Selecting a perfect theme/template for your WordPress site can feel tantalizing. There are thousands (10,000+) of both free and paid options, yet, somehow, the sheer number of choices is harder than having no choice in the first place.
Each theme looks better than the other, depending on that fickle balance between your current mood and website goals. So, the question is – How to cut through the noise and choose the best one?
Whether you’re a seasoned designer working for the best custom web design company, or a freelance beginner, you’re bound to come across this conundrum.
But first, especially for those leaning on the beginners’ side, let’s see what WordPress template is exactly.
In WordPress theme development, a template is defined as a part of a web page generated by a WordPress theme.
Templates are files that control how your WordPress site will be displayed online. These files draw information from your WordPress MySQL database and generate the HTML code which is sent to the web browser.
What’s the difference between a WordPress theme and a template?
To put it simply, a theme controls the design of your entire site and a template defines the main layout of a single page. Themes, in general, include several different templates.
That is a mouthful, but fear not…
Together with some of the most reliable web development companies from New York, we listed six actionable tips on how to choose the perfect WordPress template for your website:
Make A List of Features You Need
WordPress is used to create wildly different kinds of websites. That’s why each template caters to a different market.
Before selection, it’s crucial to establish which features are absolutely essential for you and determine which are not. Knowing what you don’t want is often more useful.
The WordPress Feature Filter makes it easy to customize your search for free themes based on the features of your choice. However, it’s very important to have the design in mind before choosing because some features demand drastic changes in your design layout.
When it comes to WordPress templates, less is often more.
When building your website from the ground up, you should always have in mind the ultimate goal of your site. You shouldn’t clutter it with unnecessary themes and/or templates.
Responsiveness Is a Must
Responsive themes adapt their layouts across different device screen sizes. Mobile and other handheld devices account for approximately 50% of web traffic worldwide. In fact, just in the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices generated more than 54% of global online traffic.
Having this growing trend in mind and your website’s topics, this number could go even higher for you, not to mention that Google ranks mobile-friendly websites higher.
Most WordPress themes are already responsive by default, but there are still those that maintain fixed templates and layouts that are not mobile-friendly. Avoid them at all costs!
Know Your Budget
Whether you like it or not, your budget plays a major role when choosing an appropriate theme/template.
Even before finding ones that suit your needs best, you should figure out whether or not you’re able to spend money on them or not.
WordPress themes come for all budgets, even the lacking ones. Some people may be telling you you should generally avoid free themes, but don’t buy into that kind of advice. Pun intended.
A quality, free theme that adheres to coding standards and is updated regularly is something to be considered, so before you start looking for a theme or template, decide on a budget, then find the one that matches it.
Keep Color in Mind
As you may already know, most online marketing is based on visual appearance. You may find it superficial, but colors do increase brand recognition more than smart, witty content.
When choosing a theme and template layout, try to match your color scheme to that of your logo (if you have one). If you’d rather stick to neutral hues, remember that only a hint of color, a highlight here and there, can do wonders for your website.
WordPress makes it super easy to change the appearance, color palette of a theme included, of course.
If you’re trying to decide between dark or light mode, remember that current stats show that site visitors prefer to have an option of toggling between them, as a dark mode is easier on the eyes and design elements pop off the screen more.
Make Sure There’s Support and Regular Updates
If the chosen theme is paid, it goes without saying that it’s backed up by regular quality support. If you run into any kind of problems with a theme paid with hard-earned money, the developers MUST be able to guide you to the solution.
Free themes, however, are a totally different story. Why would developers spend time offering support for a free product?
A quick hack:
If you opt for a free theme, consider checking the WordPress.org forums for it and see if the devs are quick to respond to any inquiries and support requests.
Over time, new security patches need to be applied to WordPress themes because of the evolution of OS, fixing bugs, or the addition of new features.
Check The Rating and Reviews
As with any purchase, reviews are another solid indicator of a WordPress theme’s quality. Reviews are a great way to tap into the collective wisdom of the users to help you make an informed decision.
For free WordPress themes, you should check the rating section just below the download button. It can show you the number of reviews and ratings.
If you’re looking for free themes at WordPress.org, you can find ratings on the theme listing page. We recommend clicking the “See All” link to see the actual text reviews. Comments provide great insights not only for theme quality but also usability and even goal correction.
Similarly, if you’re looking for premium WordPress themes via ThemeForest, for example, you can always find the ratings in the sidebar.
With any luck, we managed to help you narrow down your selection process. But, fear not; even if you make a wrong decision, WordPress lets you change themes down the road.
The main thing to consider is the purpose of your website. The theme or template you consider perfect may work for a news outlet but can be useless if you run an eCommerce store, so keep your head in the game.