If you use WordPress as your blogging platform, you have an almost limitless number of WordPress themes from which to choose. Many are free, and are fine, but you might want to consider these things before you decide which theme to use for your blog.
Is It Responsive?
Given the fact that more people now use mobile devices to access the Internet than traditional desktop PCs, it’s essential that bloggers choose a mobile-friendly theme. Thankfully, there are hundreds of mobile-friendly “responsive” themes available for WordPress. Responsive themes use a combination of CSS3 media queries and proportion-based grids to ensure an optimal viewing experience on all devices.
How much does the theme cost? The price of a WordPress theme varies anywhere from free to several hundred dollars. If this is your first attempt at blogging, you may want to stick with a free theme until you learn the ropes. The great thing about WordPress is that themes can are interchangeable, meaning you can instantly change your blog’s design by activating a new theme. So if you’re tired of using a free theme and want to upgrade to a new design, just download and active the new theme.
Of course, you should also consider the tech/customer support offered by the theme’s developer. Even the most skilled bloggers will encounter problems from time to time. If you are stumped and need help, your theme’s support should offer assistance — at least that’s how it should be. Some themes have little-to-no support, whereas others have an active community forum in which bloggers answer each others questions, and some themes even have full 24/7 tech support via email, phone and online chat. Keep in mind that themes with strong technical support typically cost more, although most bloggers will agree that it’s well worth the price.
Check to see if the WordPress theme features custom widgets. It’s not uncommon for themes to contain their own widgets, such as contact forms, related posts, slideshows, and more. By uploading and activating one of these themes to your blog, you can take advantage of these widgets.
Just because a WordPress theme looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean that it was coded properly. Some themes contain enormous amounts of jumbled, messy code, which can lead to conflicts with various web browsers — or when WordPress is updated to a new version. In general,premium themes tend to be better coded. For more information on how to determine if a premium WordPress theme is worth it, check out this WordPress blog.
When browsing through some of the different WordPress themes, you may notice that some of them have attribution links embedded in the footer. This is typically more common with free themes as opposed to paid/premium themes, as it provides the developer with a source of revenue (they sell footer links). As a blogger, though, it’s best to avoid themes with footer links. Google has stated that site-wide footer links such as these are against its Webmaster Guidelines. Unless you’re willing to take the risk of having your site penalized, you should stick with an unadulterated theme that doesn’t have site-wide links in the footer, sidebar or elsewhere.
Which WordPress themes do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!