If you are thinking of creating a website, choosing a WordPress theme is the first step to do. And it is a crucial step, because the choice of the theme, is among the aspects that can determine the success or failure of a Web project.
In fact, WordPress themes is not to choose just because is “beautiful aesthetically”.
It should also be judged according to its functionalities and the facilitation of implementation.
Of course, if you are a novice may seem all new concepts, but following this guide to the end, you will have much clearer ideas about what to do.
Here are the issues we'll address:
- How to choose the right theme.
- Who creates WordPress themes?
- Where to find the best WordPress themes?
- Premium Themes VS. Free themes.
- Rely on the experience.
How to Choose a WordPress Theme in 2021
Let's start by saying that the look and feel is one of the variables to consider.
Evaluate it according to your tastes, your customer's or the type of project you will have to make.
But don't forget the other factors before buying a WordPress template. Let's see them all.
1. Compatibility of themes
The theme you choose will have to be compatible with the latest versions of WordPress released so that it can fully exploit every new functionality.
This may also be necessary for certain plugins, such as WooCommerce.
If you already know in the design stage that you need a particular plugin, do not forget to check, maybe even asking the support, if the template you're about to buy is compatible.
To test this, for example on Themeforest, just open the theme page you're evaluating and take a look at the right bar.
Below you will find a series of information such as
- The date of creation.
- The date of the last update.
- Compatibility with software versions and plugins.
Browser-compatible is a key aspect to take into account.
Although the majority of manufacturers report total compatibility our advice and that of checking in person.
How to do? Very simple: In the same screen, under the image of the theme is the button Live preview, which offers a preview of the theme installed with fictitious content, but with every functionality put well in evidence.
You'll have to browse various browsers to make sure that the theme doesn't have any flaws.
2. Responsive Themes
The percentage of use of mobile devices as smartphones and tablets is increasing.
Deciding to leave with a site that does not fit perfectly to the different supports would be like deciding to participate in a cross country race with a leg plaster.
Luckily, to date is a requirement so essential that no theme can do without. It is still important to do a first-person test to see how the content fits.
The navigation menu, the images, the arrangement of the elements must fully meet your expectations, the usability must be immediate and the loading speed must be optimal.
3. Clean Coding
A well-written code and index of reliability for search engines.
There are strict rules that developers must follow to generate a clean final code.
The developers of Themeforest or Elegant themes guarantee firsthand that their products meet the required standards.
4. Theme Updates
As mentioned before, WordPress continually changes its code.
Buying a premium theme guarantees that if it is necessary, at the release of every new version of WordPress, there will be at your disposal also the updated version of the theme after a short time.
5. Functionalities of WordPress Themes
Here is another great factor to decide whether to buy a theme rather than another. Each developer has a personal way to add to the basic functionality, including several accessory features.
Often the features are listed on the theme Specification page, where you'll notice:
- The plugins included in the package.
- The widget modules programmed ad hoc to work perfectly with the theme.
- The graphics and forms already available for your site to be as complete as possible.
- Any tools to manage the SEO (although we always rely on the plugin Yoast SEO, as explained in the course on the search engines).
- Layout Builder to create your own pages with Drag & Drop forms or with a builder in real-time like that of Divi.
- Control Panel to customize the appearance of the site in the smallest details, such as the management of custom headers, sidebar Manager, icons, fonts etc., already usable without new settings.
- Advanced Sliders.
These are all aspects that are worth checking before proceeding to the purchase.
Each theme, in the preview view, usually has a section features where you explain all the features that you have and, with a bit of experience and research, you will be able to understand on the fly what are the fundamental ones for your project.
Have the guarantee of authoritative, fast, and competent support is one of the features that must not be missed.
It must be said that, in the package of the theme that you download after purchasing it, you will find comprehensive documentation explaining how to install it, how to personalize it, how to insert the contents, and how to insert the widgets.
It may be possible that you can not answer all the questions or problems that you can face with a “generic” document.
Don't worry, I can assure you that the support they provide to those who opt for a premium theme is of absolute value and surely will be able, in a very short time, to respond to all your perplexity.
Who creates WordPress Themes?
Over the years we have seen the market for WordPress themes evolve to become a real colossus.
In the beginning, for most of the projects, were used the free templates that WordPress.org made available.
This is because, a long time ago, this CMS was used as a blog creation platform.
Over time, however, developers began to create templates that added new features and functionality.
These were also added many plugins, free and paid that allow you to cover almost all the needs that a website can present.
These developers understood the great potential of the market and decided to base their activity exclusively on the creation of WordPress templates.
We saw the birth of the first Web Agency dedicated to this activity.
The key to success was to understand that it was better to create a global product rather than dedicate itself to the care and realization of the website for the individual customer.
These web agencies sell their products, or WordPress themes, directly from their websites.
Many of these agencies also give the possibility, to those who buy a theme, to have dedicated support, usually managed through a forum.
But there are others who wanted to see beyond.
Why not create a site that, thanks to the tagging, gives the possibility to the user to search among thousands of themes available? And so it was…
Where to find the best WordPress Themes
For years there has been the platform of Themeforest that is one of the most complete in the world market of WordPress themes.
They don't just provide the themes, but they offer any kind of resource that can be useful for making a website.
WordPress, being the most popular platform has a dedicated section, while the other CMS are grouped together.
