How to Choose the Right WordPress Website Theme?
WordPress is arguably the most popular CMS (content management system) used to build websites today. It’s easy to use, free, and a multiplatform so it can be used to build websites for any kind of device (phone, tablet or computer). When it comes to building a website, you have many options and variations of themes to choose from. Understanding the differences in these themes can help you make the right decision for your WordPress website.
Free Vs Premium Themes
A free theme is one that can be downloaded directly from the WordPress theme repository and then activated on your website. Typically, free themes are designed to work on a wide array of devices (mobile, tablet and laptop) and browsers so they can be used for a variety of purposes. They might not look professional or like they were designed by an agency but for a professional looking site with a functional audience, a free theme could be a good choice.
A premium theme is one that is designed to look as good as possible on any device (mobile, tablet and computer). They are typically sold as premium content to be displayed on a website. Such as YouTube videos, or Spotify playlists. They are usually built with a range of features that boost functional performance across a variety of devices. Some premium themes also have a focus on SEO and mobile optimization in mind so they can be easily tracked and ranked on search engines.
Now, it’s not always clear cut as to what is a free and what is a premium WordPress theme. Some themes are sold as a package including a free license to be used on your personal blog while others are sold with a paid license that requires you to purchase additional features that range from simple blog navigation to complex membership/login features.
A responsive theme is one that automatically adapts to the size of the screen it is displayed on. This is extremely important to consider when developing a website as you don’t want to force your readers to zoom in or out on their device to get the full experience of reading your content. Responsive themes will automatically adjust the text size, images, and layout of a website so it looks the same on any device.
This is a good option for any type of site whether it is a blog, or a portfolio site where you are displaying items such as; products, awards, events, and blog posts. If you are building a commercial site that’s focused on product sales, then you might want to consider a premium theme that has a focus on eCommerce stores.
When developing a website for an existing business or brand, you might want to go for a fully customizable theme. This is a good option if you have a clear idea of exactly how you want the site to look. Typically, fully customizable themes provide you with an array of options that can be configured via a simple to follow GUI (Graphical User Interface). This way, you can ensure the site looks consistent across all devices.
However, if you’re looking for a free theme, fully customizing one might prove somewhat difficult. Many themes offer limited customization via a control panel or customer support but if you want an exact replica of your existing website’s design, you might have to pay for premium services.
Cross Browser Compatibility
Any theme you choose needs to work across all major browsers. Fortunately, most themes offer cross browser compatibility so if you’re looking for something that looks the same in all major browsers, you should have no problem there. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that looks perfect in one browser and then suddenly looks bad in another, you might have to look for a different theme.
When making your decision, it’s important to consider relevant resources beyond just the theme itself. For example, you might want to research the reputation of the company that created the theme, how active is the community around it, are there any known glitches, and what type of support do they offer?
If you’re planning on utilizing the theme for something more than just a personal blog or website, then you might want to do some research into whether or not it is secure to use. Even if you don’t intend on selling anything on your site, it’s still important to consider the security of any online transactions that occur while using a theme.
Last but not least, we want to point out that not all free themes are created equal. As we’ve discussed above, there are many different types of themes that can be downloaded from the WordPress theme repository. Some are simply designed to work for personal use while others are focused on professional use (for example, corporate blogs and websites). Make sure you are aware of what you are downloading before doing so as there are many scammers out there who will try to trick you into purchasing a theme they claim is the best for you even if it’s not. Always make sure that the theme you’re interested in downloading is from a trusted source and has a good reputation.