How do you know if a WordPress theme is the right one to use? What are the features or characteristics that should be taken into account when scrutinizing options for a WordPress theme? Are there specific elements that should be included? Should you take into account visitor expectations as you go over your options? The answers to these questions can be summed up with the following brief discussions of different WordPress theme attributes you should consider.
Web hosting, Speed, and Performance
A WordPress theme has to ensure quick page loading. While a theme is not entirely responsible for page loading time, it plays a significant role in how fast or slows a page load. You need to make sure that the theme you choose is clean and well optimized, some optimizing may be done on the vendor level, as WordPress hosting solutions offer optimized hand-picked plugins – so it is also important to check also what you get right “out of the box”.
Be sure to test your setup before paying for it or, if it’s free, be sure to carefully evaluate its speed and performance.
In relation to speed and performance, it’s also important to have a theme that is SEO-friendly. Yes, SEO is mostly about keyword targeting and good content but the blog theme used also matters. The theme should be well coded to make it easy for web crawlers to go over it. It’s advisable to run a test with W3C Markup Validation service to be guided while going over various themes to choose from. Just be aware that not all of the warnings generated by the markup validation service are critical. If you pay attention to every warning, you may never find a good WordPress them to get.
Of course, the ability to customize your theme is also important. This does not mean, though, that it has to be customizable in all aspects—that would be ideal but impractical and remotely possible. Customizability here refers to the ability to make just the right amount of changes to create a distinctive look and add elements that enhance the user experience. It doesn’t have to mean the ability to alter the layout and the way the different parts of the theme work. The goal of customization is simply to make the blog look different from others that use the same theme. It doesn’t have to mean excessive customization that may even result in problems in the theme, particularly in how the highly customized theme is rendered in different web browsers, in different screen resolutions.
The number of mobile internet users has already surpassed the number of desktop users so it only makes sense making sure that your blog theme is going to be compatible with mobile devices. Generally, the recommended solution for this is adopting a blog them that employs responsive web design, a design that automatically adjusts the layout and amount of content shown according to the display size of the device being used to access the blog. A responsive web design makes it unnecessary to maintain a separate mobile version of a blog. Having a separate mobile version is not necessarily bad but it requires more effort for the development and maintenance.
Another important factor to consider is the compatibility of the theme with all the popular web browsers. Not everyone who may access your blog uses the same web browser and browsers have differences in how they render different websites or blogs. Some themes appear bigger, wider, smaller, or have their elements rearranged when viewed in certain browsers. You need to make sure that the theme you use is cross-compatible. If there are differences in the rendering, which may be inevitable, they should not be too conspicuous. Your blog should look and behave roughly the same in all of the following popular web browsers (both the desktop and mobile versions): Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari. Many Android device users also tend to use UC Browser so you may also want to make sure that your blog is displayed properly in it. To test for browser compatibility, you can use a WordPress compatibility plugin.
Distinctive But Intuitive Appearance
This is related to customizability but it might be necessary to give it, its own listing for the sake of emphasis. It’s important to bear in mind that choosing a theme is also largely about creating a certain look and appeal. That’s why in choosing a theme you need to make sure that you have something that can be distinguished from others. You need something that can properly carry out the branding you want. In aiming for distinctiveness, though, you should also take into account the intuitiveness of the theme. It should look distinct but feel familiar. Your blog visitors should easily figure out how the different parts work or where to click to go to where they want to go. Being distinctive does not mean being unfamiliar, complex, or complicated. It’s equally important to make sure that your blog makes it easy for readers to find their way around. The navigation buttons or links should be clearly laid out while the ad placements should not be disruptive, distracting, or confusing.