How to Choose a WordPress Theme: 7 Points to Consider

    Nitansha Tanwar
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How to Choose a WordPress Theme: 7 Points to Consider 1


Choosing a WordPress theme for your website? Then this article is for you!

The good news is that there are over 20,000 WordPress themes in total, including premium options. (Source).

The bad news…? There are over 20,000 WordPress themes to choose from. So how do you decide what sets the better apart from the good? And how do you then pick the best?

Well, it’s simple! – Weigh out your options against a defined metric.

I’ll break it down for you. You can use this 7-point checklist while comparing WordPress themes for your website:-

But before you start comparing, you need to get one thing out of the way – make sure you’ve clearly understood your website’s needs.

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Below I’ve shared four ways to do that.

4 ways to narrow down your website needs before choosing a WordPress theme

Before you start browsing for WordPress themes, it’s important to understand your website needs. What is the purpose of your website? Who is your target audience? What features and functionality are essential to your business?

Once you have a good understanding of your needs, you can start narrowing down your theme options. There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available, so it’s important to be selective.

To list down your website needs before selecting a WordPress theme, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your website’s purpose. What is the main goal of your website? Are you trying to sell products or services? Share information? Build a community? Once you know your website’s purpose, you can start to identify the features and functionality that are important to you.
  2. Consider your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your website? What are their needs and interests? Once you understand your target audience, you can choose a theme that has a design and features that will appeal to them.
  3. Make a list of essential features. What features are essential for your website? For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, you’ll need a theme that supports WooCommerce. If you’re running a blog, you’ll need a theme that has a blog layout and supports popular blogging features like categories and tags.
  4. Prioritize your needs. Not all of your needs are going to be equally important. Prioritize your needs so that you can focus on finding a theme that has the most important features for your website.


Now that you’ve learned how to define your website’s needs, let’s look at 7 factors to help you choose a WordPress theme that will create a strong foundation for your website.

How to pick the best WordPress theme? : 7 deciding factors

1. Responsive Design

You want numbers?! I’ll give them to you. But please, for the love of design, choose a RESPONSIVE theme! Over 55% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. 92.3% of internet users access the internet using a mobile phone. (source)

One thing is definite. Google boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly pages. (source)

Translation: Your website has to work well on a mobile device.

If your theme is not optimized for mobile, it could negatively impact your rankings. On the other hand, a responsive theme can improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic.

If you’re planning on creating a different website for mobile devices, good for you (although you’ll have to maintain two sites, be ready for that). If not, you’ll need to make your website mobile-ready, and that means you need a responsive theme.

So when you’re looking to purchase a theme, how do you know if it’s responsive?

It will say so on the features list. But DON’T BELIEVE that! TEST for yourself.

Every theme on sale offers a demo. Check the demo on several devices. Double-check that it displays well on any screen size.

Note: if you want a design that precisely fits your brand’s vision, you can also consider custom theme development for your WordPress site.


2. Information Architecture

This is a tricky topic to define. So I’ll quote Steve Jobs here.

Steve Jobs said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

And it’s true.

While you think a theme probably decides only the colors or font of your website, it also controls the layout, the navigation options, and several user interface elements.

The theme will decide how information will be laid out on the site- a.k.a. Information Architecture. This is a very important measure when choosing a theme.

Let’s take the example of this very site. It’s built on Genesis. The advantage Genesis provides us is the multiple layout options. If you notice, our blog pages have a sidebar, while our landing pages don’t. We can decide this based on our preference.

Take for example, the position of the menu, the size of the header, the size of the footer, and so on.

All of this is important. Because the DESIGN of the page, which is the layout of the page, will decide how a visitor interacts with your website. For the visitor that is how your website “works”. It’s not just the functionality, it is the position of the content and the discoverability.

Now a theme won’t tell you how to place the content on your website. But it can make your job simpler. So when choosing a theme, focus on the layouts (or rather templates) a theme provides, on the navigation options provided, or the footer widgets available.



3. Theme options

Not many, but adequate.

The theme you choose should provide adequate theme options, without having to dabble into code.

For example, you must have noticed we have a mega menu on our site. Our theme didn’t offer a mega menu, we coded it ourselves. Which was okay for us, because we are a WordPress development company. We have pro developers who can handle these changes quite easily.

