How to Choose a WordPress Theme for Your Personal Academic Website?

Are you looking for a simple yet effective way to showcase your research work to the world? Do you need a quick and easy way to get your message out there? If so, you might want to check out WordPress.

While it’s true that WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) that can be used to create pretty much any kind of website or blog that you may want to, it does have its limitations. For example, the CMS is pretty limited when it comes to the visual themeing that can be achieved through its free and open-source version, That being said, there are ways in which you can utilize the power of WordPress to produce a brilliant looking personal academic website in no time at all.

What Is a Theme, Anyway?

If you are new to WordPress, it’s likely that your first thought when considering a theme for your site is to wonder what a theme is and how it works. The short answer to this question is that a theme is simply the styling or the look and feel of your site. When choosing a WordPress theme for your website, you are essentially choosing which style of website you want to produce.

Although there are hundreds of WordPress themes available, not all of them are created equal. Some themes are simply designed with no knowledge of web standards in mind and may not respond well to being displayed on larger screens or printed out. Others are extremely optimized for search engines and may not look the same as you remember from playing around with the idea of a blog or website in the first place.

When choosing a wordpress theme, it is important to keep your users in mind. Are they tech-savvy people that are used to interacting with technology such as tablets and smartphones? Or are they more of the traditional kind that like to interact with content through a keyboard and display screen?

Why Should I Choose a Theme That Is Mobile-Friendly?

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are already aware of the power of mobile devices to influence consumer behavior. According to HubSpot Blogs’ 2017 research, 82% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product. If your target audience is the mobile public, you might want to consider a theme that is optimized for the small screen.

Even if you do not sell products online, having a mobile-friendly website is still important. In his 2017 State of Digital Marketing report, Michael Galpert, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, revealed that 35% of consumers visit a site regularly just to look at the design. If a website is not mobile-friendly, users may experience decreased engagement and drop off in traffic. This can have serious ramifications for a business Website.

Additionally, 44% of consumers prefer to read reviews when browsing for products or services online. If your aim is to increase traffic and engagement, you might want to consider a theme that is optimized for mobile readership.

Is SEO Important For My Website?

According to HubSpot Blogs’ 2017 research, SEO is now more important to businesses than ever before. In the past, SEO was considered a separate marketing effort that was managed independently from PPC and content marketing. However, businesses of all sizes and shapes are realizing the importance of SEO as a strategic marketing tool.

If you are interested in boosting your website’s online presence, you might want to consider investing in a theme that is SEO-optimized. In general, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making a website more “visible” to search engine spiders (also known as crawlers). The main goal of SEO is to increase the number of visitors to a website who arrive through organic search results on search engines like Google.

Does My Website Need To Be Responsive?

Although you may want to choose a theme that is mobile-friendly, responsive web design (RWD) is more important. As the name suggests, a responsive website will automatically adjust the content and layout of the site depending on the device it is being viewed on. If you decide to go with a RWD theme, you will need to make sure that your web host is able to handle extreme fluctuations in traffic.

This aspect can be particularly challenging if you are a smaller business that does not have the resources to constantly upgrade their infrastructure. When it comes to choosing a wordpress theme, it is important to consider whether or not your website will be responsive.

Should I Look For A Free Or Open Source Theme Or An Expensive Purchased One?

Although there are situations where you may want to go with the cheaper and more widely available option, you usually do not want to skimp out when it comes to the web design of your website. A premium theme will usually offer more than enough features that you may need for a personal academic website. This is not to say that you have to spend a fortune; you can get a decent theme for a reasonable price. When comparing prices, make sure to compare the license keys as well as the initial cost of the theme – you will often find that some premium themes have very lengthy license keys while other free themes are completely open source and have no set price tag at all.

The advantage of a premium theme is that it tends to offer a better design than most free themes as well as additional features that can be very helpful when doing web design for the first time or if you are experienced and want to upgrade your blog’s design.

On the other hand, many free themes come with a design that is suitable for the needs of most personal academic websites. In some instances, you may have to pay a bit for the design itself but the cost is usually negligible in comparison to the price of a premium theme when it comes to additional features such as SEO optimization.

How Can I Get The Most Out Of My Theme?

Once you have picked out the theme that you like best, it is time to move on to the next step. This step is extremely important as you will need to configure the theme to meet your needs. You have two options here: manually or with a bit of help from the web designer of your choice. Let’s take a look at each one.

Manual Configuration

If you are technically inclined, you may want to consider doing this part of the process yourself. After all, not all web designers are created equal and some may be better at giving specific instructions than others.

To get started, log in to your WordPress dashboard and click on the Tools button in the main menu. From here, you can click on the Theme Options link to get to the theme’s settings.

Here are the steps:

  • Click on the customize button to open up the theme options.
  • Go to the Design tab and make any necessary adjustments to the theme’s look and feel.
  • Under the Hood
    • The WordPress Template System allows you to choose from a variety of pre-made designs that you can modify to suit your needs. Changing a few things will make a massive difference; you can end up with a completely different look and feel for your blog or website depending on what you choose.
    • The Settings tab provides you with various tools that can help you manage your blog or website. For example, you can choose to show posts at the top of the page initially, display the most recent posts, etc.
    • If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for all your web design needs, this is the place to be. Simply create a blog entry and click on the Preview button to instantly see how your site or blog will look. If you are happy with the result, hit the Install button and your site will be ready to go live in a matter of minutes. If you decide to switch to a different theme (or if the theme does not work for you), all you have to do is delete the site and start over again.

    Help From An Expert

    If you are not the technical type and do not want to handle any aspect of the web design process yourself, you may want to consider hiring a designer to help you out. There are skilled web designers who can take your ideas and turn them into a reality. All you need to do is sit back and relax while they do all the hard work for you.

    To get started, post a request for a free quote on social media or get in touch with the company directly.