How to choose the “perfect” theme for your WordPress site?

Actually, there is not a magical formula for finding out which is the perfect theme for your website. There are a lot of variables to consider however, despite this great variety of factors, among them are some essential elements that you can never overlook. In this article we will look briefly some of these factors; take them into account can easily reduce your search from thousands of themes available to only a few what truly are fit for what you need. Ready?

Finding the perfect theme for your WordPress site

What do you want to publish in your website?

1.- Before beginning to search a theme, think briefly what do you want to do/publish/share in your website. Do you want to write you thoughs? Do you want to publish long and deeply technical articles? Do you publish basicaly multimedia elements? Do you want to show a project? Do you want to sell?…

The word(s) that responds any of these previous questions (or similars), ie, that explains what is that you want to do in your website it should be the first word you introduce in the WordPress theme search page or directly in Google because it’s not the same to publish basically photos and galleries that to construct a webshop, for example. Of course that most of themes give support to more than one task but certainly, there are themes more skilled in certain activities than others so that it will be easer to find that you need if you search something like “photographer theme” or “medical theme” that if you search something like “awesome wordpress theme”…

Keep in mind the words that defines your site when you search the first group of themes and afterwards refine your searches adding the other words related to your website. For example,

  • Author or Multiauthor ?
  • Just one type of entries? or do you need to publish diferent classes of information?
  • or… Do you publish a very specialized kind of information like recipes, films, suggestions?
  • Will you have subscribed users?
  • Will you publish in more than one language?
  • Do you write your language right to left?

Responding this kind of questions you will have the words for constructing good searches, for example: photography multiauthor shop rtl wp theme, or wp theme for recipes multilanguage.

Is your theme responsive and supports tactile devices?

2.- Now you have already reduced your set of possible themes and probably there are some of them that look fantastic so that it’s time for the second step: to remember that nowadays people will access your website with a very so you have to check how do you see this theme in a desktop screen, in a table device and finally how does it look using a mobile phone, definitively, to check if your the theme is fully responsive and if it’s simple to use without a mouse
Think you that seated in a desk with a big screen any theme looks fantastic but not all of them look as good in smaller screens, nor they are easy to handle. Internet -now- equals to a mobile phone.

To do this, first install and active the theme that you want to test; second press the Customizer option in the Appearance menu of your admin WordPress; third, once customizer environment is loaded, at the bottom of the sidebar there are three button for changing the size of the screen. Press alternatively these three buttons and check if your theme fits in the three sizes of screen and four and last, check if the theme offers a true support for tactile devices, ie, if you are connected with a tactile device, check directly if the screen changes on moving your finger on the screen, or, if you are testing the theme in a desktop screen, then while holding down the mouse button, move it to either side of the screen and check if the theme has changed the page. Remember, on mobile devices people rarely press a button, but rather they slide their fingers on the screen so, if when you move your mouse with the button pressed (or directly your own fingers) the theme doesn’t paginate (from page one to page two, or from this post to the next/previous one…) this theme doesn’t support completely tactile devices.

Is your theme fast?

3.- Once you have already avoid all of not responsive or fake/bad responsive themes, you should also check the load time of this theme because, perhaps your chosen theme is awesome but if the load time is big or very big the SEO of your web will always be worse, you will have bandwidth issues, you need bigger web servers, etc. Well, if you plan to have 100 visitors each day, no problem, but if you want to construct a very succesfull website the load time is a very critical factor. On the other hand, a suspiciously high load time normally tend to be a sign of a bad internal architecture/design of the theme. The truly good themes, plus beautiful, load quickly.

To do this test, first install the theme that you want to test, second create a set of fake posts with photos, text, galleries, etc. and third you can (should) use a tool developed by google called PageSpeed Insights for checking the load time of your theme and see the list of errors, warnings and advices. If the results are bellow to 65 and/or the list of errors is too long, please, kill this theme.

The easiest part: the well-known checklist

4.- With these first three points, I’m sure that you list is reduced to, perhaps, 10 or 15 themes. Ok, I know, it is still not an ideal situation but you no longer have to decide among 10,000 themes. Only 10 or 15 themes… How to decide? And at this point, the best tool is applying a simple checklist

  • Is the theme often updated?
  • Is the theme compatible with last (or your) version of WordPress?
  • Is the theme translated to your language?
  • or… Is the theme fully compatible with that particular plugin that you must use?
  • Does the author of the theme respond the questions in the WordPress theme forum?
  • Have the theme got an additional support website?
  • Is it the first version of the theme?
  • and finally, Have the theme got a commercial version?

I began by saying that there is not a magical method to find the perfect WordPress theme however, I am confident that if you follow these steps, probably you progress a little slower than simply guiding by the appearance and the photos but you never have to go back when you already have your website half constructed again and again.

Have a nice WordPressing!

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