7 Don’ts for Choosing a New WordPress Theme

2019/01/25 08:00

wordpress themes

Whether you’re building a new WordPress website or just want to update your current theme, these tips will help you choose the right one.

Launched in 2003, WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems around today. In fact, over 75 million of the websites that are online today are run on the WordPress platform.

There are a number of reasons why the platform is so popular, including the fact that it’s easy to configure and use. Where you once needed the assistance of a developer to build an online presence, now anyone can build a website using a variety of different themes.

There are hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from, a process that can feel quite overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what to look for. Not all WordPress themes are equal so it’s important to take your time making your decision if you want to have a website that looks good and works correctly too.

Before You Decide on a Theme

Before you start your search or install your new WordPress theme, it’s important to create a backup of your website, particularly if you rely on it to generate leads and sales.

Backup all of your files, including your plugins and your database, so that if anything goes wrong, you can restore your old site while you look into any issues. There are a number of tools available that make this process simple.

Next, before you go ahead and install your new theme, turn on a maintenance screen so that your visitors are not reaching a broken site. Setting up a maintenance screen also allows you to update your site at your own pace.

Choosing a WordPress Theme: Top 7 Don’ts

1. Don’t just focus on design

Design is not the only thing that you should be considering when evaluating potential themes. When reviewing themes, you want to consider your target audience, what you will be using the site for, whether you want to monetise it and how you want the site to look. A theme could have a great design but once installed, you may come across a number of bugs that will lead to a bad user experience and frustration on your end too.

2. Don’t download a theme from an unknown source

If you think you’ve found the perfect template but it’s available from an unknown source, it’s better to keep looking. By choosing a trustworthy source for your theme you can be sure that you won’t need to deal with coding errors and viruses. To decide whether a source is trustworthy, do some research on it by looking at reviews and how quickly user questions are answered.

3. Don’t choose a complex theme

It’s all good and well to choose a theme with amazing features but complex themes can slow down your site, which affects your user experience and your SEO rankings. The best WordPress themes are agile and optimised, so rather forgo the extra features to create a site that performs as it should.

4. Don’t link price to quality

Paying for a theme doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be getting the quality you’re hoping for. You’d actually be surprised at how many free themes trump paid themes, so look into both options before you make a final decision.

5. Don’t install a theme that isn’t responsive

Following Google’s rollout of mobile-first indexing, having a responsive website is no longer a maybe. More than 60% of all online searches take place on a mobile device, which means your website would be losing out on a lot of potential traffic if isn’t responsive. Fortunately, the majority of WordPress themes are responsive but it’s still a good idea to make 100% sure before downloading it.

6. Don’t forget about flexibility

Before you decide on a theme, think about how much of your site will need to be customised. While WordPress themes do allow for a lot of customisation in general, sometimes you will need to edit the code to add certain elements to your site. Choosing a flexible WordPress theme that can be edited is important if you have a very specific design in mind.

7. Don’t choose a theme that doesn’t offer technical support

Whichever theme you decide on, make sure that technical support is available. Too many themes have been abandoned, which means they’re probably no longer compatible with the latest version of WordPress. You also never know when you might be faced with a technical issue, so it’s good to know that you can get in touch with the theme’s authors should you have a query.

After Installing Your WordPress Theme

Now that you’ve installed your new theme, there are a few things that you will need to do before you can take it live.

  • Test your site’s plugins and general functionality. Go through all of your plugins and test out your site’s core functions to make sure that everything is working as it should. This includes everything from contact forms and commenting to your search function. If any of your plugins have style settings, make sure that they’ve been updated to match your new theme.
  • Remember to add your tracking code. If you’re using an analytics program such as KOBIT or Google Analytics, remember to add your tracking code to your new theme so that you can continue tracking your site and pulling reports.
  • Test your site across different browsers and devices. Before you take your new site live, make sure that it’s displaying correctly on different devices and browsers. Unfortunately, even the best themes can display incorrectly in certain browsers.

Finding the best theme can be a time-consuming process but it’s absolutely necessary to carefully consider each of your options before you make a final decision if you want to impress new and existing customers online.