With more than 10,000+ WordPress themes to choose from (including both free or premium variants) choosing which WordPress theme to use can be a pretty daunting task.
Design is generally subjective, and most themes can be customized in a myriad of ways, with the best themes giving you considerable freedom over how you set them up.
As you can imagine, not all WordPress themes are equal. When it comes to choosing the perfect WordPress theme, there are some important things to take into account.
Here’s our full guide to selecting the perfect WordPress theme.
Stay ahead of the curve with our exclusive insights and analysis on the latest WordPress trends and techniques - subscribe to our newsletter today.
1. Choose a Lightweight Theme
One of the most important factors that you need to consider is just how bloated the theme is. Ideally, you’d want to choose a lightweight theme with a clean codebase to ensure that your site loads quickly.
Removing unnecessary elements is important as they may increase page load times, which could ultimately impact your site’s SEO performance or conversion rates.
If you’re looking for a lightweight theme, a significant number of web developers are now moving to Nexter. Nexter is an incredibly lightweight WordPress theme that you can customize according to your preferences.
There’s a free version available too, and a premium variant that offers extended support and more site licenses.
2. Choose a Customizable Theme
While some themes look great right out of the box, you’d probably want to customize certain elements and get them just right. Most good themes give you considerable freedom to make the theme your own with the Customizer.
The WordPress Customizer is an excellent tool that makes it easy for you to optimize your theme, including key elements such as:
- Header or footer
- Logo placement
Certain themes give you more freedom to customize than others, so customization options is something that you’ll really want to look into.
3. Check the Price
Most popular WordPress themes follow the “freemium” model, where you can use the base theme for free but you have to pay to access certain additional features or to get multiple site licenses.
If you’re just starting out online, the free route makes a lot of sense. However, as your website grows, you’ll eventually want to consider upgrading to the full version.
There are certain free themes with very few downloads, and while they might sound tempting, it’s important to steer clear of them. Some of these may contain malware, while others may feature badly-written code.
Always go with a reputable, high-quality theme, and go through reviews first before you make a decision.
When selecting a theme, you also need to evaluate just how compatible it is with other plugins. Remember, you’ll need to add plugins to your site in order to improve their functionality.
Creating a balance between form and function is important, which is why you need a theme that’s compatible with other plugins. There are a few themes that offer some extended functionality, but they aren’t generally preferred.
Adding too many plugins, however, is counterproductive, as it may slow your website down. Nexter doesn’t require a whole bunch of extra plugins (though it offers a ton of integrations), making it an excellent choice if you want a strong balance between performance and functionality.
A theme that offers great design choices and excellent plugin compatibility can be a great choice, as you can customize it however you want. It’s also important that you choose a theme which offers cross-browser compatibility.
5. Check Responsiveness
Here’s an interesting stat: mobile users were responsible for more than 58.99% of global internet traffic in 2022. That number is only expected to grow over time, so responsiveness is now an essential requirement.
If your website isn’t responsive, you’re going to lose both traffic and rankings. Most themes market themselves as being responsive, but keep in mind that many don’t execute it all that well.
The best way to check if a WordPress theme is responsive or not is to open a demo site on your smartphone or tablet. Scroll through the site, test out its navigation, and see how different posts or pages appear.
Another way to do that is to use the “Inspect” tool from your browser. Simply click “Ctrl + U” on a page or right-click and select “Inspect”. Then, just click on the small icon in the top left to view pages in different dimensions.
Or, you can also use a third-party tool such as Responsive Checker to see how your website appears on different screen sizes.
There might be a time where you may need to contact support if something goes wrong. Checking the theme’s support policy is an important part of the vetting process.
Most themes generally offer anywhere between 6 to 12 months of support from the time of purchase. Others may require you to pay a slightly higher fee to unlock support.
Generally, you’ll want to consider the support options available (live chat or ticketing), and see if there’s a way to extend the support plan. Some developers also manage dedicated community forums where you can seek support like.
You can check out the Nexter WP community on Facebook to gain more insights about the platform. The team at Nexter believes that textual queries aren’t always the best way to solve technical problems.
That’s why the team at POSIMYTH offers a free screen recording tool that you can use to record your issues and then share them with the team for a quick resolution.
New features, security updates, patches, or improvements are all part of an update cycle. It’s important that you choose a theme with decent developer support, as that’ll ensure that the theme is regularly updated.
For instance, if you take a look at the screenshot above, you can see when Nexter was last updated, and the WordPress and PHP versions that it’s compatible with. This information is available on the official Nexter WP roadmap.
Free themes with little to no support aren’t updated consistently, so there’s always the risk of them being exposed to malware or security issues over time.
When buying a theme, it’s always important to get one that has a promising roadmap and a fairly active changelog. You can check the Nexter Roadmap to determine planned changes, and even go through their Changelog to see what each update brought in.
Perhaps the most obvious indicator of a theme’s popularity is what the audience has to say about it. You can check reviews on the WordPress Themes platform or check independent forums for reviews.
This will give you a better understanding of whether a theme is actually as good as the developers claim it to be. Independent reviews will give you a better understanding of any major problems that users may have encountered with the theme.
For instance, here’s a review that a user left for Nexter WP:
If you’re on the fence, you can review other reviews in the WordPress Themes for Nexter WP.
9. Test the Theme
It’s also important that you check the theme you choose before going with the full version. The Theme Check plugin is actually a great option, as it checks whether the theme you’ve selected is compatible with the current WordPress version.
10. Choose an SEO-Friendly Theme
This one’s a no-brainer, you should always choose a theme that’s SEO friendly and features clean, lightweight code that search engine bots can crawl easily.
If the code isn’t up to par, it’ll send the wrong signal to the crawlers, and that’s going to impact your site’s performance. If you want to check whether the theme is good enough or not, you may want to use the W3C Markup Validator, which tests the quality of a theme’s code.
For instance, Nexter also comes with a breadcrumb creator, which is included in the Nexter Theme Builder, which can help in optimizing the page structure of your site.
Get our best WordPress tips, tricks, and tutorials delivered straight to your inbox - Subscribe to our Monthly Email newsletter Today.
The WordPress Theme Forms the Foundation of Success for Modern Websites
It may seem like a daunting task at first, but selecting a WordPress theme for your site isn’t as difficult as you might think. Do your research carefully and make sure you choose a theme that ticks all the right boxes.If you want to choose a reliable, high-quality WordPress theme with excellent compatibility and support, Nexter is a fantastic choice. It’s built on incredibly light architecture, with the full installation coming in at less than 20 KB. It supports important security features like Google reCAPTCHA and content protection, and is fully customizable!