Creating websites with WordPress should be fun, easy and stress free. Why? you may ask, well because things are much easier now and developers / designers have spent and are still spending a lot of time creating high quality themes to make life easier for wordpress designers or people who want to create their website with wordpress.
By the way, I have a new post on my blog called “These 5 Premium WordPress Themes Will Make You Look Like An Expert In Minutes” and you can check that out later to see some of my top 5 wordpress themes picks but for now I want to give you some tips on how to pick premium WordPress themes so you don’t waste money, time, energy and resources. (Remember, themes are digital and when you pay for them, you most likely cannot get a refund back), so to avoid this issue – read this post carefully.
Before I go into the 6 things, how do you even pick a theme and decide on the one you want to make use of? For me these are the steps I go through to pick a theme:
- I have a website idea or project I want to work on
- I go to themeforest or any other website to search for themes I think can help me achieve the project
- I view their demo websites in multiple tabs
- I pick my preferred one after spending minutes viewing at least 4 different themes
- I download and install the theme
- I start customizing and creating relevant pages.
Those are the steps I and most people take in picking a WordPress theme. I do some other things in between but those steps outline the overall steps I take. During the time of searching for a theme and deciding which one to go with, there are some key things you must look out for before even deciding to check the theme out or give it a shot.
I have laid them down and explained why I look out for those things so you can avoid mistakes when picking a theme for your next project.
1. The Featured Image.
Trust me, it starts with the featured image of the theme. This is the first thing I check when am about to pick a theme.
The featured image used by the theme author goes a long way to telling me how good the design of their theme is. Its their first chance to try sell me on the fact that their theme is modern, clean and intuitive. Maybe some theme developers can take some idea from this – work on your featured image.
In case you don’t know what the featured image of a theme is, let me show you an example below.
The featured image says a lot of things. As they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”, that is exactly what the image does. What I am looking for when I check the image is to see some templates included in the theme, the author’s description of what the theme can do e.g “Highly Customizable” and words like that and am looking at the overall beauty of their theme layout all from that very small sized featured image.
So, when you are about to pick a theme – look at the featured image, it gives you an idea how amazing or not so amazing the theme will be.
2. Mobile Responsibility.
This is huge! Very huge. I don’t take this for granted at all!
Everyone is now mobile, a large percentage of people will be viewing your website via their phone, the theme you decide to go with has to be 10000% mobile responsive, the theme has to look as great on desktop as it looks on mobile.
I look out for premium wordpress themes that says things like “Created for all screen types and tested on real devices” and guess what? I actually always look and test each theme I decide to go with on my own mobile phone, I go to the demo pages of the theme, I check the contact forms, I check everything on my own phone. I don’t just take their word for it because almost every theme author will say their theme is mobile responsive.
Ensuring you pick a theme that makes you relaxed knowing your website looks good on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone) it is being viewed from is major!
If you don’t check anything, make sure you check that the theme you are trying to make use of is Mobile responsive and retina ready!
3. Page Builder. (Preferably Visual Composer)
No matter how good looking that theme you are considering on getting is, if the backend sucks! It will be a pain in the ass.
The whole concept or purpose of making use of a wordpress theme is to be able to get a good looking and functional websitee done and dusted as fast as you can without having to write raw code or kill yourself in the process of creating a website, with that in mind – ensuring your theme comes with a page builder (preferably Visual Composer) will save you a lot of headaches.
Almost all themee now comes with a page builder but its always good to check and to have a feel of what type of page builder the theme comes with.
When in the process of picking a theme, I look out for themes with Visual Composer as their main page builder. In case you don’t know what Visual composer is, it is the most popular and industry standard page builder for wordpress, it makes your life easier, it allows you to drag and drop elements that would have taken you weeks to hand code and allows you to basically play puzzle when designing a website instead of spending ample time writing lines of code (if you like to write code, you shouldn’t be making use of WordPress anyways)
I have a FREE online course where I teach thousands of people how to design websites using the page builder plugin and wordpress themes, you should check that here “Web & Graphics Design Mastery” (the course used to cost $97 but its now FREE as part of NejoUniversity.com – which is my initiative and platform created to empower people around the world with quality digital skills)
4. SEO Optimization.
Even though Search Engine Optimization of your website depends on you, trust me – the theme or template you make use of also helps your pages and content rank better. I always look out for themes that talk about the fact that they have taken SEO into consideration in the design and development of their theme.
Things that they might do to ensure your website is SEO friendly is to make the theme’s speed very fast and the codes used in the pages / post structure SEO optimized. Some themes comes with built in SEO tools and some don’t, if a theme doesn’t, that doesn’t make it bad, I just make sure they talk about their theme being SEO optimized before I make use of the theme.
Always check this when looking to pick your next premium wordpress theme.
5. One Click Demo Content Import.
Oh my days! Don’t even get me started on the importance of One-click demo import.
This is the icing on the cake of any theme you intend to make use of, my standard rule of thumb is to stay away from themes that do not provide some type of basis or template to work from. Always ensure that the theme you decide to pick and make use of offers a one-click demo installation file or functionality to do so.
The “one-click demo installation” is basically the theme’s way of providing you the exact pages and layouts that you see when checking out the live preview of the theme, so you have a very strong basis and reference of templates to work from for your pages and maybe even content.
Some amazing themes even provide you with the pictures as you’ve seen in the demo that made you fall in love with the theme, these themes are my favourite. Even though I will most likely end up changing the pictures, it gives me a vision of the type and size of image that should go in a certain place.
Always check the theme description to ensure they offer “One-Click Demo Installation” file and functionality, it will save you hours of headaches.
6. Plugin Compatibility.
WordPress has become very powerful because designers and developers spend hours and hours of time to create plugins that enhances the platform and the whole wordpress landscape. Plugins will help your website go the extra mile, so it is very important to ensure that the theme you pick is compatible with most plugins.
One of the headaches I have faced in my 5 years of designing websites with wordpress is plugin conflict, after installing a theme, I find out that it is not compatible with a plugin I really NEED to achieve something on the website. That always sucks!
Even though it is not possible to know all the plugins a theme supports upfront, it is good to see if they mention anything like “Plugin Compatibility” and they are compatible with industry standard plugins such as Visual Composer, WooCommerce, Slider Revolution, YOAST SEO, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache and more!
Don’t sleep on this, always check the plugin compatibility of a theme before you choose that theme as your preferred one.
I hope these tips are valuable to you and will assist you in picking the right premium wordpress theme for your next project. If you want to see my top 5 wordpress theme of June 2018, you should check this post out “5 Premium WordPress Themes Will Make You Look Like An Expert In Minutes” that should be of help to you as all the themes listed there all check the boxes explained in this post.
What else do you check when picking a theme? Share with the community below or drop your comments about this post and I will be there to vibe with you.