The moment we're writing, there are over 40,000 themes to choose from and the number gets up almost every day because developers continue to make changes to their products and add new ones, looking for ways to exploit all the Graphic trends and the most modern elements to keep up with the times.
A company that offers a truly exclusive service is Elegant themes.
They offer access to all their themes (over 80) and their plugins at the cost of a really cheap subscription fee (which you can still decide not to renew).
Among the themes of Punta I quote only Divi, but you have already heard about…
The themes, developed by the same team, are made with great care (the more than 400,000 customers are a demonstration).
Codeless.co we are Elite Authors on Themeforest Market with more than 10000+ sold licenses.
Themes are all structured and offer High – Quality Design with a fully responsive experience, simple and intuitive, you can change every element of the theme, from the header to the footer.
Everyone has the possibility to upload the demo content, in order to obtain in a few minutes a site identical to the preview that the company offers.
Premium Themes vs Free Themes
Why should I pay if there are also many free themes? Legitimate question.
The answer and that, in the long run, the game is not worth the candle.
Let's start by saying that the themes proposed have prices that anyone can face: the average of the themes is around 50-60 dollars. If your goal is to develop an online activity I think this is a very small expense in relation to the advantages it offers you.
In addition, most of the free themes are too tied to the old structure of the classic blog.
Only recently you can see some attempt to align them to the most modern standards, with the possibility to use the platform to create a complete website in its entirety.
Also, free themes are often created and then “forgotten”. This could cause delays or lack of updating with the release of new versions of WordPress.
And this risks losing the compatibility, to present errors or even to compromise the functionality of the site itself.
In addition, we have to face the security aspect: a Premium theme, exactly as it happens for the code of WordPress, is continually updated to overcome any new vulnerability problems that can be presented.
An internet site must be thought of as an evolving tool and that, over time, could undergo considerable changes.
When you buy a theme you have at your disposal the technical support of the developers themselves, the forum dedicated, and sometimes even phone support.
Manufacturers have all the advantages of receiving positive reviews and keeping you as a customer, so they will definitely give you a hand in case you need them.
For a free theme all this and of inferior quality (if not non-existent).
Another aspect not to be underestimated is the functionalities.
In premium themes are often included tools, otherwise paid, to improve the user experience and make your site more enjoyable like animated sliders, the layout Builder and other premium plugins that, in the case of free themes, you would be forced to Buy.
The main reason why I highly recommend buying a theme though and certainly the graphic impact.
In my opinion, today there is no free theme with a graphic look comparable to that of the paid themes, and we know that, the appearance, and the first thing your users will evaluate your site.
Summarizing here are the points that distinguish the templates free WordPress from those paid:
- The free themes have not included work tools now considered the standard, such as Layout builder, Advanced sliders, etc…
- They are not updated and followed with the same care as those paid.
- Support in free templates, logically, is of a different nature.
- The aspect of safety and maintenance over time is more guaranteed in premium themes.
But the problem is that, with so much variety of choices, finding the right theme can become complicated.
Below we show some points of reference to filter the alternatives and choose perfect themes for your website.
Finding the best theme: relying on the experience
We have seen what are the basic characteristics that should be evaluated when you are going to buy a theme; Now let's move on to practical aspects.
It remains to solve the problem of too much choice. What we need to do and filter the information.
We start by saying that in the search panel of Themeforest, WordPress themes, are already cataloged according to criteria related to the categories in which they are inserted.
As you can see by moving the mouse on the WordPress button on the menu, you'll get a drop-down menu that allows you to make the first skimming.
From here you can choose the themes according to the type of site you need to do: You can order the search by viewing the most popular themes, blogs, business themes, e-commerce etc…
In the search box in the middle of the page then add some special tags that better identify the type of your site, such as Portfolio, restaurant, one-page, etc.
In this way, the search will show you only the themes that satisfy your requests.
Consider that this type of research is only the first step, the initial skimming, to be followed by the control of all the aspects described above.
Each time, for each theme, you will have to re-check the list and check whether the product is valid or not.
Moreover, most of the templates that are proposed are cataloged according to parameters “graphs” or technical features, but my experience tells me that, unless of limited cases (it would be difficult to transform a theme made with graphic elements for a Restaurant in a site that talks about quantum theories), every template on these sites is highly customizable.
Everything you need is a minimum of imagination to be able to visualize your content instead of the proposed ones.
There are other ways to streamline research more and to keep it safe.
In the left panel of Themeforest, there is a box that contains several filters.
First of all, we hear the voice of those who bought before us. Go to change the filtering to score other users.
Given the huge number of themes, I personally only choose those with maximum scores.
Attention: 5 stars does not mean that the theme is the best ever. What you need to do is a comparison between the number of stars and the number of votes. A theme that has received 5 stars from 5 people is no higher quality index than a template that has received 4 from 500.
Then evaluate even if you filter thanks to some tag that identifies your category well.
Another aspect that should be considered and the number of purchases.
The more people have bought it and the greater the power of that theme, it means that many have trusted him, that many have advertised and that many have been satisfied.
In addition, it means that there is an excellent probability that some users have found themselves before you, to a possible problem that could be presented and then find the solution in the Forum will be easier and faster.
Now you should have all the elements you need to make a choice without worries.
Remember to verify that all the characteristics of compatibility, visualization, updates, security, support, etc. If you are satisfied try to start with a clear idea on the type of site that you have to create.
You will benefit when you have to filter out all these themes to choose from.