It may seem simple but the theme you choose for your website is critical. Not only is your theme the first thing that site visitors see, but it also creates the ambience your of your website. You need to select one that captures the brand of your company since this will be your online identity and that’s how customers will recognise you.
Choosing which theme to use for your WordPress website is one of the most crucial decisions you will make. In most cases, you will stick with the same template for a long time, so it is not a choice you should take lightly. You have tons of free WordPress themes, to choose from.
In this article, we’ll provide some guidelines and best-practices as it relates to the features to look for in a theme and the functions they should have before making a selection. This way you will be able to get it right from the first time.
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Things You Should Know Before Selecting a Theme
Remember your website and the theme you use in the virtual face of your company. So, it’s important to determine things like, the purpose, audience and function of your website before selecting a theme. That is because a theme is not just a style; it is your online identity. Answer these questions before you select a theme.
What Is the Purpose of My Website?
The type of business you operate and its core functions will help to dictate the WordPress theme you choose. No two themes are the same. Plus, most of the themes are designed for specific types of websites. Meaning, the functionality of certain themes work better for blogs, e-commerce sites, legal sites, etc. So knowing the purpose or goal of your site helps to narrow down and zoom in on a particular set of themes, equipped to carry out those tasks.
Who makes up My Target Audience?
Based on the purpose of your site you will be able to determine your target audience. Understanding your audience and their needs, make it easier to design a website that gets their attention. To help identify your audience, you will need to do a bit of research, which should include their interests, designs that might appeal to them and features they will expect your website to have. This way your selection will appeal to your audience.
What Functions Will My Website Need?
Each website will require different functionality. Let us say you have a blog. That means figuring out a way for visitors to find your posts, leave comments and access your social media channels. You want functions and features that make your blog theme responsive. Whereas, you are into e-commerce and have an online store, what you really want to do is beautifully display your products with clear, vibrant images. You also need brief, engaging descriptions and call to actions. So ultimately, the function of your site will help determine the theme.
How Do I Want My Site To Look Aesthetically?
The first thing you’ll notice about a theme is the way it looks and if its design reflects your idea of what you want for your own website. Naturally, you will have to customise and make changes to the theme you choose. So, it’s best to choose a theme that’s close to the vision you have in mind for your website. This will ultimately make your job easier. Be sure that the style is thematically appropriate and will grab the attention of your target audience.
What Do My Competitors’ Site Look Like?
It’s important to know what your biggest competitors are doing and what their site looks like. From the quality of their content to visitor interaction, learn it all. This will help you better understand what appeals to your target audience.
You’ll find that in many industries, websites tend to share similar styles and layouts. You will have to consider whether to give your audience the specific aesthetic they’ve grown to expect or contemplate trying something new.
What to Look for When Picking a Website Theme
Now that you have answered all those questions and you are certain of the purpose of your site, your target audience and what you want it to look like, you are ready for phase two. Now you can start scrolling through the thousands of options, knowing exactly what you are looking for. Here are some core things that make a theme stand out from others and work more efficiently. You should try as best as possible to follow these best practices.
Strive for Simplicity
WordPress has many themes with lots of complex layouts, animations and colours. Some you’ll need others will be unnecessary. Do not choose a theme that is bloated and cluttered with features. A theme with tons of beautiful features may catch your eyes but will affect your site’s performance in the end.
Simplicity is key. Choose a theme with a design layout that aligns with your goal. A beautiful theme that does not help your business or result in subscribers is not a good theme for you.
Ensure The Theme is Responsive
A site’s responsiveness refers easily your visitors are able to use your website on multiple devices. A responsive theme is compatible with all devices including your smart phones. Look out for themes with features with flexible images and fluid site grid that translate to non-desktop devices without technical issues.
The internet has opened the world up with greater possibilities to tap into international markets, which were once difficult to get into. Language no longer has to be a barrier. Many tools are available that can help you to translate your WordPress pages and create a multilingual website. However, it first has to have the capacity to do so. You should use a translation-friendly theme. Look for a theme that complements translation plugins, this way you won’t have to do so manually.
Your theme plays a vital role in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) friendliness of your site. Having a high SEO ranking is good for your website, meaning more potential customers will be able to find you. An SEO-friendly theme is more than just a beautiful one. It has to have a mix of features including support for Schema data, mobile responsiveness and reliable performance. What you want is a business or blog theme responsive on all devices.
Most persons use popular browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to surf the internet. However, there are several other browser options available that don’t all render content and images in the same way. Look for a theme that plays nicely with most browsers.
Test the Theme Thoroughly
Ensure that after you go through all the guidelines and best practices mentioned above you thoroughly test the theme before publishing. You can do so by installing a Theme Check plugin. It will check you theme to confirm if it is up to all the current WordPress standards.
Review your theme and content to ensure everything is perfect. Check for typos, misplacement of columns, check out your website on a smartphone to make sure your entire images load properly. Only after you have done all these revisions should you share your masterpiece with the world. It is a wise decision to also invest in a web hosting solution that provides staging environments. Here’s a guideline of what you should do right after posting.
We hope this article has given you an idea of the due diligence required before choosing a theme for your website. If you recently selected a free WordPress theme that best suits your organisation’s goal and need a high-quality web hosting solution, you are in the right place. At Hosting.co.uk, we provide fast and reliable WordPress hosting services. With any one of our hosting plans of either a VPS or Dedicated server, you will enjoy exceptionally fast serves and 99% uptime guaranteed.