Choosing the best WordPress theme for your site is an essential to ensure your WordPress website has the best chance of success. A theme is more than just the way the site looks, it’s also the way the user interacts and feels when on your site.
Before we get into it, here is what we cover in this article:-
What makes a good theme?
There are several factors that come together to make up a good WordPress theme. A ‘good’ theme really depends on what you want to get out of your WordPress site, everyones needs are different and what suits one might not suit the other.
Firstly you want to define what kind of theme would suit your needs from a functional point of view. Are you making a one page website; a news outlet or magazine; a shop? Once you work out the functional requirement you can then move to the next point. Whatever your specific needs are, any good theme must:
1. Look the part
2. Be fast
3. Be optimised for SEO
4. Have decent support
4. Be updated regularly
Get a well designed WordPress Theme
It should go without saying that the way your site looks and feels gives people an impression from the first seconds they spend on your site. You want your visitors to view your WordPress site and think it is very professional. If it feels cheap and tacky and overdone, or uses colours that clash and don’t work together you haven’t found a good one.
When choosing a theme on the basis of design it makes sense to use a contemporary design over one from 10 years ago, as styles and tastes change and you don’t want people going to your new website and thinking that it’s got a dated, 10 year old design.
Why the speed of your theme is important
The speed of your WordPress theme is critical to the success of your website. If you are using a slow, unoptimised theme it will take longer for your page to load and this will mean the experience for your users is not a pleasant one. You can check the speed of a theme before you purchase it by using one of the following speed testers:-
There is more that comes into speed than just the theme itself, like caching, WordPress hosting provider etc, but you can get a good feel of the theme speed by testing the demo theme in one of the above.
You obviously don’t want your WordPress website to look exactly like someone else’s, so most likely you’ll want to have the ability to tweak and customise your theme to suit your requirement. Don’t want to have a huge hero image, sure, scrap it. In our experience the most WordPress themes these days are ones that support Elementor (what I’m using at this very moment). Elementor makes it super easy to completely change the layout, structure and look/feel of your WordPress theme.
Making a great WordPress website rich with useful content is one thing, but getting it found in Google and other search engines is another. That’s where SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) comes in, you want to ensure that your theme is SEO compatible and works well with plugins like Yoast.
There might be times when you need a little help from the creators of your WordPress theme, so it makes sense to buy a theme that comes with support. Free themes don’t come with support as they are free and who is going to pay for the support staff? So if you think you might need a helping hand, getting a paid theme with support is a must.
Where do I find a good WordPress theme?
There are many places you can find yourself a good WordPress theme, our two favourites being Elegant Themes & Theme Forest as they have a huge variety of excellent Theme at your disposal for various price ranges. We usually go with a paid theme (like the one we are using for our site) as they are often If you’re on a budget you can find a free Theme over at WordPress itself, remember though that free themes are usually quite limited in functionality and might not satisfy all your requirements so make sure you double check that before you go ahead.
Elegant Themes (our favourite)
Elegant themes have been making quality WordPress themes since 2008. They sell their own fully customisable WordPress themes and they are super popular having been sold around 601,000 times to customers the world over.
ThemeForest is part of the Envato group of companies based in Melbourne, Australia. They are one of the largest global marketplace of themes for all sorts of websites and related things. Here you can find themes from a huge number of creators who sell on the site.
WordPress.org doesn’t need any introduction and the WordPress parent kindly offers free themes that they themselves make or kind third parties offer on their listing for free.
How much does a WordPress theme cost?
WordPress theme pricing varies from Free to around $200usd. We would suggest you avoid using a free theme unless you really have to as these are not as good as those you pay for. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. We looked around ThemeForest, Elegent Themes and found the average price for a WordPress theme that satisfies all the above is around 70usd.
In summing up
Getting your site a good WordPress theme is a critical part of any WordPress website setup, so don’t compromise on quality or skimp on price as a good Theme will handsomely pay for itself in terms of site experience for the webmaster and users. Happy theme hunting!