Your blog is your personal piece of the broader digital real estate. Making your blog valuable and aesthetically pleasing should be your top priorities.
If you don’t have a technical background in web design and development, then it might be intimidating to start your blog. But you don’t need to worry. You can start a blog with minimal knowledge of design and development.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems available today. Around 35% of the internet today is powered by WordPress. So, it’s fair to say that WP is quite popular.
But even then, knowing how to choose the right theme for your WP site can be challenging. There seems to be a seemingly endless supply of themes available. Choosing a theme that works best for you can definitely be challenging, but it’s certainly doable.
Here is a great checklist that you can follow to find the right WP theme for your blog:
Is the theme popular?
One of the most important and vital factors when choosing a theme is its popularity. Now, this might seem a little weird to be on the top of your checklist, but it’s an essential point that you really need to consider.
Popular themes are loved by people for a reason.
Using a well-known theme will help you in your blogging career. If you come across something that you don’t understand, it’s highly likely that other people using your theme would have faced the same problem as you.
Does the theme have an active development team?
If you want to use a theme for your WP blog, then you would want to select one theme and stick with it for a while. You don’t necessarily want to choose a theme that has an inactive development team.
Things change. And the internet and Google’s guidelines are changing every once in a while. What was fine three months ago, won’t be okay right now.
Having an active development team is a blessing. If there is a new change that all websites must adhere to, then you’ll want a theme that responds to these changes as soon as possible.
Is the WP theme mobile optimized?
Having a theme that looks great on mobile or other portable devices is essential for your blog. Most people these days use their mobiles to browse the internet. It is only expected that they will read your blogs on their mobile phones too.
A lot of WordPress (WP) themes these days are mobile optimized. But you should never do anything without proper research. Make sure that you read the documentation and confirm that the theme is actually mobile optimized.
If your WP theme is mobile optimized, then your website will look great on a mobile phone. And why is this important?
Well, for starters, having a great looking site contributes to the overall user experience of your website visitors. Visitors won’t leave your website immediately because they would be intrigued by what your website has to offer.
Along with mobile optimization, you want to do whatever you can to improve user experience, and having a live chat app will be a great addition to your website.
A WP theme that is not optimized for mobile devices is not only penalized by Google, but it also has a high bounce rate (people leaving your site after viewing a single page).
Is the theme great for SEO?
If you’re starting a blog, you would want more and more people to read your work. And one of the easiest ways to attract readers is to opt for a WP theme that works well for SEO.
SEO is an essential factor to consider when choosing your WP theme. You should consider a few things when evaluating the SEO capabilities of your selected theme.
Ask yourself if the theme is mobile optimized, loads fast supports SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, etc.
Does the theme load super-fast?
Page load time is a super important factor for SEO as well as user experience.
If your WP site takes too long to load, then more and more of your visitors will be inclined to jump to some other website. This sort of thing not only contributes to poor user experience, but it can severely impact your SEO as well.
Google and other search engines want to provide a great experience to people surfing the web. And if your WP site cannot give the content visitors need when they need it, then that will be a major disadvantage for your blog.
Is it customizable?
Having a customizable theme is important if you don’t have any prior technical experience with owning and operating a website.
If you want to concentrate on writing content for your blog, you should make sure that your chosen theme is customizable. A customizable theme gives you the freedom to make your blog; however, you want it to be.
As a blogger, you would want your blog to have the same sense of style and aesthetic as you do. Also, if you don’t want to be stuck with code, so you should opt for a site that has a drag and drops functionality.
Does the theme support your favorite plugins?
Plugins are a big part of what makes a WordPress, such as a loved and well-known content management system.
WordPress has a whole bunch of compatible plugins. But one thing to keep in mind when choosing a theme is to see if it supports all of your favorite plugins.
Also, sometimes one plugin might hinder the functionality of other plugins. So, you need to be careful with your plugin selection.
Hopefully, this checklist has helped you by giving a basic guideline on what to look for in a WordPress theme. But mind you, this is just the start. There still plenty of things that you need to take care of before you can make your blog genuinely remarkable.
Choosing the right theme will definitely give you a head start with your blog. A great theme will not only contribute to positive user experience, but it will also help you with standing out in the eyes of Google and other search engines, alongside amazing content, of course.
Hamzah Adil is a young digital marketer who has a background in computer science. He’s currently working for a startup that has rolled out a new live chat app for websites called SwiftChat.