Picking a WordPress theme can be a daunting task especially when deciding on the WordPress theme design. There are several hundreds of them available with all sorts of different features packed in them. There are numerous factors to consider when picking one, you need to make sure the theme is mobile responsive, the design should be consistent with your branding strategy, it should be a well-coded theme that loads fast, etc. To help you decide which ones you should choose we have put together the most important factors that you need to consider when choosing a WordPress theme. By the end of this guide, you will have the confidence to choose a WordPress theme on your own and we will also review a few popular themes, both free and paid ones.
Keep the goal of your website in mind
Choosing a WordPress theme design will depend heavily on the goal of your website. Are you building a blog or a small business website? If it’s a blog is it a travel blog or a news blog? Narrow down the goal of your website. If it’s an eCommerce website, then it is advisable to get an eCommerce theme. A theme built for a blog won’t be suitable.
Once you have identified the goal of your website you can easily filter out themes that don’t suit the purpose of your website.
Keep the speed in mind for the WordPress theme design
Website speed is now a major ranking factor considered by search engines when ranking websites in search results. A slow website can also have detrimental effects on the user experience of your website. It is therefore important to consider a theme that is well coded and loads fast. If you are considering a free WordPress theme you can install it and use a tool such as GTMetrix or Pingdom to test out the speed. If you are considering a paid theme you will have to rely on the demo provided by the developers to do a speed test. This might not be ideal as the hosting environment for the demo and your live website will be different. However, this will give you a decent idea of the speed of the theme. If it’s slow on the demo website it will probably be slow on your server as well.
Keep the price in mind
Free WordPress themes are great for getting started. They suffice for basic websites, however, there are several risks involved with using free themes. Often, the code is not well written, some free themes are not regularly updated and lack support. Some have expensive paid support, which means they may sometimes end up being more expensive than premium themes. Most premium themes will have free support for some time.
Premium themes, on the other hand, have better designs and extensive features. They tend to be bundled with premium plugins as well which saves costs.
Make sure you download free themes from the WordPress repository. Premium themes should also only be downloaded from the author’s sales page.
Keep the color in mind
The colors of your website should be consistent with your brand. Try to choose a theme that has colors that match your logo. While theme colors can easily be changed through custom CSS, it may save you time if you choose a theme that is already using colors that are consistent with your overall branding strategy.
Choosing between a dark theme and a light theme can be complicated. Light colors are easy on the eye. Dark themes can make your website stand out, but you tend to trade off readability.
Keep SEO in mind when reviewing WordPress theme design
Organic traffic is of high quality and free. It’s better than paid traffic as the users who find you through a search engine are already interested in your products. The WordPress theme design that you choose should be SEO friendly, it should be responsive as search engines take mobile responsiveness into consideration. The pages generated by the theme should have meta tags, these are important for SEO. The HTML structure of the pages is also important. There should only be one h1 tag, the sidebar widgets should not use the h1 tag for titles. This happens way too often with WordPress themes. An h1 tag on a logo is also a basic mistake and should be avoided.
Now that you know how to choose a WordPress theme. Here are a few great WordPress themes to get you started on your website.
Zigcy lite is a free WordPress eCommerce theme. It stands out for a few reasons. The theme has a stunning modern design, it’s fast, well-optimized and user-friendly. It has 3 demos that you can import to give yourself a head start when designing a WooCommerce store. If you are looking to build a fashion store, a furniture store or an electronics store, then this theme is highly suitable. Any other kind of store can also be built using this theme. The homepage of the theme is highly configurable, there are four different page and post layouts to choose from. The theme is SEO optimized and lightweight.
Hueman is one of the top-rated free WordPress theme designs in the WordPress repository. The theme is fully responsive and suitable for blogs and magazines. The theme supports header and footer widgets. It offers unlimited accent colors which make it easy to align the colors to your overall brand. There are ten post formats and threaded comments help you interact easily with your readers. Social media integration is also taken care of by this theme.
Divi is one of the best multi-purpose WordPress theme designs. It’s a paid theme and costs $89 / year or $249 for a lifetime license. There are a number of other themes that are also bundled in this price. You can use Divi to build any kind of website with WordPress.
The theme features the Divi builder which is a WYSIWYG page builder. The learning curve is not steep, and you can use it to create stunning custom layouts for your pages and posts. The Divi builder uses rows and columns to arrange content. The rows and columns can be populated with several modules (images, headings, buttons, galleries, slideshows, pricing tables, testimonials, etc) that are available with the Divi builder.
There are several pre-built pages and layouts available for importing to your website. This gives you a solid foundation for creating stunning WordPress pages. Importing and exporting layouts and pages is making the theme grow in popularity with web designers as they can easily import pre-saved layouts into new projects.
The theme is regularly updated and has splendid support.
The7 theme claims to be the most customizable theme on the market and it does live up to that claim. The theme has 168,000+ sales as at the time of writing this. It’s one of the most popular themes on Themeforest.
It’s also a premium multi-purpose theme that costs $39 for a single site license. There are 40+ demo websites that you can import. There are demos for bloggers, photographers, consulting services, e-commerce, and many others. It comes bundled with 6 premium plugins, deep integration with WooCommerce, 1000+ theme options making it highly customizable and stellar support.
The theme uses the WP Bakery Visual Composer as its primary page builder. It also has support for the Gutenberg editor and supports all the default Gutenberg blocks. Visual composer is also a WYSIWYG page builder and easier to learn than the Divi page builder. It also uses rows and columns to arrange content and has visual composer modules for content. Ultimate addons for visual composer are also bundled with the theme.
There are many other factors to consider when choosing a WordPress theme design. We have covered the most important ones that will give you confidence when choosing a WordPress theme. We have also given examples of a few brilliant WordPress themes. Most free themes will be for a single purpose and often premium themes are multi-purpose, meaning you can use them for creating any type of website.
If you’re still uncertain about spending the time and creating your website take a look at the services we offer here. The Busy Bee Consulting offers beautiful curated websites designed just for you!