The beauty of WordPress lies in its flexibility to adapt changes, which allows you to create every kind of website. For example, if you want to create a news blog, you can select a theme which improves readability and if you want to create a photography blog, you can select a theme which highlights those special features.
In theory, selecting a theme may look like an easy task, but reality has a different story to tell, because you have to think about various stakeholders such as your client, your target audience and most importantly – Google. Why Google? Because some themes may look amazing to your client, your customer etc. with all those cool widgets and buttons, but they would have a massive loading time and Google doesn’t like slow websites.
There is a big confusion when it comes to selecting themes for your website. Not only are there millions of paid themes out there, but there are thousands of free options as well, which makes selection a tedious process. Each theme you find on the internet is better than the previous one? Isn’t it? So how do you choose the best theme? You can always go for a web development company for your ease, but if you want to DIY, there are plenty of ways and this article is going to highlight some of those ways.
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There are many articles which are written on simplicity, yet no one follows. Simplicity doesn’t mean that you create a bland website. It means that you include all the basic elements which a user needs, yet be innovative and simple.
“Great design is great complexity presented via simplicity.” – M. Cobanli.
You need to go for a theme which supports your goal. If you have a goal to get leads, you need to have visible call to action buttons, if your goal is content marketing; you need to have direct sharing options etc. The point is, that you don’t need to go for flashy banners, complex layout or animations all the time, you have to be consider your audience and your goals as well, because the purpose of a website is to deliver information.
This is where designers and developers have a chance to show their magic. Firstly, they need to select a theme which works in different scenarios without broken links or images. Secondly, they have to make an appealing and web standard compliant website which helps them achieve their goals.
So before you publish your WordPress site, it is highly advisable to check the website for code validation so that it doesn’t create havoc in the future.
Research proves that a huge chunk of your overall traffic is from a handheld device. You need to make sure that your theme is responsive as your website would be accessed from different devices. Most WordPress themes are responsive by default but there are many themes (free and paid) which have a fixed width, so you need to keep your eyes open while selecting a theme.
Making a mobile friendly website will not only make you reach out more users, it will also help you rank higher on SERP’s. In fact, Google released a mobile friendly algorithm in 2015 know by the name of Mobilegeddon which is designed to give boost to mobile friendly pages and penalize those website which are not supported on mobile devices.
Now if you are wondering how to test if your WordPress theme is mobile friendly or not, it’s simple. All you need to do is resize your browser size, if the theme moves along, it’s friendly. But if you need concrete evidence of responsiveness, then you need to test your website on Google’s mobile friendly test page.
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. We all know that content is king, but your website theme may have a serious outcome on your SEO results as well. Many people follow the same routine approach; they make a website and then start to think about SEO. In most cases, it is already too late, or too hard to rank in search engines. Result: Failure.
Therefore, it is advisable to select a theme which is SEO friendly as well. Now the question is, how do you tell if your theme is SEO friendly or not? For beginners, you need to see if the theme is developed with up to date coding standards or not. Secondly, you need to maintain your website speed under 6 seconds max. Huge images, poor CMS, slow server all affect the page speed of a website. Thirdly, it needs to have a responsive design as well which accommodates to the different needs of the user because let’s just face the truth; 50% of visitors on a website are from a hand held device which functions in a different way altogether.