How to Choose a Best WordPress Theme?
Few years back, creating beautiful websites was the objective of many webmasters. However, this has been changed nowadays and serving a faster website to readers become the most important factor. Since, speed affects the readability as well as search engine ranking, it is essential to have fast loading website. Besides choosing best hosting company and using limited plugins there is another important point in speed optimization. Yes, you figured it out‼! Choosing best theme for your site is utmost important to have a long running website.
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Why to Choose a Best Theme?
Theme decides the design and layout of your WordPress site. Choosing a best theme will help you to focus on the content creation instead of spending time on beautifying the layout.
- Website needs to load faster and rank high in Google
- Users need to navigate through the content easily
- Later you should be able to switch the theme without much effort
Remember, changing the theme is not an easy task after running a site for many years. If you do not choose a proper theme, you may need to spend years to switch to a good theme at later point of time.
How to Choose Best Theme for WordPress Site?
With the latest design trends, we recommend considering the following points before choosing a theme for your WordPress site.
- Use Premium Theme
- Use System Font
- No Shortcodes
- No Bundled Plugins
- No Custom Elements or Plugins
- Updated Frequently
- Supported by Quality People
1. Use Premium Theme
There are 7700+ free themes available in WordPress repository at the time when we write this article.
However, we strongly recommend purchasing a commercial theme for your website even if you have a simple blog. Free themes have many problems and cannot help you offering professional site for your readers:
- Most free themes do not allow to remove free footer including official WordPress themes like Twenty Twenty
- Functionalities will be limited
- Limited or no support
On other hand, you can get custom and timely support to certain extend with commercial themes.
2. Choose Lightweight Theme
Usually you need to showcase testimonials or portfolios in one or two pages on your site. In such a case, it does not make sense to load the CSS throughout your site. Therefore, make sure to avoid bloating and heavy weight themes that offer plenty of features that you never need.
There are lightweight themes like Astra, GeneratePress or Genesis that you can try instead of heavy themes.
3. Use System Font
Fonts are many themes host custom fonts or use Google fonts. Loading fonts from your own server consumes lot of server resources. On other hand, loading fonts from Google’s server will delay the page loading time. This could be a real problem when you have many font families and font weights for body content, footer, header and headings. The webpage will not load on the browser and needs to wait until the time of completion of loading all font files.
The best option is to use the computer’s system font so that there is no need to worry about the font issues on your site. Themes like Astra and GeneratePress has this option to use system font stack.
Note: If you still want to use custom fonts make sure you have CDN to cache the static font files and serve faster. There are plugins like WP Rocket allows you to combine Google font files to reduce the number of HTTP requests.
4. No Shortcodes
Be away from those popular themes offer hundreds of elements that you can insert using shortcodes. This will lock you with the theme and make it somewhat impossible to migrate away from the theme. There are no easy way to remove all shortcodes without affecting your content. The only option is to manually update each page and remove the shortcode before you switch the theme.
Best example are the buttons and info messages that many theme offers as in-built functions. It will take years of time to cleanup when you have thousands of pages containing theme specific shortcodes.
5. No Bundled Plugins
Gone are the days you have to rely on page builder plugins for creating beautiful layouts. Gutenberg is evolving and has block patterns and reusable blocks. You can easily create decent templates and layouts with Gutenberg without additional plugins. Since Gutenberg is part of core WordPress, you should not use another heavy page builder plugin for the same purpose. This will lead to duplicate code and affect the page loading time.
6. No Custom Plugins
There are commercial themes work only with additional plugins. Unfortunately, they will never mention this on the product offering page about this important fact. For example, the popular Uncode theme needs custom WPBakery and Divi theme needs their own page builder. The custom plugin will not work when you change the theme and the entire site will become useless without the plugin.
In addition, many themes offer custom WooCommerce setup by replacing the templates of free plugin. This may create bigger problems as the theme developer needs to release updates whenever WooCommerce plugin is updated. Otherwise, the store functionalities may not work or affect the frontend display.
Therefore, make sure to read the theme’s product page clearly and clarify with the developer it does not have any custom functions as a theme. This is an important action you should do especially when looking for special themes like Q&A or forums. For example, Discy Q&A theme will only work with a custom Q&A plugin supplied with the theme purchase. This means there will be no way for you to change the theme after start using Discy theme.
7. Updated Frequently
Maintaining a WordPress site needs lot of work to keep PHP, plugins, theme and WordPress core up to date. Having deprecated code in your theme will throw PHP errors. Sometimes these errors could be fatal and will show white screen of death or break the display on the frontend. Before purchasing, check the theme is compatible for the followings:
- Latest PHP version
- Last stable WordPress version
- Compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce and Yoast SEO.
8. Supported by Quality People
As mentioned above, even with very simple themes like GeneratePress or Astra, you may need good customer support. The reason is that you may be using plugins conflicting with theme’s functions. Check the forum support and read the reviews on the internet about the developer before you make a final decision of purchasing a theme. Remember, many reviews on the internet are written simply with the intention to promote affiliate links. Be sure to read legitimate reviews or buy a theme that offers trial or money back guarantee.
WordPress theme decides how your websites is displayed on the browser. Thus affecting the user experience, speed and hence the SEO. Therefore, we recommend choosing a best theme that suits your need instead of buying a bundled theme and not using 99% of the functions. In addition, consider factors about switching the theme at later and choose lightweight themes that offer good customer support.