Recently, I have been in touch with potential clients asking about WordPress themes. What is good or not?
I never buy themes/templates, I work in agency where someone design the template for the need of each client and every project is unique. However, I can understand for smaller clients that the budget, or the lake of designer can be a good reason to buy a WordPress theme / template online.
Reality and danger
There are thousands of Wordpress templates on the Internet. The problem is 90% of them are really badly coded. They are not respecting SEO good practice, failing some browser support, not respecting accessibility standards…
For about $60 in general you can’t expect the perfect product answering all your needs.
How to choose a good WordPress theme
It’s really hard to know but a few indicators can help.
Recent and popular
The first thing is to choose a theme compatible with the latest version of WordPress. There are still too many old themes accessible online. Good themes are like good tools, people use them, there are reviews and news versions.
If you have a bit of web knowledge, try to use the demo URL in those to get an idea of good the code is.
https://validator.w3.org/ – quick html check
http://www.css-validator.org/ – quick CSS check
https://quixapp.com/seo/ – Quick SEO check
If you find zero or more than one tag “h1” in a page, that’s a a really bad start for instance.
Be careful with themes which can do “everything”
They are hard to customize, they add lots of extra code to your website with plugins and functionality you don’t need (and probably slow down your website). For instance if your theme require the woo-commerce plugins and your website is not an e-commerce, it will add lots of extra code and useless functionalities.
The less plugin you use, the less update you will have to do and so less potential security fail you have.
Moreover, recently I saw a post of Sekander Badsha showing codecanyon is selling a free plugin available from wordpress.org at the price of $18
If you are not good creating nice visual, don’t choose a theme with lots of picture and infographics. Try to pick a clean theme with nice fonts and content hierarchy.