Today we are talking about some crucial checks you must do before you finalize your WordPress theme.
If you are reading this, then you would agree with me on the fact that finalizing a WordPress theme is one of the most confusing things in (Self Hosted) WordPress World.
There is an ocean of themes floating and roaring online. You can find the ocean of awesome reviews of great themes available online. Everyone reviewing them are mentioning an approximately the same thing about them.
Reading all those theme reviews made me so confusing that from last few days I was in dilemma, that which theme I should use for my WordPress Blog. All those reviews confused me so well, that I have changed approx 8 to 10 themes in the last 25 days.
If you are new to my website, then you might not believe that, but those who have been with me can actually understand what I am saying. You won’t even believe that all the themes I installed were all awesome in looks for my website.
Now you would ask, why you changed themes for so many times if all of them were awesome in looks.
I did it so many times, because after installing every theme, I checked them rigorously, as per my requirements and as per Google.
Now before we proceed ahead, I would like to ask, have you started your blog yet? If yes, stay with me to get some awesome tips and tricks in regards to WordPress blogs. If not, then you can use some help from here in starting your blog.
Now coming back to our topic……
Why Google’s Parameters?
Why to even think about Google, while choosing a theme?
Because Google is the one who decides which website to rank at which place. To rank a Website, Google uses approx 200 algorithms.
Well, not everything among those algorithms can be considered to choose a WordPress Theme, yet some are really important factors to be considered while choosing a WordPress Theme.
So checks listed below include and explain few crucial factors to be considered as per Google’s Parameters.
14 Crucial Checks Before You Finalize Your WordPress Theme
Here is the list of those 14 crucial checks you need to perform before you finalize your WordPress theme.
1. Is your WordPress Theme Light & Fast?
Google wants a website to be fast enough to show it as a relevant result, which is not a time waster for its user. Remember Google’s Motto is to deliver fast relevant results to its users.
So if you want your website to be in SERP results, then you have to consider creating your website fast enough on Google’s Parameters.
One factor affecting website speed is your theme. Well coded themes are light and fast. Which means they do not load any extra line of code not required while loading your website resulting in a fast website.
How to check whether the theme you are using is fast enough?
- Create a staging site (there are a lot of free plug-ins available in the market to create a staging site).
- Install your preferred theme on it.
- Go to PageSpeed Insight;
- Insert the URL of your blog and click Analyze
Bammmm…….You’ll get the speed results as below:
2. Do Your WordPress Theme Convey Structured Data To Google?
Google wants a reliable website to be shown in search results, which are authentic providing reliable information, which can be traced back to its owner. Plus those websites, which have a good amount of user reviews on them, showing user have useful content on them.
Google does this by gathering schema rich details (if) available on your website. Now here is the tricky part. Google wants to fetch those details to authenticate the website and the owner, but this can only be done through schema rich structured data. So if your website is not delivering these schema rich snippets to Google, then Google will not prefer to enlist your website in its SERP results.
I am sorry, but I do not know any technical stuff of how to resolve this. But being an experienced WordPress user, I do know how to check this.
How to check structured data provided by your theme?
Go to Google Search Console>> Web Tools>>Testing Tools>>Structured Data Testing Tool>>Fetch URL
Mention URL you want to test and you’ll get your results in the right column as in the image below:
Now go to http://schema.org/Blog to read the descriptions under Properties of Blog & Properties of Creative Work (Read the descriptions in detail to understand each).
Now compare these with your structured data results by clicking on each and check which all data is covered in it. The more details your structured data provides the better it is in eyes of Google.
Tip: There are a lot of free options available in the market to provide these details to Google, but beware they’ll add extra scripts, which will eventually slow down your websites.
So it’s better to use themes, which provide these details to google through inbuilt scripts only.
3. Is Your WordPress Theme Responsive (Mobile Friendly)?
Now, why would Google want your website to be mobile friendly? How does this affect Google? To understand that, you need to understand what Google is for and what’s its actual motto is.
Always remember this that Google is a search engine and it is on top because of its better search results. People use Google because it provides better search results and that’s the ultimate motto of Google, to provide better results.
The moment its search results started to become less relevant, people will start looking for something else. But to cease that opportunity, Google always work on its search results to make them better and better on daily basis. That’s the reason it uses more than 200 algorithms to rank a website.
Now, why mobile friendly? It’s because this is the era of mobile users and most of the users do their searches on mobile. So if someone searched for anything and Google provided the results of the website which is not mobile friendly, it’ll result in a non-satisfied user of Google.
In that case, the user will either waste his time going on to next pages to find the good results (which will be ultimate waste of time), either they’ll switch to other search engines, resulting in loss of the user. So to prevent loss of its user it needs everything to be user-friendly and that resulted in Mobile-friendly Website.
How to check whether your theme is mobile friendly?
- Go to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Enter the URL to Test
And Bammm…….you’ll be presented with the result. Well mine is mobile friendly…..hahaha
Till now we were looking a theme from Google’s Parameters and now we’ll check themes as per your requirements.
