I have, over the past few days, been having sleepless nights while trying to choose the best WordPress theme for this blog. During the process, I may have inadvertently damaged a thing or two, not only on the site, but also in my head. That only goes to illustrate that, for beginners, the process of choosing the best WordPress theme can be rather daunting. This short article is, therefore, meant to help those who, like me, are struggling to choose from the millions of WordPress themes that are out there. So, how do you choose a WordPress theme for your site?
My first tip to you, if you are looking to choose a WordPress theme, is that you shouldn’t be obsessive about the process. Take it from me, you don’t have to spend sleepless nights organizing over something that’s only part of the blogging process. What do I mean about that?
Blogging is all about providing value to your readers
Although aesthetics play an important role in the perceptions that people get of your site, your primary concern as a blogger is to provide readers with value. What most people do not realize is that this can be done even with the use of the plainest of themes.
Another thing that you need to remember is that not many people, particularly if you are into content marketing, are going to even visit your home page. Someone Googles something and if your page comes up, they will be taken directly to the article that you have written and not to your home page.
So, my advise here is that while it is nice to have a visually appealing site, your thrust at the beginning should be on creating value. I think I tried out over a fifty themes over the past few days till I realized that the best is sometimes the simplest.
Website Speed Matters
If you have been blogging for any given amount of time, you will have heard that website speed plays an important role in Search Engine Optimization. Well, it turns out that that statement is absolutely true. If your site is sluggish, it is likely to get a low SERPs rank.
That is one of the reasons why you should choose a WordPress theme that’s fully optimized for speed and performance. Believe me, finding the perfect one is rather difficult. There are so many themes out there that it’s impossible to sample them all.
Again, the thing to remember is that you should never be obsessive about choosing a theme for your WordPress website. The WordPress theme that you choose can always be changed at any time. Carry out research and you are likely to arrive at the one that perfectly fits your needs.
Meanwhile, remember that your aim is to provide value to your readers and not to dazzle them.
A Mobile First Approach
The above is particularly the case for mobile searches. If your site is not optimized for mobile devices, it is likely that your web pages won’t ever feature where it matters on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Remember, the majority of searches are now being made from mobile devices. Although desktops still matter in this equation, browsing habits have shifted across the globe over the past few years. Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, now rule the roost as far as Search is concerned.
It is important, therefore, for you to choose a WordPress theme that is fully optimized for mobile devices. This is where I had the most trouble. The theme that I first chose for this site was initially responsive. However, and most likely due to excessive tinkering on my part, it soon lost the responsiveness. Thus started my struggle to find a new WordPress theme.
Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights
Part of the reason why I went overboard while trying to choose a theme for my site was the fact that I was trying to get make a selection that would satisfy both Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights. That proved to be so difficult a task that I didn’t sleep for two days in a row.
Despite this, it is safe to say that these sites are absolutely crucial when it comes to determining what is and what is not working on your blog. You can read the article in the provided link to learn more about using PageSpeed Insights.
The thing that had me scratching my head was the fact that a couple of times I though I had the best theme possible, only to have a couple of errors show up after running one of the above tests.
How I chose my current theme
If you are wondering, my site is currently on the Mission News theme. And how did I choose this WordPress theme? Well, I spend a day or two on what I thought was the best theme ever. I had even spend hours designing the logo and all.
However, after a day, the thing stopped opening some pages. I mean, it was probably not the theme’s fault; at least not entirely. I suspect I had cooked things up in my WordPress while deleting and installing so many themes in a single day.
In any case, when the theme that I had stopped working, I pretty much gave up. I then, in disdain, installed the first theme that was in my “Themes,” folder and lo and behold, it turned out to be one of the best that I have ever used.
So, this theme is somewhat accidental. I do hope, however, that it does not break up on me after a day or two. Hope this article helps you choose a WordPress theme that works for you.