Efficiently Elegant: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect WordPress Theme

Choosing “The Perfect WordPress Theme!” is important for any website. And it’s a minefield. Should you choose one which has great features, or the one that looks splendid? Will the theme perform well on all devices? Is it responsive or fixed? So many questions…

The Perfect Theme will help provide a memorable online experience to the users; a wrong one creates a plethora of problems you’ll have to spend hours attempting to fix up.

The Perfect Theme is not only pleasing to the eye, but practical and effortless to use for both developer and user. And these are the things you go looking for when you’re trying to find it:

Industry Specific:

This includes a whole load of variables. The right theme will have a certain layout where all your industry relevant content can fit easily without cluttering the entire website. For instance, e-commerce websites will require great product display options. Content heavy websites will need a sane and easy-to-browse way to manage and showcase different articles.

Most WordPress themes are specified by target audience or industry type nowadays. So make sure you know what category you fit into before beginning to look for themes.

Live Demo:

To check how a theme would look like once they’re in use, check out live demo, offered by all theme companies today. The demo will show various home page designs, along with theme variation for different pages on the site like About Us, Contact, Featured, and more.

Customer Reviews:

A lot of shoddy work can be weeded out by simply looking at customer ratings on the themes, especially if a theme developer is new and does not have a portfolio to showcase his previous work yet. If a theme has bad reviews, cross it off your list unless there’s scope for improvement (see Ease of Customization).

If a theme looks great but you have some qualms about anything, try to contact the theme creator directly. This would ensure that they are, in fact, active and at hand to help with potential problems or bugs with their theme.

Compatibility Crisis:

Themes often clash with browsers. It’s true that Internet Explorer, apart from being fodder for jokes and hilarity in general, will also give you great grief when it comes to selecting themes. Good news is it’s not very widely used nowadays (courtesy of said jokes). However, other browsers can also mess up certain advanced features, with the end result of features being unable to work as unintended or outright incompatible/disabled.

Check to see that your theme features work with modern browsers, especially if you have chosen a theme just for its special feature(s). Otherwise you’ll be wasting time and money trying to make it compatible with different browsers.

SEO-friendly themes:

A website’s structure plays an essential role in SEO results. Try to choose a theme which is SEO-optimized, which is a bit of a conundrum.

You see, there’s no way to know whether a theme is SEO-friendly without trying it first. To save yourself the trouble, look up customer reviews. Try to find out whether or not the theme is compatible with popular SEO-plugins like Yoast or All In One SEO pack.

Mobile responsive design:

Most themes nowadays are mobile friendly, so this is usually not a trouble. But in the interest of not being too complacent, test it for mobile responsiveness. Modern themes will pass the tests with flying colors, but some old themes (fix design) won’t. This is because they aren’t yet upgraded to run on different screen resolutions and orientations.

Mobile responsiveness test can be done manually, or with the use of services like ScreenFly, StudioPress, etc.

Ease of Customization:

Theme design should be flexible. Once you install and run a new theme, your website has to be built up over time with various elements and content. Simple and easy to use Theme Options panel and Theme Customizer will save you a considerable amount of time in the process.

Note: More intensive customization will need alterations in the code. For that, you will need the theme developer’s help, which frankly, you shouldn’t count upon as their product is intended to be sold as it is.

Coding Standard Compliance:

Being WordPress coding standard complaint and W3C validated is necessary. This ensures better search engine results and less security problems. Try to ensure compliance before you purchase the theme.

Support Community:

Try to get a theme which has good customer care and an active support forum provided by the theme developer. Also check that the theme’s documentation is clear and correct. This can prevent a whole load of troubles in future; and if you do run into snags, then the active support can help mitigate the problem.

Conclusion:

This is the basic checklist you should refer to before buying a WordPress theme to make sure your website doesn’t end up being a twisted, lumpy mess of content, and impossible to browse through to boot. It’s a minefield, choosing a theme.

The trick lies in balancing design and practicality.
Author Bio: Tracey Jones is a renowned WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks Ltd. She assists her clients when they need to hire WordPress developer for their WP customization projects. When not busy with coding, she loves sharing useful tutorials regarding WordPress and its benefits. You can follow her company on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and GooglePlus.