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Here at Bloguettes, we know all about WordPress themes and how hard it can be to decide on one for your site! With thousands of options out there, you might feel a bit overwhelmed! However, we’re here to help! We’ve narrowed it down to a list of some of the most important things to consider when choosing a theme, so your decision-making process can be stress-free!
So why is it important to be picky when choosing your WordPress theme? Well, WordPress is used to create all kinds of different sites, and different themes are designed to serve unique purposes. For this reason, it’s so important to know what purpose you want your theme to serve, and to choose one that complements the type of content you create! Plus, the theme you choose plays a big role in how your site is perceived by others. Oftentimes, it influences whether or not viewers who land on your site stay!
Before we jump into everything, though, it’s important to note that in this post, we’re talking about self-hosted WordPress.org themes exclusively, not WordPress.com themes (to learn the difference between the two, click here). If you’re site was build on WordPress.com, head over to the WordPress.com theme directory and marketplace to learn more information and pick your theme.
Now, let’s talk about some things to consider when picking a theme for your WordPress.org site!
P.S.- Be sure to read until the end, because we have a special announcement!
Sometimes less is more, and this is definitely true when looking for a WordPress theme! Many themes on the market come with a lot of bells and whistles, but don’t let this overwhelm you. You might not need all of this!
In your search, focus on looking for the features that you already know you need. For example, you may know you need an easy-to-navigate search bar and the ability to embed your Instagram feed in your footer (to learn how to do this, click here!). However, if you’re not selling products on your site, you most likely won’t need elaborate shopping features.
When landing on your site, you want your visitors to know exactly what it is you do! If your theme’s layout is overly complicated and has too much going on, it can send mixed messages to your audience, which is what you don’t want! Plus, it’s also important to note that elaborate themes can actually slow down the speed of your site. So, aim to look for a theme that has what you need without all of the extra fluff.
What’s a responsive theme? Well, to put it simply, responsive themes adapt and adjust their layout based on the screen size of the device you’re accessing it from (i.e. desktop, tablet, or mobile). So why is this important? 25% of global web searches are conducted on mobile devices, so if you’re site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll automatically miss out on this potential traffic! Plus, Google displays mobile-friendly sites first in search results, so if you’re looking for organic traffic (find out why you should be here), you’ll definitely want to make sure your WordPress theme is responsive.
Most WordPress themes on the market are created to be responsive, however, there are still some out there that aren’t! So, before purchasing and installing a theme, double check to make sure it’s compatible on different types of devices. Also, make sure that you like the way the site looks on different devices! There’s no need to compromise here.
Quick tip– If you’re curious about a theme but don’t know if it’s responsive, simply copy and paste the theme’s demo link in Google’s mobile-friendly test. This will tell you whether or not it’s mobile-friendly!
Similar to responsiveness, it’s also crucial to make sure your theme is compatible on different types of browsers. While a theme might look crystal clear on Safari, it might not look so hot on Firefox. So, we recommend running a test to check the theme on commonly used browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.).
Again, most themes are designed to be compatible on different browsers, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you’re a WordPress user, think of plugins as your digital BFF! Plugins are essentially a piece of software with a group of functions that can be added to your site. They make it easy for users to add extra features to their website without knowing web coding (phew!). So, it’s so important to make sure your theme of choice is compatible with plugins.
Here are some of our fave plugins, and why!
Yoast- The Yoast plugin is essential if you want your content to be found by Google (organically)! If you have this plugin downloaded, it will give you a preview of what your post will look like in Google search results, and it will analyze your content and give suggestions for ways to improve your SEO.
Jetpack- With this plugin, you can install over two dozen popular plugins with one click, engage with millions of WordPress.com users, receive updates, enhancements, and troubleshooting from WordPress.com, and boost your site’s overall performance. What’s not to love?
Related Posts– When someone lands on your site, you want them to stay as long as possible, right? That’s where the Related Posts plugin comes in. By downloading it, you can populate related posts to the footer of your content, which can increase your internal traffic by up to 10%!
Gravity- The Gravity Plugin, or Gravity Forms, is the easiest tool to create advanced forms for your WordPress powered website. It integrates with WordPress with ease and can be used for contact forms, WordPress post creation, calculators, employment applications and more.
Newsletter Popup– Wanna keep your readers in the loop? Use this plugin to create lightbox popups to increase your newsletter subscribers, promote new products, show special offers or even videos to your website visitors. Handy, we know.
Pinterest “Pin it” Button– With this plugin, you can add a “pin it” button to your posts in a breeze. No need to copy and paste the code throughout your site any longer! Find out exactly how to install the “pin it” button here.
Instagram Feed– Use this plugin to display photos from any non-private Insta account right on your site! Then, watch the follows roll in.
If you want to learn about all of the plugins out there, head over to the WordPress plugin directory.
Quick Tip– Wondering what the difference between a plugin and a widget is? Find out here.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays such a big role in the blogging world. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, it’s simply the process of gaining traffic from organic search results on search engines. To learn all about the benefits of having great SEO, click here.
So what does SEO have to do with picking a WordPress theme? Well, your theme impacts the searchability of your site. Even if a theme looks great, it can still have poorly coded HTML, which can negatively impact your site’s performance. For this reason, it’s so important to choose a theme with pages that are optimized for SEO!
So how can you tell if a theme is SEO-friendly? If it’s not clearly stated in its description (or even if it is), you can double check with the W3C Markup Validation Service.
Even if you’ve educated yourself on all there is to know about WordPress themes, it’s likely you’ll still have some questions along the way. So, when browsing for themes, consider the support that comes with them! Is there someone you can contact if something goes wrong, you get stuck in the download process, or have a general question about the theme’s features and capabilities?
Great themes will provide you with either a phone number or email address to use when you need help, so consider this while on your theme-hunt.
What Are Other People Saying?
Last but not least, ratings and reviews are always a great place to look before taking that final step and purchasing a theme. Just like with any reviews, take them with a grain of salt, but if a theme has 4 or 5 stars and raving reviews, it might give you the confirmation you need. Who knows, you might even learn a helpful WordPress trick or two when browsing reviews!
Before You Go…
Now, before we go, we have an exciting announcement. Bloguettes just created its own WordPress theme–The Lena theme! You can find it here. Our theme is minimal, user-friendly, neutral, easily customizable, and designed with the blogger and creative entrepreneur in mind.
Lena features a beautiful full-width image slider, custom details, several flexible homepage widget areas, customizable colors, responsive design, and so much more. We are sure your audiences will be impressed with Lena’s elegant, clean layout & distinctive typography. No matter your blogging niche, Lena’s features are a perfect fit!
What are some of the features you look for in WordPress themes? We’d love to hear in the comments below, and of course, let us know what you think of the Lena theme!