If you are building a WordPress business website, you have around 31,010 free and premium themes to choose from and install. Unfortunately, the availability of thousands of these WP products can complicate the selection process.
The best WordPress theme for your website is not the most expensive with sophisticated features. Some themes look extremely impressive but can make your site load slowly. The type of business also matters. For example, a real estate agent and food blog website will require different themes.
You will need to evaluate several factors to make more informed decisions. And in line with that, here is how to choose the right WordPress theme for your business website.
Here is what to keep in mind when selecting an appropriate WordPress theme:
1. Look and feel
Check out the business websites within your niche to draw inspiration about the look and feel of your ideal theme. You might come across multi-colored styles featuring complex layouts and many more effects. It is best to prioritize simplicity in your design.
A theme style with too many features you may not necessarily need can make your site appear overly complicated.
Simple theme designs are easy for users to navigate and find the relevant information quickly. A minimalistic style can encourage your visitors to explore and engage more with the content on your site.
2. Responsive theme
You want to ensure that the type of device used is not a limiting factor when a user is accessing your website. Initially, the webmasters focused mainly on laptop and desktop users.
Things have changed, and every website owner needs to make their site easily accessible on mobile devices. You probably know about this, as Google started favoring mobile-friendly sites in 2019.
The best way to achieve this is with a responsive design. Responsive themes eliminate the need to maintain multiple sites and content, catering to different device users. The theme automatically fits all screens, retaining all the features and functions.
Please note that some themes are technically responsive, but they may not essentially deliver quality responsive pages. We recommend testing out this functionality with the demo version of the theme.
3. Room for modification
The goals and vision are unique to your organization. The right theme should reflect your brand. However, you probably won’t find a WordPress theme with an exact layout to align with your business ideas. This is where customization comes in. The customization levels vary from one WP theme to another.
Some highly limit the modifications you can make. Others will affect your site loading speed. The perfect theme allows you to customize all the aspects that support your goals.
Take advantage of the customizer demo to test if the theme lets you add or rearrange elements to achieve the brand look you want. Of course, it should enable this function without touching the PHP.
Before you install a WordPress theme, even if it is the free version, make an effort to scour the internet for customer reviews. We cannot emphasize this enough. Through reviews, customers get to share what they like or the issues they experienced while using the theme.
Even though a theme cannot meet 100% the expectations of all website owners, having too many negative reviews is a red flag. Also, check out the number of copies sold vs. active installations.
If not many customers still use it, something could be wrong with the theme. It is frustrating to end up stuck with a low-quality or out-of-date WP theme that affects user experience or makes your site vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The more the reviews, the more you will learn about the theme. Of course, you will come across themes with zero reviews. Some could turn out to be the best-selling in the industry.
Even the most sought-after WP themes today didn’t suddenly get reviews. However, downloading a theme nobody has used before is taking too much risk. You don’t know what to expect.
5. SEO-friendly theme
You cannot ignore SEO. Your competitors have probably embraced it. If you want to be at the same level or outshine them in business, SEO should be at the top of your list.
Several things can affect how well a WordPress business site becomes optimized for search engines. One of them is the theme because it makes up pages that web crawlers or spider bots crawl through.
You can choose a visually impressive theme, but with poor coding. Your site rankings will undoubtedly drop.
Developers understand not everyone building a website has the coding skills to analyze the theme’s source code. If you fall into this category, look for theme descriptions with SEO-optimized or similar phrases.
But don’t stop there. Test the theme SEO-friendliness. You can use tools like W3C Markup Validator. Copy and paste the demo URL into the tool to see the coding quality of the theme.
6. Compatibility with plugins
Your WordPress business website will need to integrate plugins to perform specific functions. You will want a theme that supports all the plugins your site requires. For example, you may need plugins for contact forms, lead generation, caching, list building, social sharing, security, and advanced SEO.
With top-rated themes in your niche, you probably won’t have to worry about plugin compatibility, as they usually cover most or all WP plugins. Whether you’re purchasing a well or lesser-known theme, check the description to see if you’ll be allowed to add the must-have plugins.
7. Frequent updates
You probably realize WordPress automatically checks for updates on the WP core. The process can introduce new features, fix bugs, security patches, and more.
To maintain top-level performance and reduce the vulnerability of your website, your choice of WordPress theme will need updating in line with the WordPress core updates.
Check out the last time the developer updated that product. You will find this in the theme description. If an update reads within less than six months, that’s a good sign that the developer updates their theme regularly.
The rule of thumb is to avoid WP themes that have not been updated within the past two years.
8. Compatibility with browsers
Google Chrome is the leading browser worldwide, boasting a 65.11% market share. As you can see, not everyone prefers Chrome when accessing information online.
Given there are approximately 4 to 5 billion internet users daily, 34% is a significant share of traffic. It makes sense to have a theme compatible with other browsers, including Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Samsung Internet.
If you opt for a lesser-known WP theme, maybe because it is cheaper, check the description for the browsers supported.
9. Customer support
You’re often bound to contact the support team at some point unless you’re a developer yourself or have one in your team. Therefore, find out if theme support is reachable whenever you may need them. The easiest way to know this is to read the online reviews.
Generally, premium themes usually offer support options. Most provide premium customer support for a limited period, typically 6 to 12 months. If a customer wishes to continue enjoying the support services, they will have to renew, either monthly or annually.
Free WordPress theme users are disadvantaged because support is not guaranteed. While some theme developers provide support, they can prove unreliable in most cases. When website owners experience problems, they rely mostly on support resources, such as forums, communities, and blogs.
10. Cost of the WordPress theme
You can work with a free WordPress theme if you don’t have the budget to invest in a premium one. Nevertheless, most free themes are not updated as the premium versions.
Also, they offer minimal features, as well as limited support and customization. Since developers distribute them without warranties, you’re on your own if anything goes wrong.
When choosing a free WP theme, stay away from the least downloaded products. That’s because the coding of such themes might be messy. Or it could be the themes contain malware.
Download themes from the official WP theme directory to be on the safer side. These themes go through a strict review process.
Premium WordPress themes are usually worth the investment. The prices of WP themes fall in the range of $10 to $200, with most copies going for $58 on average.
As mentioned earlier, the best premium theme is not the most expensive. Your business website may not need it. But there’s a reason why some themes are priced high.
It is difficult to make a choice based only on cost. Create a list of features you must have to support your goal. Then, start exploring the options that match your needs.
Don’t let the price come between you and a high-quality premium theme.
Learning how to choose the right WordPress theme for your business can be challenging for most people. We understand that you might be feeling a tad overwhelmed.
But if you want to create a high-performance website that attracts customers, take your time in narrowing down your options carefully.
The research step can save you a lot of time and frustration. We hope this guide sets you on the right path to picking the perfect theme for your site.