How to choose the best WordPress theme for your project?
Is there a theme that is the best WordPress theme? One that you’ll choose and it will deliver everything you need?
If you’re looking to create a new WordPress site or re-do an old one you might want to try a premium WordPress theme.
You will be looking to purchasing a new theme that will go along well with what you have in mind. So, you’ll start browsing along and narrow it down to the one. Purchase it and get stuck because you find out that it’s the not the best WordPress theme for your project.
While working with WordPress sites and premium themes for a while I noticed some deal breakers.
- Check it to have good support
- if it offers the plugins showcased in demos
- if they have a visual builder to be one that is well known
- good ratings and comments
- easy to work with (if you want to customize it later).
What should you look after?
Does it come with premium plugins included?
Here I’m talking about Visual Composer, Layer Slider or Revolution Slider. A lot of themes use these plugins in the demo pages. You want to check and be sure that the plugins are included in the final product. In most cases, the plugins are not automatically updated. You’ll have to wait for a new theme version to appear in order to get a newer version of that plugin. (or you can purchase a license key by yourself if you really feel like spending some extra dollars)
What visual builder does it have?
Visual builders are very popular and they are here to stay. They really help users that are not very skilled in coding to create complex and nice-looking pages.
Even though there are some very popular ones like Visual Composer, Divi Builder, Elementor, some themes have their own version of visual builders.
I had some very bad experiences in the past with some “homemade” visual builders.
I don’t think the best UX is when I have to:
- edit in 3 places (separate pages) in order to change an element on a page
- to be dependent on widgets
- no option to add extra classes for elements
- or lack of duplicate for elements.
Does it use Bootstrap or Foundation? What other library does it have for responsive purposes?
Most of them use Bootstrap (or some other big solution like what Divi has), but some will create their own library when it comes to mobile. This is not a big issue, it’s just something you might want to know from the beginning.
It might get annoying when you want to add bootstrap and you find that there are classes with the same name and you will have to work around or just learn how the new library works.
If you’re a developer you should look into this. Working with something you already know (Bootstrap for example), will save you a lot of time.
Updates, ratings, and comments
Themes (at least on Themeforest) will have a section for updates (Log) at the bottom of the page. There you can check when was the last update, but also how frequently the updates are made. This will tell you that the theme is in a good shape and the team behind the extra mile to have the things ready for major updates from WP or main plugins.
Ratings and comments will give you an idea of what issues you might encounter with the product. After all, the best WordPress theme is one that has great reviews, right?
In the comments you will find people asking before buying, to see if some features work in a specific way. You can do the same before spending money on the theme. Always make sure there is a refund option.
E-commerce and WPML support
WooCommerce and WPML are two of the most powerful things you can have on the site. Having a theme that offers support for these two, will help you sleep well. Also, it might provide with advanced customization on the e-commerce part, which is always nice to have out of the box.
When major updates to WooCommerce appear you want to support from your theme provider.
Easy to import demo format
When you decide to purchase a theme it’s because you like what you see on a demo page. Therefore importing the demo pages should be very easy to do action.
Check if the theme has anything mentioned about importing the demo examples and how easy it will be for you to make changes to them.
You don’t want to end up re-creating the pages using visual builder elements one by one.
It can do everything so it’s the best WordPress theme?
Don’t get a “Jack of all trades”
You will see a lot of themes that can do anything. They can be used for blogs, portfolio, company style pages, one-page design, landing page, gallery, video gallery, and so much more. At the end of the day, you will be wondering why there are other themes if one can do so many things?
That is a “jack of all trades”. It can do a lot of things, but it will not excel at any of them and it will not be the best WordPress theme. The theme is filled with option upon options and 100 different ways to style it. One problem is that code is added inline as you select a different style. This is a nightmare if you’re planning to customize it in the future.
One example is The7. A great theme if you use it out of the box, but very difficult when it comes to customizing it. So many libraries used and things that you don’t really need, just cramped in there because you want to have something for everyone.
Get a theme that is clean and does what you need. In most of the cases, you don’t need all the shiny things.
I didn’t mention anything about the loading time/speed on for the theme. The reason for that: a lot of demo pages might be heavily cached and/or preloaded. It’s understandable because you want to have a very fast demo page for the potential customer. That experience will not be similar on your end in most of the cases.
This list should help you find the right theme for your next project. Of course, there are a lot of other personal preferences when it comes to choosing a theme, I tried to use some universal common sense based on previous experience.
From my point of view, the best WordPress theme for your project doesn’t exist unless you create it. Or hire us.