Choosing a theme for your WordPress blog seems overwhelming, especially for the newcomers. You have got a plethora of options – free and paid. You can go for any of them depending upon your financial sources. Having lot of choices is not good, though.
Choices put us in a dilemma and finally leave us with a big question mark. Choices bring a lot of confusion. And to a dilettante, each WordPress theme appears better than the other one. And finally, after analyzing hundreds of them, you land up with nothing decided, in most of the cases.
In this article, we will help you out and tell you a few basic things to keep in mind while selecting a free WordPress theme. First of all, you must be aware of the fact that the WordPress CMS creates all types of websites. Each requirement has got different sets of the theme which fulfill the features required for that particular site.
Check Key Theme Information on WordPress.org
While downloading any free theme on WordPress.org you will find some important information about the theme that you cannot find anywhere else. The information they provide is credible and will surely help you to make a better choice. You need to know the following things about that particular theme.
- Last updated Date – Obviously most of us would prefer the latest theme as it would be more stylish. However, there are others who would not prefer the most recent and would go for the ones with more and better reviews
- Downloads – The number of downloads a WordPress theme has denotes its quality. More the number of downloads, the better the theme is.
- Ratings – Star ratings determine how purposeful a theme is for the general audience. But do not trust them blindly. Always hover over the bar to check the number of users who have reviewed the theme. Quite obvious, just one or two users cannot define the performance of a theme.
- Support – The ratio of resolved/unresolved support threads indicates a lot about developer’s willingness to help you solve resolve the issues. A quality free theme support is a pretty rare commodity. So, if you find a well-supported free theme, then obviously, the theme ultimately gains more points against others. And believe us, nothing could be better than getting a technical support for a free theme. Every time, you face some issue; you have these guys who would give expert advice and solve the issue.
Make sure you choose a theme which is not very complex. We may love a site full of bright colors, style icons and with over complicated style. But at the end of the day, we must think like an ordinary user who wants to create a blog/website which is fast and reliable site. The site should be attractive, but it has to be usable and simple. It should be easy for users to get the desired information. Only then the theme would help you increase the traffic on your site.
WordPress has got plenty of tools and plug-ins. Make sure that the theme you have chosen, can support all the plug-ins you will want to have on your website. Again, your purpose of creating a website should be attained.
Checking for Responsive Design
You must ensure that the theme you pick is responsive. This is the basic thing that you must check about your theme. For example, if your theme is not mobile friendly, then it will surely cause inconvenience to a lot of people and hence will restrict your audience size.
Checking responsive design on your laptop or Mac is no big deal. Just open your browser (preferably Google Chrome), and activate the responsive views option from right-clicking on the browser and then selecting the option ‘Inspect Element.' Then on the mobile icon on the pop-up bar and check the site’s view for various resolutions and sizes. Do not forget; you do not want to limit the size of your audience anyhow.
Speed optimized theme
A lot of tools are available online that help you check the speed of your site. If you already have a site and want to clone or take it down due to some or the other issue, we will suggest you start with a theme that is speed optimized. You can choose tools like PageSpeed Insights to determine a theme’s speed.
You can compare two or more themes you have shortlisted and then select the theme which takes minimum time to load. Once your site passes the speed test, you can go forward and judge it under other criterions.
Do not underestimate this feature for your chosen theme. Speed optimization is the must. No one would like to visit a site which takes too long to open. Further, it’s all in the hands of a programmer to control the speed of the site. You can clearly get better options.
After considering all of the factors, you can shortlist a theme. But make sure that the theme is safe to use. WordPress.org is a safe platform and all the themes available there are trustworthy. But still, there is no harm in taking precautions and checking the theme for integrity. Sucuri a web plugin that helps you to check whether the theme is safe or not.
This plugin is best to check the integrity of a theme on wordpress.org. However, it is paid. You can even catch other free plugins available online and rely on them.
So, these were the basic tips one must consider before choosing a free theme on WordPress. As mentioned before, always consider your needs, what kind of site you want, for what purpose you are creating your website. Believe us, it demands efforts but choosing the right theme for yourself is not that difficult. Need more help? Feel free to share your doubts and problems in the comment section.