The popularity of WordPress development platform has led to the development of thousands of WordPress themes. It is impossible to search through all available themes, but you can narrow down your search to the perfect one for your client project.
Many developers have faced the dilemma of realizing they have chosen the wrong theme for a web development project after wasting a lot of time and money designing the site. Many times, a theme may lack vital features that are crucial to the project. A last-minute change may not be feasible with impending deadlines and depleted budget. The developer may be compelled to deliver a website that could have been more functional if the right theme was used. Neither the client nor the developer is completely happy in such a scenario.
To help you avoid such an unpleasant situation, this article discusses ten facts to consider while choosing a WordPress theme for your client project.
Get the project details
The first step towards any web development project is to discuss the details with the client. Vital information such as the purpose, the structure, and objectives of the website will be helpful in determining the crucial features that the site need.
List out the essential features
After reaching an agreement with the client regarding the website project details, it is your responsibility to determine the essential features you require in a theme. Some of the factors to consider include the type of navigational system, the page layout, arrangements of content within the page, and many more. The website layout of the theme should align with the content placement of the site.
Avoid bloated themes
Feature-rich themes are good, but do you really need all the bloated features? Some of the features (which you may not need) will diminish the site performance; ensure the WordPress theme contains only the features that are necessary. It is common to see WordPress themes with various fancy animations, colors, and layouts which are cool but may not be necessary for your project. You should choose a theme that contains all the features you need to achieve your design objectives. Yes, it can be beautiful but should not have a negative impact on usability.
Choose a fast-loading theme
The loading time of a page enhances the user experience, improves the search engine ranking, and increases the conversion rate of the site. This means the website earns more revenue for the owner. It is in your best interest (and that of your client) to avoid bloated themes that are stuffed with many pre-installed plugins, various sliders, and a gazillion pre-loaded scripts. Moreover, ensure that the design of the theme is in tandem with the latest WordPress Codec; it will make your job easier.
Security is Crucial
It is important to make a background research on the theme you intend to use by searching user reviews on the internet. The reviews make it easy for the developers to receive information about security flaws and bugs so they can release updates to fix them. It is important to research a theme before making the final purchase.
The theme should be user-friendly
Do not forget that you are developing the website for a client so simplicity in the future management of the site should be a part of your considerations. Look at the features of the theme and be sure it is not too complex for your client to perform simple tasks in the future.
Integrate with Social Media
Since the social media is an important aspect of businesses nowadays, it is natural to choose a theme that allows for easy integration with social media. This feature will help drive traffic to the website and enhance user engagement. The social media integration can earn your clients the first few business leads.
An SEO-friendly theme
One of the most crucial factors to consider in choosing a WordPress theme is the SEO factor. Choose a theme that is designed for easy SEO ranking, such a theme should have a native support for mobile devices, Schema markup, and should load pages fast. To be sure, you can run an SEO scan and W3C code validation on the theme demo before making a purchase.
Responsive theme is mandatory
Although most of the WordPress themes out there today are already mobile responsive, some theme developers are still vending themes which do not support custom display for mobile devices. To test the responsiveness of a theme, open up the theme demo page on Google Chrome, right click on the page and click on “inspect”. Click on the “Tootle device” icon at the extreme left of the inspect window to view the page in different mobile device simulations. Be double sure you are buying a responsive theme.
The users of the website will be using different devices and browsers to view the website. Therefore, you should crosscheck the theme in as many browsers as possible to confirm cross-browser compatibility. A theme that looks good on one browser may be terribly broken on another. Most theme developers use advanced tools to test browser compatibility and may indicate this on the theme details page. You can perform a check on your own by opening the demo theme in any of the major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Safari.
Should you use a Premium Theme or a Free one?
The internet is an open and highly competitive market which gives the buyer an edge in getting great deals from competitors. However, the quality of the product always corresponds to its price. It is worthwhile to mention that some free themes have many features that are present in the premium themes.
With more companies dishing out free themes with awesome features, the advantage of using a premium theme is getting limited to pre-designed layouts options, access to vast documentation and dedicated support from the theme developer. The pre-designed layout shipped with the theme makes the job of the web developer easier by simply customizing ready-made designs. This feature saves the designer hours of brainstorming and designing. It is exceptionally useful when working on projects with a tight deadline.
On a final note, the disposition of the designer is the most important factor in making a decision between free and premium themes. Someone with the technical know-how and ample time to play around may prefer to save the dollars and use a free theme. However, a designer that values quality visuals, “click and apply” options and quick support will prefer to go with the premium theme.
Over to you
What are your criteria for picking WordPress theme in your project? Post your thoughts in the comment section below