One of the many factors of a fast-loading site is optimizing your web design. Providing your audience with a seamless and hassle-free way to access your content help increase return visits. Also, using a design template that’s not bloated with useless code makes it easier for web browsers to deliver content to visitors.
If you are a WordPress user, the specific problem you will have regarding site design is choosing the best theme. The CMS is known to power more than 76 million websites in different niches and industry. Aside from its customization options and flexibility as a publishing platform, getting a theme that best reflects your brand is done with a simple click of a button. From there, you can tweak as you see fit to achieve a unique look that separates your business from the rest.
While the above description of how WordPress themes work is accurate, it is not always as simple as it seems. You need to look at themes not simply from an aesthetic perspective, but also from a functional one. A theme may look great, but if it makes your site load slow and hampers the user experience, then it is a useless theme.
Therefore, since you want to attract traffic and increase conversion rate, then you seriously need to choose a theme that will help you achieve both.
In this post, I will discuss with you the factors that you should look for in a WordPress theme and enumerate the themes that meet the criteria. From here, you will be able to make an informed decision about the value of the WordPress theme you use on your site and which themes you should settle with.
However, first things first…
Why should you go for a “premium” theme?
A lot has been said about using paid or free WordPress themes. On one hand, themes are not as important as content and other factors that help you meet your goals with your online business. In fact, they would claim that a free WordPress theme is enough to help turn your business into a money-making machine.
Another factor that plays into the argument of free WordPress theme users is that every theme searchable from your dashboard undergoes a stringent review process. If you can find them in your site’s Themes section, chances are that it is good enough for use.
On the other hand, free WordPress themes are available to the public can be used by anyone. Therefore, by using something that everybody can use, it removes away the uniqueness and value of your site. If you want to impress people with your site and eventually turn them into subscribers or customers, you need an exclusive theme that will make you stand out from the pack. For this reason, people use premium themes to power their site’s design and layout.
Most importantly, premium themes are perfect for SEO. They usually are lightweight due to lean and minimal coding. Therefore. if you are serious about getting higher ranking for your site pages, then premium themes are the way to go. To understand the value of a WordPress theme in SEO speak, then proceed to the next section.
What are factors that comprise a great theme?
As mentioned, you need to look beyond appearance when choosing a WordPress theme. Not to discredit the factor that a site’s look play in your online business, but you want a theme that helps put your brand on the pedestal and makes it easier for people to view your content.
In fact, SEO governs the bulk of the reason why you need to think about the theme you’re using. You want your site design to help position it to higher ground in organic search results.
Below are variables that you need to look into to determine whether or not a theme is right for your site.
The best WordPress theme is one that gets the job done using the least amount of resources.
There are lots of themes out there jam-packed with seemingly useful features. However, there’s a chance that you won’t be using most of them – you’ll probably turn onto better plugins as alternatives. Since the unused features exist in your theme, they will eat up resources from your server, thus potentially cause your site to load slower than expected.
By choosing a lightweight theme, you focus on providing your audience with a simple way to check out your content, which should be your priority in the first place.
Built-in SEO features
Once your page is ranking in organic search, the first three things users will see about your site is your meta title and description and its URL. Inputting your target keyword for each page or post is done by editing its permalink from the text editor. For the other two, You may need to download a separate plugin if the WordPress theme you’re currently using does not offer the option to edit your meta tags.
While plugins are immensely helpful towards your site goals, they can take up resources from your server unnecessary, thus slowing down your site. Most of the times, it is best to find a way to hard-code certain features in your site so you don’t have to download plugins. Unfortunately, if you’re not a developer, you have no choice but to download the plugin anyway instead of running the risk of breaking your site.
Therefore, if you clamor for SEO features, it is best to find a theme that offers such features. Doing so keeps you from downloading plugins that will slow down your site.
Technology has changed how users consume information. Due to the developments in mobile technology, the majority of users nowadays access online content from their smartphones and mobile devices. Since the screen and resolution of these devices are smaller, it is important for your site to adapt its appearance depending on the device’s size. If not, then it will be difficult for your audience to browse on a site that doesn’t fit on their mobile screens. As a result, this will cause people to leave your site and never come back again.
By using a responsive design as offered by most premium WordPress themes, your site’s layout adjusts according to the resolution of the mobile device. Therefore, you can provide mobile users an optimized way of viewing your site’s content without compromising on usability.
Now that we’ve discussed the features that you need to look for in a WordPress theme, it’s time to consider the choices you have that pass the test with flying colors.