Mega Menu on our site

If you wanted the same menu, and your theme didn’t provide it, you would either have to invest effort creating the mega menu yourself, or you’ll have to spend some bucks and hire a developer. Either way, it would be an overhead.

Or let’s say you wanted to change the color palette of the theme. Some themes provide admin options for the same. And this can help if you don’t want to code/tweak the styling. These options are especially needed when the theme is a child theme because you won’t be able to override the settings provided, without using a plugin.

It’s better to get the decision right,t to begin with. This however does not mean that a theme that provides myriad options is the best theme to choose. There is no such rule. I said ‘adequate’ remember? Do note if the theme options are relevant to you.


4. Plugin Compatibility

Let’s imagine you’re a chef.

Would you pick a library to sell your food or a restaurant? A restaurant right?! That’s the difference between a theme built for a plugin and a generic theme. A theme built for a plugin would work seamlessly with the plugin. It’s built that way.

I’m talking about plugins that introduce an entire system here. Like e-commerce, LMS, Event Management, Social Networks, and so on.

Based on our experience with WooCommerce, I can tell you this- If your theme is not compatible with WooCommerce, it’s mighty difficult to change the single product page template. You’re layout might break or look awkward.

You’ll have to invest effort in making the theme compatible with the plugin. Whereas it would have been simpler to just choose a theme that was compatible with the plugin in the first place.

But remember, it should be compatible with the plugin, not dependent on it.

Also Read: 10 Must-Have Plugins for Your WordPress Website in 2023

5. Theme Overheads

Don’t get me started on how some themes are HEAVY, SLUGGISH, and very very BAD. They can directly affect user experience and increase bounce rate. Not good. We wrote an entire post on why we shifted to Genesis, and it was well worth it.

But theme overheads can mean theme dependency as well. Some themes are dependent on plugins. The WPLMS theme for example. It’s a great theme and we’ve worked with it a bit. But it depends on several plugins. So if you plan on sticking with the theme forever (which is a pretty long time), you can choose such a theme.

A comment on WPLMS Theme

Themes tie you in with Custom Post Types. Not a good idea when you want to switch to a different theme. There is a reason why functionality should be added to plugins. It just makes your life much easier when you want to switch to a different theme.

How do you get an idea of theme overheads?

Apart from reading reviews and checking out the demo, you can check if the theme is heavy by using online page analysis tools like GTmetrix. Test the demo link of the theme (not just of the homepage, but of random pages), and check the grade displayed.


6. Documentation & Support

The fact is many people underestimate the importance of good documentation and product support.

Good documentation guides you through theme setup, helps you with the options provided, and keeps you up to date with theme changes.

Support is what you’re paying for. So it better be good. I know the importance of good support. Because I know what it feels like when you innocently update a theme, to end up staring at a blank screen, then begin to panic, then frantically raise a support request, to then get no response, to then send a nasty email, to then change a theme! It’s a great ordeal and I don’t wish it upon you.

Support is important, even if you think you don’t need it.


7. The Price Tag

So what’s the difference between a free WordPress theme and a paid one?

The price tag of course?! 😀

When choosing a premium theme you’ll probably end up asking yourself, is the theme worth the price tag?

Well, my thoughts are, that if the theme has good reviews, is lightweight, is compatible with a plugin you intend to use, has good documentation, and has great support, you shouldn’t bother with the cost. 🙂

The average price of a WordPress theme is around $59.  However, prices can range from $10 to $200.  The cost depends on the theme’s maker and the features it has.  For example, a custom-built theme with extra features could cost between $6,000 and $10,000. 

To get the exact price quote for your theme, you can also contact our WordPress Custom Theme Development Experts.


Wrapping Up

Picking the perfect theme for your website is a big deal!

While you can change it later, it’s a bit tricky and takes a lot of effort and time. It might even make your website temporarily unavailable. So, it’s a good idea to choose the right theme from the beginning to save yourself from extra work and hassle later on.

So on your quest to buy a new theme, I hope I’ve helped you out a bit.

With this checklist in mind, I’m sure you’ll be able to select the best theme for your WordPress website.

If you’re not able to find a theme for your website, you can always get in touch with experts to build a WordPress theme for you.

If you have any more questions or would like to add anything to this checklist, feel free to comment below!

Happy theme hunting!

Also Read: 7 Best Corporate Training WordPress Themes


Nitansha Tanwar

Nitansha Tanwar

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