Let’s face it, WordPress has done to blogging what Apple did to the smartphone – it redefined it in ways that no one expected. WordPress has made blogging accessible, fun, and profitable.
There are businesses that thrived off of the content and products they share on their WordPress site. And more than that, WordPress has also made a killing in the online retail industry with its numerous and flexible themes. Below is a shortlist of 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts when it comes to selecting a WordPress Theme.
5 Do’s of Picking A WordPress Theme
1. Do make a list of features you want
It follows that more designers have flocked to WordPress now that it has become the leader in the blogging space. They want to get their hands involved in the site creation. The reason there are so many themes to choose from is the result of millions of people wanting to improve the user experience on their site.
There will be features that make viewing content easier and then there will be others that will make navigation and searching effortless. These are important features to keep in mind as you search for an appropriate theme.
2. Do choose a theme that is responsive
A design that is responsive is, ultimately, one that will make your website easier to use by your visitors. More than being able to transition from one page to the next on a desktop, it should also be able to do the same thing when accessed through a smartphone or tablet.
If your design has dropdown menus and tabs, these should also be available and functional on other devices. Choose features that make the transition between different devices smooth.
3. Do pay attention to color
If the main purpose of your WordPress site is for online retail, then you must pay attention to the color of the theme. Countless experts and SEO firms have attested that the choice of color for the web design affects buyer behavior as well brand awareness.
Start with your logo, if you have one. Try to match the same color to the rest of the site. If neutrals are your preference, add a pop of color here and there, just small hints of it to make the design a little more interesting. When faced with the choice of going dark or going light, remember that a good portion of visitors prefers light-themed sites. WordPress has worked hard to make sure changing the appearance of websites is easy and not at all time-consuming.
4. Do consider going for a premium service
While it is perfectly okay for many companies to run their business with a free WordPress plan, you can get access to more features when you sign up for the premium service. The quality of coding, for instance, drastically improves with a premium service.
Free themes also don’t receive updates regularly. But among all, it is the lack of support that many people have experienced on the free plan that forced many to go for the paid service. If there is a theme you have been using for quite some time, you don’t need to worry about it being abandoned by the author when you are on the premium plan.
5. Do test it thoroughly
The last Do on this “Do and Don’t” list is one that many people keep forgetting. I’m talking of course about testing. Once you’ve made your decision on which theme to use, you know its features inside and out, next would be to test the new theme thoroughly for any bugs or issues.
You can start by using the Theme Check plugin that makes sure your current theme is up to the standards of other WordPress themes. Once that’s done and you’ve tweaked it to fit your use case, next is to review your website before launching the new theme to the world.
Make sure you read all your content so there are no grammatical and spelling mistakes. Check mobile to see if the theme adjusts to the small screen size. And make sure all images load properly.
Now that we have covered what you need to DO, let’s dive into the things you need to avoid doing while choosing a WordPress theme.
5 Don’ts of Picking A WordPress Theme
1. Don’t go for a complex theme
What this means is simply to avoid themes that are filled to the brim with features, many of which you would never use for your website. Not only will it make the theme harder to use, but the number of features included will only slow down the response rate of the site. Keep this in mind when you’re selecting a theme on your WordPress.
Practice restraint when it comes to installing features you want to be included on the site. Serene music playing as you enter the site might be tempting to you but that could be a distraction to other people.
2. Don’t use a theme with an unreadable font
This next one is a common mistake that many people who use WordPress fall prey to. It can be very alluring to choose a theme with an artsy font, something that puts a little bit of uniqueness to your website to stand out against the Helvetica, Arial, and Verdana.
But there is a reason why these fonts are very popular when it comes to website font choice – they are very readable. Don’t sacrifice usability and legibility just to put your website above the rest. It might look interesting but if the customers can’t read any of your content, the site is altogether useless.
3. Don’t use a lot of widgets
Almost all WordPress themes have their own default widgets. Some of these widgets have been carefully selected because it makes the user experience better but some only serve to bog down the theme. Be careful which widget you employ on your site.
Remember to keep the balance of usability and simplicity. Consider sticking to one or two widgets and make sure your choice helps the visitors instead of making their time spent on your site more difficult. And just like features, too many widgets installed will only slow down the responsiveness of your site.
4. Don’t fail to update
Themes, especially ones on WordPress, are not static. Just like any machine, they experience breakdowns and would need regular maintenance. Not many realize just how important it is to upgrade their themes to the current version.
A benefit to doing this is that existing issues are resolved and the performance is improved. Note that only paid themes get this kind of update. Free ones might never see an update after its release, especially when it has been abandoned by the author.
5. Don’t discount security
And finally, the last item on this “Don’t” list has to do with security. You should take the time to ensure the theme you are using has adequate security. At least choose one that is able to protect the privacy of your visitors.
If you are choosing a theme, make sure you are reading reviews that relate to its security feature since a lot of people will have left one if they experienced problems with security.