There are thousands of different free and premium WordPress themes which makes choosing a theme an overwhelming task. Your theme is very important since it dictates how your WordPress theme will look to users and how your brand will appear to billions of internet users all over the globe.
Your website is like the shopfront of your business and therefore it needs to be appealing and on-brand.
We can’t help you choose a theme that matches your aesthetic but we can help you make sure the theme you choose is going to set your WordPress website up for success.
WordPress themes are not equal, make sure the theme you choose has the important features to avoid running into issues down the road. We are going to share with you 12 important things you need to consider when choosing a WordPress theme that will create a strong foundation for your website.
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Why it is important to choose the right WordPress Theme for your Site
You can use WordPress themes to create different types of websites. WordPress has many themes which cater to different markets like WooCommerce themes, membership site themes, and even multi-purpose themes that can be customized to fit nearly any type of site.
Most WordPress themes come with tons of customization options and if not coded properly, they can make it difficult for you to change themes or use other WordPress plugins.
You might be locked into that theme or you will have to hire a WordPress developer to help you switch.
However, some WordPress themes that look great can make your website incredibly slow. A slow website can hurt your search engine rankings and user experience among others.
You should therefore make sure your theme has a design you like, is fast, and can be easily customized.
What you need to consider when choosing a perfect WordPress theme for your site
#1. What kind of content you will have on your site?
To make it easier to sort the available themes, start by thinking about the kind of content you want to include, the things you want visitors to be able to do, and the goals you want to accomplish.
WordPress has different themes built to highlight different types of information. You need to think about your primary goal for your website. These goals may include:
Establish a blog
If you want to set up a news site for information publishing, a magazine-style site to share about affiliate products or a tropical blog to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
For these blogs, the flow of the text is key so make sure you choose a theme that prioritizes readability and organizes your content so it’s clear and scannable.
Build a business page
If you want to attract potential customers to your business, you have to describe your services and invite them to follow your call to action whether by booking a call, making a reservation, or signing up for your newsletter.
Most business-related themes have a professional landing page design, a call to action area, and specialty pages for services, portfolios, and contact information.
Showcase your creative work
If you want to share your photography or artwork through your website, to grow your community and build a fan base. Most WordPress specialty themes exist to showcase images in unique ways without being overwhelming.
For showcasing your creative work, look for a photo-centric layout and gallery-specific functionality.
Build a membership site
If you want to create an online community, a theme is not necessary, you can use plugins instead. However, you can choose a theme with advanced menus that makes member vs non-member content and options clear and easy to find.
Sell your products
If you want to build an online store, go for a theme that’s fully integrated with WooCommerce and includes beautiful product pages that match the rest of your site.
#2. Your Brand Aesthetic
Choose a theme that offers customization opportunities so that you can change the color scheme to match your brand colors fairly easily. To match your brand’s aesthetic right you need to know your style. We have made it easier for you to understand your style.
- A bright and airy style requires a theme that uses lots of white space, simple fonts, and a clean, one-column layout.
- Fun and quirky needs a theme that uses unique design features like text overlays, bold shapes, and overlapping images.
- A strictly corporate look requires layouts that contain traditional elements like hero images and three-column feature sections.
- Modern and artistic style requires unusual image styles, menu placements, and animation features.
#3. Your Budget
Consider your budget before making any decision on the theme to choose. WordPress Theme directory contains thousands of options and most of them are free.
However, niche themes and those with advanced, unique design features or functionality may charge an annual fee. This fee will be in addition to any other hosting and domain registration costs, so consider your overall budget before making a decision.
#4. It should support Plugins
Make sure the theme you choose supports key WordPress plugins for they help you provide the best functionality and user experience.
Plugins often help to elevate your theme and provide the functionality that you are looking for. WordPress plugins also help in improving various aspects of your website, including design and performance.
Some of the popular and useful WordPress plugins include:
- Yoast SEO helps you improve the overall SEO of your website.
- Jetpack plugin includes website analytics, spam filters, and automated social media posting.
- Woocommerce which transforms your WordPress website into an online shop.
- WP Forms creates a contact form with a dynamic drag-and-drop interface.
We would advise you to choose a theme that supports these WordPress plugins, as well as any others that you determine to be essential for your site. If you are not sure, contact the WordPress theme developer to ask which plugins your chosen WordPress theme supports before you commit.
#5. Its Responsiveness
A good theme should be able to adapt to different platforms, devices, and browsers so that every single visitor has an excellent experience. The design should be able to move content around on smaller screens to create a single column layout which is much more readable on mobile and essential for good search engine optimization.
Go for a theme that is “mobile-first,” meaning that it is designed specifically for smaller screens. With more than half of the traffic coming from phones and tablets, you will be catering to most of your audience.
#6. Its Performance
A fast-loading website is also good for your SEO and improves your visitor’s experience. The more built-in features a theme has and the more customizable it is, the slower it is to load. Some features can add weight to your websites such as design elements like animations and sliders. Choose a theme that only includes the features you’ll need for your site.
A more flexible theme makes it easier to add the missing features to your theme using plugins. You need to consider how well your theme integrates with other plugins. You might want to ensure your theme is already set up to work with a top-notch translation, event, or mega-menu plugin. With that, you are off to a great start.
Building an accessible website is a must. Beyond limiting your reach by excluding those with specific needs, a website that is not accessible can open you up to lawsuits and even legal trouble.
Many modern themes have a code to make sure your site is fully accessible. However, it’s a good idea to check the theme’s level of compliance before implementation.
#9. Support and Maintenance
Make sure the theme you choose has an active developer. Your theme should be updated often for it to work with the latest WordPress releases and to ensure your site is secure.
When viewing a theme in the WordPress library, there should be a date showing when it was last updated, make use of that. Many third-party themes also offer a support package, which can be particularly helpful for a beginner.
Choose a theme that has a good reputation. Look for feedback and comments on the theme you have chosen.
Look for the following when doing your search: did it perform well, was it easy to use, and was the developer responsive to reports of problems or bugs?
Go for a theme with lots of installations as well as good reviews. The more users a theme has, the more likely that its issues have been ironed out, and that there will be plenty of people who can answer your questions or provide the help you need.
#11. It should be ready for Translation into Different Languages
WordPress powers over 40 percent of the internet worldwide. There are many website owners who want to build a site in a different language or cater to an audience that speaks another language.
For free WordPress themes search for translation-ready themes. For the Premium WordPress themes, it will typically list its language compatibility on the theme page. You can as well create a multilingual WordPress site by using a WordPress translation plugin.
#12. Opt for Simplicity
Lastly, go for a simple and minimalist design. When choosing a WordPress theme, you can be easily tempted by many colors, complex layouts, flashy animations, sliders, and more. In most cases, you do not need all those additional features.
Your theme should have a design layout that helps you support your goal. It has to look good without compromising on usability and simplicity.
Keep in mind that you are designing a WordPress website for your audience in South Africa. Think of how they would feel reading content on a website full of annoying animations and pop-ups.
The purpose of your website is to help users find the information they need as fast as possible while highlighting relevant information about your business.
A good theme should help you get new customers or email newsletter subscribers.
There are thousands of overwhelming WordPress themes to choose from. However, remember that the theme you choose will have a major impact on your WordPress website in South Africa, so you need to think carefully about which one you choose.