What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is a package of files that customizes how your WordPress website looks. The layout, colors, fonts, and other design elements of your website are dictated by the theme.
What is a prebuilt theme? What is a custom theme?
When deciding on a theme, you can use a prebuilt theme or a custom theme. A prebuilt theme is plug-and-play using prefabricated page templates, while a custom theme is a one-off built specifically for you.
Why select a prebuilt theme?
I am a huge fan of prebuilt themes for small businesses and solopreneurs for these reasons:
- SAVES TIME – Your website can be up and running quickly.
- SAVES MONEY – Prebuilt themes are a budget-friendly option since you’re not having to create your website from scratch.
- INCLUDES SUPPORT – Most premium themes come with at least a few months of customer support and detailed documentation to refer back to.
What should I consider when selecting a WordPress Theme?
There are thousands of themes available in online marketplaces. Choosing a theme is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when putting together a website. Take your time and pick the best theme for you business. Here are a few tips…
BUY A PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEME
I recommend that you purchase a high-quality premium WordPress theme from a reputable marketplace like themeforest. Premium themes typically offer a higher level of quality and functionality when when compared with Free themes. You should expect to pay anywhere from $30-$150 for your theme.
TAKE THE DEMO FOR A SPIN
Themes are all about the look and feel of your website. Most themes have demos that are meant to show the full capabilities of that particular theme. I recommend that you spend some time navigating the demo and visualizing what your website could look like. Remember to select a theme that complements your branding and isn’t too busy. You’ll add functionality via your plugins.
GET A THEME THAT WORKS WITH A PAGEBUILDER
If you want to be able to easily change the look of the theme to suit your brand, making sure the theme is compatible with a page builder. Elementor is one of my favorite page builders. It’s an easy to use WordPress plugin that helps you design pages using an easy to use, drag-and-drop interface. Yay!
LIMIT YOUR SEARCH TO RESPONSIVE THEMES
A responsive theme is optimized to work on screens of all sizes such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, and desktops. In 2020, mobile accounted for more than half of the web traffic worldwide – there is NO point purchasing a theme that is not responsive. So, just don’t. Verify the theme you’re looking at is responsive by viewing it on your smartphone and making sure you can navigate it easily.
CHECK THEME PERFORMANCE
Your theme has a huge impact on your page speed.
I recommend running a page speed test on a site Pingdom. Ideally you want a site that loads in under 4 seconds.
VERIFY PLUGIN COMPATABILITY
If themes are for designs, plugins are for functionality. Make sure that your theme has Support for popular plugins like, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, and WP Forms. You can also check to make sure it will support any other functionality you require. The key here is to know what you need before you start your search for a theme.
CONSIDER CROSS-BROWSER COMPATIBILITY
When you’re checking out the demo, make sure to test the theme yourself by viewing it on different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
MAKE SEO-FRIENDLINESS A PRIORITY
Your theme plays a big role in optimizing your site for search. The theme you pick should advertise that it’s SEO friendly AND that it is compatible with the YOAST SEO plugin.
REVIEW CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS
Most premium themes come with at least a few months of premium customer support. After this expires, you’ll have the option to renew on a monthly or annual basis. While doing your research, make you have a look at the documentation. Having very detailed documentation to reference can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to get your site up and running.
PICK A THEME THAT IS KEPT UP TO DATE
WordPress is constantly changing so you want to choose a theme with a developer that keeps it up to date. Don’t pick a theme that was hasn’t been updated in over a year.
EXPLORE RATINGS AND REVIEWS
Finally, don’t ignore what other customers have said about the theme. Look for a high number of active installations, five-star ratings, and positive reviews. There’s no hard rule here, but any theme with a download count in the hundreds and at least a handful of positive reviews is worth a try.
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