Getting a WordPress theme is a simple task to do, just use any marketplace and you will find thousands of them. But when it comes to optimization, speed and SEO not all the designs can follow the guidelines and other great options and help your site to look good, but also to be clean and loading fast.
In this post, I’ll show you the most important things to look for when choosing a professional WordPress theme. Just follow them and you will get what you’re looking for like a pro.
What every WordPress theme needs
Unlike the other platforms, WordPress uses lots of PHP and HTML requests to work. That’s what makes the server in the need for optimized settings, but also, the theme itself can impact the loading time directly and you can make things better with the right theme.
1. Theme options
To be able to change the layout or modifying everything else like colors, you need a theme that comes with a control panel. This is the case with the ThemeForest themes, they include a powerful admin page to manage everything with one click.
In other cases, the theme can be professionally created, but with few and basic options like the StudioPress themes, but they are the best in terms of coding and security. So, make sure to find options in the theme that you want to use.
2. You can change the footer links
This is not important at the beginning, but when you want to change the footer and add your website or business name, you find no options do that without wasting time with coding. Luckily the new themes let you change everything, however, some of them will not and you need to verify that option.
In the case of Genesis themes, there is a plugin called Genesis simple edits that let you change the footer links easily if you can find a way to do that.
3. Responsive designs
This simple option can boost your ranking and helps in getting better results. But if you can spend money for a custom mobile theme, then forget this option. In the standard case where you need a theme that adjust itself automatically across all devices. Then, you should look for a responsive WordPress theme. It looks good for desktops, mobile phone and also tablets.
4. Widgets ready
The last thing you need is a theme without widgets, they are one of the main elements for every WordPress theme. In these widgets, you can add ads or other things in the sidebar and everywhere else as possible.
Of course, the modern designs support widgets, but in other cases, you will find themes without them. So, make sure to find ready widgets in your theme.
5. Optimized for speed
6. Optimized for SEO
Please don’t think about meta descriptions, keywords and post title in this step, simply because, you can use any SEO plugin to optimize your posts. However, the theme needs to be applying the SEO practices, like the headings from H1 to H6 and other things like.
Make sure that your theme is HTML5 and using CSS3 stylesheet. You don’t need an outdated language and styling options in your site.
7. Clean code
Basically, the fully optimized themes should be without errors, but that cost thousands of dollars. However, the majority of themes comes with a few errors and that’s normal and you shouldn’t worry about that.
Google and the other search engine won’t hurt your ranking if your theme has a few errors. But when you notice thousands of them, then, that’s what causes problems. You cannot get a 100% clean them with zero errors without spending a small fortune, but, avoid themes with lots of these errors.
8. The web browser compatibility
No one wants to browse a website that includes missed style options that make pages broken. The designer must test his theme on the popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer and Safari. You can see these browser icons in the theme page before buying it.
The best things that you can do is to test the theme using the demo version. Of course, you should test the theme templates and options before getting it. But you need to test it using your browsers and find if there is something that looks broken. Then read the documentation.
9. The documentation and the Support
When you need to change something or adding a new function, you should be able to access the documentation and find tutorial and explanation about everything. The great themes come with useful tips and lots of detailed explanations with screenshots and examples. So, people can see how to apply changes or do anything in their themes.
Also, the theme seller should offer support, the minimum thing that’s required is a forum, but professional companies offer live chat, phone number and tickets for their support department. Just ask yourself how you can get help when you need it.
10. Theme Updates
What will happen if your theme become outdated in the next months? At least a few functions will be broken in this fast growing world. Every theme should be updated automatically if possible, or notify you about a new version that you can install and replace the old one.
Lots of theme designers add more security updates and other settings that make the theme better and that’s why you need updates.
These are the most important points to check when picking a new theme for WordPress websites. Have something to add?