Checklist for choosing the best WordPress theme
by: Benoit Gütz
It is not always easy to choose a good WordPress theme for your website. There are many themes available; from free themes up to expensive ones, from simple themes up to very extensive ones, and all perform differently when it comes to speed and safety. How do you decide on the best theme for your website?
When choosing a theme, it is important that you determine what functionalities are required and what speed you can expect. Our free whitepaper ‘How to choose the best WordPress theme‘ shows you how to do this. One of the most important things when selecting a theme is keeping in mind that you want high quality. That is why we have listed a number of quality checks for you.
WordPress theme checklist
It is important that your website performs adequately and is readable and usable on all available devices. From November 2016 onwards, it has been more popular to browse on mobile devices than on desktops and Google has now also adopted ‘Mobile-first indexing.’ This means that your sites’ ranking in Google for every device is determined by how mobile-friendly your website is. Determine how mobile-friendly your theme is.
When was the theme last updated? If that was over a year ago, it is likely that the theme is no longer actively maintained. This can incur some obstacles regarding performance, compatibility and safety issues in particular. We also advise you to check whether the theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
Number of users
View the number of ‘Active installs’ on WordPress.org or the number of sales on Themeforest.net. If a new theme does not have many users yet, it will automatically be a riskier choice. You won’t know how well it is going to perform in the market and how well the theme will be maintained in the future.
The number of theme reviews in combination with them being positive or negative gives you a reasonable impression on the theme’s quality. The more great reviews, the better. In addition to checking the positive rating, it is always a good idea to read what other users have to say about the theme.
Verify that your theme works in all the usual browsers. You can find the most globally used browsers on Stat Counter Global Stats. Currently, these are Chrome, Safari, UC Browser, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera.
If you run into problems with your theme, you should be able to find answers to your questions or to ask someone for assistance. Are there FAQs available on the theme and do the developers respond quickly to support questions? You can test this for yourself by contacting them.
You want your website to be accessible and usable for as many people as possible, and that includes people with disabilities. You can easily test a website’s accessibility with AxE – the Accessibility Engine.
W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium. This is an organisation that maintains a number of important Internet standards. They design guidelines for the use of HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS and web content accessibility. Your website should meet all these guidelines. You can easily test your theme with the W3C validator.
WordPress.org terms and conditions
Themes that are included in the WordPress.org theme repository should comply with certain terms and conditions. The WordPress theme review team checks whether all conditions are met by means of the plugin Theme Check. Theme builders also frequently make use of this plugin, and you yourself can use this plugin when choosing a theme.
Besides these quality checks, there are many more issues that you must take into consideration when choosing a theme. Download our whitepaper and find out how you can choose the best theme for your website.