Now before we begin on this, we must consider one thing as a very important aspect for the persistence of your website is that your theme must be changed as per changes in technology.
4. Is the developer or organization stable and committed?
In order to have that you must consider choosing a theme which has a long track record of regular developer associated with it. Why long track record? It gives a message that the organization is serious enough to make that theme adaptable as per technology requirements.
5. How is the support for your WordPress Theme?
Is the organization or the developer providing committed support to their clients? This is a very important aspect to consider before buying any theme. Why? Because no theme is complete in itself and of course you are gonna make some changes in it according to you.
But if you are not a technical person and do not know how to handle things technically, then without the support of the developer you are gonna end up bad.
So definitely go for a check on customer support reviews of your theme’s developer.
6. Is Your WordPress Theme Bloated?
Well Bloated means (excessive in size or amount). Now let’s understand this in simple terms. Themes which gives or asks anything extra than itself or your requirements are bloated.
- There are many themes in the market, which asks several other plugins to be downloaded while being downloaded to function properly. They need those plugins as a support system for the theme to function properly.
- There are themes which provide their own features to provide testimonials, FAQ’s, Portfolios etc. If you are going to use them on your website on regular basis, then it’s ok, else it’s a burden for your website.
Now let’s understand these examples as a necessary part to select your theme.
Extra plugins or Extra features (not needed by you on regular basis), both are going to run those scripts in the background for your website to load and make it slow in the eyes of Google. And remember that Google does not like a slow website.
Every second of slow speed is gonna cost you SERP ranking, so ignore a bloated theme at all cost.
7. Is Your WordPress Theme Bundled/Locked With Page Builder?
If your theme is bundled and locked with a page builder, it’s even a worse situation.
- You’ll not be able to use any other page builder options available in the market;
- Might happen that your page builder is worse than other free options available in the market;
- Your page builder might be giving you additional features not even required by you, but those codes are still gonna be there to slow your website;
8. What Are The Customization options In Your WordPress Theme?
It is a must considering point before buying a theme. By options, I mean how much options are you given in the theme to make customization on your website?
Look for few basic must have answers listed below before finalizing your theme:
- Do you have the option to choose your Typography;
- Do you have the option to choose your own Colors;
- Where all you can place your widgets (header, footer, sidebar);
- Is your theme functioning properly on both desktop and mobile (Check all functions rigorously);
- Can you make your own Copyright statement on the website easily or do you need to ask the developer to do it for you (Well I prefer this);
9. Is Your WordPress Theme Child Theme Friendly?
Please do check whether your theme is child theme friendly or not. Why? Because using child theme is the best practice to use a theme in this ever-changing market.
How? Suppose you made some changes in the parent theme and saved it. Now those changes are saved in your parent theme, but when you’ll update it, every change you made will be lost. Have a look at the message you are prompted with when you are about to update your theme.
Well, you can’t even ignore updating your theme, as those updates are important for your theme to adapt itself as per ever-changing digital environment. So it’s better to use a child theme. There are lots of free child theme configuration plugins available on WordPress repository. Choose the best and use them.
10. Is Your WordPress Theme Integration Friendly?
Suppose you want to create an online store or want to deliver online courses or want an e-commerce feature to sell your own product. To have all that, your theme should be integration friendly with those softwares.
So before you choose your theme, find out how friendly they are with these kinds of integrations, as all themes are not.
Now before you go anywhere, I would like to ask you to do this one small thing. Use the comments section to mention what else do you look in a theme, before finalizing it?
11. Is Your WordPress theme compatible with different Browsers?
Don’t forget to cross check your themes on different browsers as it may not be compatible with different browsers.
You would agree that your readers will not be using the same browser to access your blog. So if your theme is not compatible with every other browser available, then, of course, you are gonna end up losing many readers.
12. Do your WordPress theme support popular plugins?
Many Themes have been seen to have issues or conflict with several popular productive plugins. So make sure that your theme is not conflicting with any of the popular productive themes.
If they do, then at a later stage, you’ll end up finding a different theme or a low-quality alternative plugin.
13. How Is The Language Compatibility Of Your WordPress Theme?
Do check the language compatibility, as it is not mandatory that all of your users are comfortable with the primary language of your blog. They may feel the need to change the language of your blog in their own language.
But if your theme is not language compatible, then you are going to lose that reader.
14. What Ratings And Reviews Your WordPress Theme Have Got?
Do consider to have a look at the ratings and reviews of the theme, as it’ll give you an insight of other users as well.
It’ll give you the picture of what is the problems they are facing while using the theme and how is the developer supporting their users.
Well, I shared my experience, now it’s your turn. Share the problems you faced/facing and the checks you are going to perform before finalizing your WordPress Theme?
One more thing, If you find this article useful & helpful in any way, to anyone, then don’t forget to “share” and “appreciate” it.
Feel free to ask questions, in case you feel stuck somewhere.
Note For Support
Please don’t forget to mention what you think is missing in this article. So that I can improve it for others as well.