StudioPress is a WordPress theme developer that offers state-of-the-art design and performance to meet the needs of any site owner, whether you’re a blogger or online seller. All of their themes run on the Genesis Framework.
This is the barest and most lightweight theme in the market, which is, in fact, is the biggest draw. The Genesis Framework helps run a fast-loading and high-performing site, so you don’t have to worry about bloated coding. It also has a built-in meta tag editor, so you don’t have to install a plugin that does the same thing.
The theme is also the most powerful as it receives support from third-party developers for add-ons.
- Customizable theme options
- Custom page templates
- Featured content widgets on your sidebar
- Mobile responsive
- Can be installed on unlimited number of sites (perfect for niche marketers)
- Airtight security – not exposed to the usual vulnerabilities present in other WordPress themes
- Access to detailed tutorials on how to customize your theme further
Let’s start with one of the most popular WordPress themes in the market. What makes Avada one of the most purchased themes is how it allows people without any design experience to create a beautiful design from the ground up.
Through its Fusion Builder feature, you can drag and drop elements onto a page to achieve the look and feel you’ve always wanted for your site in a matter of minutes. If you’re a frustrated designer who intends to create a site, You can further customize your site design using 50 design elements at your disposal. This potentially reduces installing plugins on your site and simply rely on the elements to get the job done.
Avada is also has a base built for SEO and speed. It is also compatible with SEO plugins so you can further optimize your site and increase your position on SERPs.
- Endless customization options to help build a stunning website for your business
- Import design demos and templates from its database, so you don’t have to start from scratch
- Multi-lingual and RTL-ready
- Advanced typography and background options for better design
- 5-star customer support
Thesis is a popular WordPress framework that is used to run websites of brands such as Bath and Beyond, Krispy Kreme, InfusionSoft, and others. The framework may not be as widely used as Genesis or Avada, but it is nonetheless known for helping people build fast and beautiful websites for their businesses.
What makes Thesis stands out over the others is its patent-pending visual template editor. It gives non-developers and coding-challenged people an easy and convenient way to build sites fast.
If you want to add features on your site like an email sign-up form or sharing buttons from your favorite social media site, Thesis offers Boxes that you can add and arrange within your pages. This way, you encourage your audience to take action by simply adding these eye-catching elements to your page. Again, no coding required!
Lastly, the theme is an SEO’s dream. Not only is the theme lightweight, which means fewer HTTP requests from the browser to server and back (one of the main causes of site slowdown), but it also offers you to create a Markup Scheme on all your pages. In other words, you will provide all the information needs to know about your site, which could help increase your search rankings!
- Mobile responsive
- Vibrant community – all your questions and concerns about how to use Thesis Framework are answered here
Another drag and drop website builder theme for WordPress, Divi 3.0 makes it incredibly easy for you to build an optimized website and hard not to take advantage of its amazing features.
Its main selling point is how you can create a beautiful website without coding knowledge. Similar to Avada, you can choose from different design options to achieve the appearance you want for your site and modules to include in your page or post. You can also choose from its pre-made templates if you want a design that you can edit with your details in it.
While Divi is indeed easy to use from a design perspective, the theme has crippling disadvantages that you need to consider before taking it head-on to build your sites. In particular, shifting from a Divi theme to another will cause your site to break into continuous lines of shortcodes. You can read more about it in this post by Chris Lema.
From an SEO standpoint, Divi gives you the ability to assign custom descriptions, keywords, and fields for each page to supercharge your SEO.
- Low price barrier – $69/year for Divi 3.0 and all themes and plugins under the Elegant Themes banner
- 20+ layout templates to choose from
- Create and save custom Divi layouts
- Share and download custom layouts in exclusive community
If you’re a blog owner and are looking for a WordPress theme that suits your needs and wants, then Schema is for you.
As it stands, Schema is the perfect premium WordPress theme for publishers. It is created with the blogger who earns from ads in mind. The theme has rich-snippet content to help provide search engine users with all the information they need to know about your page to hopefully increase CTR.
- Ad management – keep track of your ad earnings so you can measure the performance of each block
- Built-in review system – Crowdsource for opinions about your post. Rating will show on rich snippet of SERPs
- Unlimited backgrounds to choose from – create more appealing websites using the available backgrounds
- Useful shortcodes to help you create attractive CTAs
- Related posts module – Show posts at the bottom of content related to the one your audience has just read
- Mobile responsive
When it comes to the best WordPress themes, then you can’t go wrong with any of the themes above. Not only do they offer the best SEO features to power your blog or site, but they are also easy enough for novices to use. All the themes above with help you create a high-performing site that will put you in a good position to rank for your respective keywords.