WordPress powers almost 34% of all websites on the internet, making it one of the most widely used content management systems. One reason WordPress is a popular option is that it offers a wide variety of theme options to users. With new WordPress themes emerging almost daily, there is no shortage to choose from for your website.
While having so many options does sound exciting, having to sift through them in an attempt to pick just one can become tedious. Also, this isn’t a decision you can take in a hurry because choosing the right theme for your website is extremely important for online business success. It affects the first impression customers have of your company, defines your brand, helps promote brand consistency, and more. There are many factors to consider before choosing a WordPress theme.
To help you with this decision, we’ve compiled a list of key factors you should consider as well as tips on what to look for, what a theme should include, and what to avoid.
What to consider when choosing a WordPress theme
1. The simpler the better
You will see plenty of colorful WordPress themes with complex layouts and lots of moving parts. While these may seem attractive, they can negatively impact functionality by making your website difficult to use and navigate. Instead, opt for something that is easy for your customers to understand and helps them to quickly and easily find what they need.
To start off, make a list of all the features you need. Keep your end goal in mind when listing the features and searching for a theme. Remember, the purpose of your website isn’t to simply show them a beautiful site. Primarily, you need to provide them the required information and point them towards renting out items.
All that can be done with a simple layout and theme instead of going for something that may be cluttered and confusing.
Once you are clear on what you are looking for, you can start searching for a theme that has all the features you require. Avoid any added features and complicated layouts that may serve as a distraction and negatively impact website performance.
2. SEO compliance
A primary purpose of choosing the right WordPress theme is to design a website that attracts customers while they’re going through the search results on Google. However, the design alone is not all that counts – you also have to optimize the website for search engine optimization (SEO) so it ranks well in the results.
Optimizing the website on your own is possible but can be daunting. So save yourself some time and effort by simply looking for a theme that already provides built-in SEO support. These kinds of themes enable you to include the right keywords, meta descriptions and tags, and suitable headings so your website can rise through the ranks, literally.
3. Choose a mobile-friendly theme
As of July last year, Google looks at your website’s mobile-responsiveness for ranking and indexing. This means that whichever theme you are opting for, it must be responsive. Responsiveness means that the website layout automatically adjusts based on the different devices it is being viewed on.
Most WordPress themes claim to be responsive. However, just because a theme says it is mobile responsive, that does not guarantee that it implements well. Therefore, before you decide on a theme, check the responsiveness on different screen resolutions.
Apart from the layout, also look for how long the page takes to load on the mobile versus the desktop. The loading speed plays a crucial role not only in the visitor experience but also in SEO.
4. Check for compatibility with different browsers
While most of the top WordPress themes are compatible with all the major web browsers, there are still a few that might not be. Be sure to check whether your chosen theme is compatible with the browser you’re going to be using. At the very least, make sure the theme works well on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge.
If you really like a theme and it only works on these web browsers, you can still go ahead and pick that one. However, in an ideal situation, the theme should also work well with the less popular browsers as well. Even if the theme mentions that it is compatible, it is recommended that you test it out for yourself once before making any final decisions.
5. Check reviews, installations, and updates
How do you know if the theme is reliable? Check customer reviews and the number of installations. The more active users a theme has, the more credible it is. It shows that a great number of people are satisfied with this theme.
However, keep in mind that just because a theme does not have a large number of active installations, does not necessarily mean it isn’t a good theme. There are certain themes that only target a niche segment, which is why they might not have a lot of active users.
Next, you can look at the reviews of the WordPress theme. Generally, it is safe to go with themes that have a rating of 4 stars or more. Reviews help you learn about the pros and cons of a theme from users who have already worked with them.
Lastly, updates can tell you a lot about the theme. Regular updates mean that the team is consistently improving the product and keeping up with any new protocols. A good rule of thumb is to be wary of WordPress themes that have not been updated in the last six months.
6. Look for supported plugins
Assume you find the perfect theme, one that not only looks great but also has all the functionalities you are looking for. However, what happens if you pivot your brand or business and need to change the theme? You will have to change everything and start from scratch.
The solution: Opt for the simple WordPress theme and then build upon it with plugins. This way, you can easily change your theme whenever you want, while keeping the functionality the same.
So when searching for themes, ensure that the one you choose does support all the plugins you might be interested in using, now or ever in the future.
Which theme will you choose?
Keep these tips in mind, so you can pick a great WordPress theme that will set your rental business up for success.
Just remember to keep the design separate from the functionality. You choose a theme for the design and layout, not for all the functionalities it provides. Opt for plugins instead to tackle the functionality. This way, you can easily switch between themes whenever you may want to in the future.
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