When you’re a small business owner, blogger, or ambitious DIYer without the funds to hire a web designer, it’s hard to know what to look for in WordPress theme before you purchase it. I hear you, and feel you, as there’s a lot of information to tackle. Hopefully this mini checklist will help you understand your options before you purchase your brand new theme.
- Responsive Theme: When looking for your new theme, the first and most important thing you should look for is that it is mobile responsive, meaning that the display will scale down and alter as the screen size changes. With 80% of internet users having a smartphone, it is more important than ever to have a mobile responsive site.[i] 61% of users who have trouble viewing a website on their smartphone will leave the site and 40% say they’ll choose a competitor instead.[ii] In summation, mobile matters.
- Integration with Other WordPress Assets: When picking a WordPress theme, you want think about your potential future growth. Just because you don’t need a shop NOW, doesn’t mean you won’t need one in a year, in two years or in five years. Think about compatibility with WooCommerce, if you want a shop. Think about compatibility with an email marketing platform (MailChimp, Constant Contact, Mailerlite) if you’d like to have a popup, sidebar or other connection. While most WordPress themes will be able to do this with a plugin, some will only allow for it to be coded. The important thing to look for is compatibility with the assets you already have or have your heart set on having.
- Theme Customization: Make sure you demo your theme before you buy it. If you buy from somewhere like Envato or Creative Market, there will be a “Demo” button that will allow you to look at customization options. If you do not know how to code, look for something called “Shortcodes”. Shortcodes allow you to format the page into columns, put in buttons, put in image galleries, etc. very easily. Within theme customization, you should also look to see if you have the size of header, colors of the text, buttons, links, background, and more. Make sure that you can envision your styling touch on this theme.
- Instruction Guide and Support: Make sure the theme comes with an instruction guide on how to use it, especially if you’re not familiar with WordPress. This will make it easier to learn how to customize your theme. Also make sure that your theme comes with a support email, forum, or phone number in case you get stumped.
These are the most important factors to look for when purchasing a theme. However, there are so many more things to pay attention to. When buying a theme, make sure to look at the reviews, the documentation, the compatible browsers, and more. These will give you insight into the pros and cons of each theme.
If you ever have any questions about what the best theme is for your needs, contact a web designer or developer and ask for some guidance, as they will be able to give you more personalized advice.