrong?