Fighting how to select a WordPress theme from the tens of hundreds of choices on the market? With so many selections, it might probably really feel a bit like selecting a needle in a haystack.
Effectively, design is subjective, so I can’t assist you to select a theme that matches your aesthetic, however I will help you ensure that whichever theme you find yourself selecting goes to set your WordPress web site up for achievement.
See, not all WordPress themes are created equal, and there are some bins you need a theme to verify so that you just don’t run into points down the street.
That can assist you make your determination, I’m going to share eight suggestions to assist you to select a WordPress theme that may create a sturdy basis in your web site.
How to Choose a WordPress Theme in 2019
1. Decide a Light-weight WordPress Theme
Your theme is a massive a part of your web site’s basis and, as such, it’s going to have a huge impact in your web site’s efficiency and web page load occasions.
I as soon as ran a check the place I switched from a “common” WordPress theme to a efficiency-optimized one and my web page load occasions dropped by 42%. That’s large!
How shortly your web site hundreds is necessary for every part from consumer expertise to search engine optimization to conversion charges, so it’s not one thing you’ll be able to ignore.
So, how will you inform if a theme is light-weight? Effectively, first off, we’ve collected a few of the greatest light-weight themes right here. However, you too can run your personal assessments through the use of a efficiency testing software resembling GTmetrix.
Should you’re taking a look at a free theme, set up it on a check web site (you should utilize a throwaway sandbox-like Poopy.life). Then, run it by GTmetrix and see the way it does.
For a premium theme, you are able to do the identical factor with the general public theme demo. This isn’t a good methodology as a result of the theme developer is likely to be loading a few of their very own monitoring scripts that wouldn’t be a part of your web site, but it surely ought to offer you a respectable concept of how optimized the theme is.
2. Search for One thing That You Can Make Your Personal (Through the Customizer)
Should you’re fortunate, you may discover a theme that appears completely pixel-good proper out of the field.
Nevertheless, the probabilities of which might be fairly slim, and also you’ll in all probability need the flexibility to tweak issues to make them your personal.
If that sounds such as you, you’ll need a theme that makes it simple for you to make these adjustments with out requiring any particular technical data.
Particularly, you’ll need a theme that makes use of the WordPress Customizer. That is a core WordPress function that allows you to customise numerous points of your theme’s appears to be like utilizing a newbie-pleasant interface and a stay preview of your web site.
For instance, with the Sydney theme, you’ll be able to customise your web site’s colours, appears to be like, layouts, and extra utilizing this easy interface:
Some themes offer you extra choices than others, so that you’ll need to take a look at precisely what you’ll be able to customise. Moreover, many themes offer you some customization choices without spending a dime however require you to buy the Professional model to unlock all of the options, which is one other factor to contemplate.
3. Bear in mind That Themes Are for Design, Plugins Are for Performance
If you select a WordPress theme, it may be tempting to search for a theme that does every part you need proper out of the field.
For instance, if you need to create an occasions web site, you may search for a theme that features a constructed-in occasions calendar function.
As tempting as that is likely to be, I’m going to inform you not to try this.
In WordPress, there’s supposed to be a clear delineation between themes and plugins.
You decide a theme for its design and you utilize plugins to add performance. A theme shouldn’t each management your design and add your performance.
The massive motive is portability. Should you select a theme that controls each design and performance, you’ll just about be locked into that theme for all times. However, when you separate the 2, you’ll be able to at all times change between themes as wanted.
That doesn’t imply you’ll be able to’t get an out-of-the-field answer, although. As an alternative of in search of a theme that mixes every part, search for a theme that’s constructed to combine with a plugin that provides the performance that you really want.
For instance, if you need a theme that provides drag-and-drop design performance, you won’t need to select a theme with a constructed-in builder as a result of it is going to lock you in. As an alternative, you may decide a theme that’s designed to combine with a third-occasion web page builder plugin resembling Elementor. For instance, the Elementor workforce formally recommends the Sydney theme as a nice possibility to pair with Elementor.
Equally, if you need to run an eCommerce retailer, you may use a theme like Airi which is constructed to combine with the WooCommerce plugin for eCommerce performance.
Or, if you need to launch a web based course, you may want the Astra theme, which presents constructed-in integrations for 2 common WordPress course plugins — LifterLMS and LearnDash.
In 2019, many themes will truly come bundled with a set of really helpful plugins, which is a wonderful means to get the very best of each worlds. You continue to get the out-of-the-field performance that you really want, however you’ll additionally have the option to change your theme sooner or later if wanted.
4. Verify Responsive Design (No, REALLY Verify It)
Cellular visitors now accounts for about 50% of Web visitors, with that quantity solely rising.
Responsive design is the concept that your web site routinely adapts based mostly on the consumer’s machine. So, whether or not somebody visits on their laptop computer or their iPhone, they need to nonetheless have a good expertise.
In 2019, any WordPress theme that you just come throughout goes to be responsive, so in search of “Responsive” on the function record is sort of a pointless factor for me to suggest.
Nevertheless, simply because each theme is responsive doesn’t imply each theme implements responsive design effectively.
So, right here’s the factor — after I say to verify a theme’s responsive design, I imply to truly open the demo web site in your smartphone and mess around with it.
How’s the navigation? Some themes have actually slick navigation menus on cell, whereas others are clunky and laborious to use.
How does a weblog submit look? Some themes are awkward and don’t even present a weblog submit’s title above the fold (on a cell machine). That’s a very bizarre expertise for guests as a result of they’ve to swipe down to even see what a submit is about.
These are necessary issues since you need your cell guests to have an superior expertise, not simply an OK expertise.
For instance, the Airi theme presents a consumer-pleasant hamburger menu (simple to faucet!) and shows the total weblog submit title above the fold:
Should you use the Chrome browser, you should utilize its developer instruments to emulate numerous cell gadgets with no need to seize your smartphone, which is what I’m utilizing for the screenshot above.
5. Consider the Developer’s Assist Coverage
Regardless of which theme you select, there may come a time that you just want help.
When that occurs, you’ll need to have the option to attain out for assist, so it pays to verify a host’s help coverage earlier than you make your determination.
Usually, most premium themes will supply 6-12 months of help and updates along with your buy, with an possibility to renew to proceed receiving help. Nevertheless, you’ll need to affirm this — you need to be in a position to discover the precise coverage on the developer’s web site:
With free themes, it may be hit and miss. Some theme builders will present help by way of the WordPress.org boards, whereas different builders don’t supply any help to free clients.
Yow will discover the help discussion board for a theme from the WordPress.org itemizing web page:
Past whether or not a developer presents help and the way lengthy it lasts, you’ll additionally need to contemplate the scope of the help that you just get.
Many builders are blissful to assist you to with the theme, however that help doesn’t essentially prolong to making the theme play good with third-occasion plugins that you just is likely to be utilizing:
6. Verify the Critiques
As with all buy, opinions are a wonderful means to deliver within the knowledge of the crowds to assist you to make the appropriate determination.
Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to discover opinions for many of the WordPress themes that you just is likely to be taking a look at.
Should you’re taking a look at a free theme at WordPress.org, you will discover rankings on the theme itemizing web page. It’s also possible to click on the “See All” hyperlink to see the precise textual content opinions:
Equally, when you’re taking a look at a premium WordPress theme bought by way of ThemeForest, you will discover the ranking within the sidebar. It’s additionally value testing the feedback, as these may also present perception into the standard of a theme:
7. Verify the Final Replace Date
One other laborious information level that it’s best to take a look at is the date of the final replace of a theme. The core WordPress software program is consistently altering, so that you’ll need to select a WordPress theme with a developer that retains it up to date.
There’s no laborious rule right here, however usually you’ll need to see the final replace date be a minimum of throughout the previous six months or so.
Once more, this info is publicly accessible at most theme directories.
At WordPress.org, you’ll see it proper close to the highest of the appropriate sidebar:
Equally, ThemeForest additionally shows the final replace date. Yow will discover it proper under the evaluate ranking:
8. Don’t Get Hung up on the Free vs. Premium Theme Debate
There’s this bizarre factor you see on a lot of websites the place they inform you that premium WordPress themes are inherently higher than free WordPress themes.
Folks will say issues like “premium themes have cleaner code than free themes” or “premium themes are up to date extra typically than free themes” or “premium themes are safer than free themes”.
These statements are completely meaningless…
Free themes are code. Premium themes are code.
You’ll be able to have free themes with completely good code and premium themes with poorly written code.
You’ll be able to have recurrently up to date free themes and premium themes left to die on the vine.
And, after all, the other will also be true.
What’s extra, many themes are available in each a free and a Professional model, and it’s the identical core code between the 2.
So, when you discover a free theme that you just love (and it passes the opposite suggestions on this submit), be at liberty to use it!
Choose a WordPress Theme That Units You Up for Success
Should you observe the tips about this record, you need to be in a position to select a WordPress theme that may set your web site up for achievement each now and sooner or later.
However, if you need to skip the search course of and bounce straight to some nice WordPress themes, you may want to take a look at a few of our theme lists. We’ve collected the:
And, we even have plenty of area of interest WordPress theme collections you can browse right here. Glad searching!