Choosing & Optimizing WordPress Themes

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:: By Patricia Cher, WPDEAN ::


There are so many free themes available on the world's most popular content management system (CMS) that business owners and the developers they employ have a wide variety to choose from to help build their WordPress websites into thriving enterprises.

Selecting the right kind of theme, however, is essential for the success of any website or blog as the alternative can impact performance, security, user experience, search engine rankings and even revenue. Let's explore the types of WordPress themes and who they work best for, as well as tips to optimize each.

Types of WordPress Themes

There are three general categories of Word Press themes:

• Premium themes

• Custom themes

• Free themes

Premium Themes

Premium themes are the best types of WordPress themes to use when developing a website for a small or large-sized company. These themes are expertly designed and high in quality. Premium WordPress themes are often quite affordable, ranging from between $50 to $100 for an entire website. The cost is worth it because using premium websites comes with quite a number of benefits.

Premium WordPress themes often implement the latest and best Web standards in order to create a highly optimized and performance-focused website. Premium themes are also more flexible when it comes to customization, making them the best option when trying to create a website with a specific brand in mind. When it comes to premium themes, you will get full support for the website.

Custom Themes

Custom WordPress themes are great for creating a website with a unique look. They are great for online stores and websites that require a unique appearance. Custom themes are much more costly than premium themes ranging $3,000 and up depending on the skill and sophistication of the designer. These themes are created by the designer and developer specifically for one website, which creates a lot of flexibility and options in the design. The cost of the theme increases with the level of customization.

If you cannot afford a custom theme, you can customize a premium theme with a large amount of customization options. You can get a Web design and development company to make the customizations for you to make the premium theme appear more unique.

Free Themes

There are thousands of free WordPress themes available on the Internet today. These themes are easy to find and 100 percent free but you need to be careful with the kinds of themes you use because not all of them are up to par. There are some free themes that have been created by topnotch developers while others could be the result of a hobbyist’s afternoon. Since the Word Press theme has a huge impact on the website’s performance, extensibility and SEO, you should be very thorough when choosing a free theme to work with. You can read reviews and research about the theme to find out how well it performs.

Choosing the right Word Press theme

One size does not fit all when it comes to choosing the right Word Press theme. There are many considerations to make when choosing one. Customizing premium themes is the best option if you are looking for a website on a tight budget. Customizing premium themes is the ideal option between free themes and fully custom themes. If you have the money to splurge, you can opt for a custom theme. Free themes can be a great option for blogs and websites that are just starting up and you can switch to a premium or custom theme once you increase your income. The great thing about WordPress themes is that switching themes is extremely easy, so you do not have to be stuck with one theme that is not effective in what you need to do with your website.

Tips for optimizing Word Press themes

You can extend the ability of the theme using a few lines of code. The following are some of the simple codes that you can use to tweak the functions of the Word Press themes by adding theme to the functions.php file.

• WordPress hook allows you to insert custom code to the website without touching the template; so, whenever you need to change something on the theme, you only change the function plugged into a hook. You can add a favicon using Word Press hook, for instance.

• There are various types of mobile devices used today and you can optimize your WordPress theme to detect whether the user is on an iPhone or iPad by installing a code to detect Safari on iOS. This allows you to show alternative style or display different video formats in iOS devices for a better user experience.

• You can also remove most of the unnecessary elements in the header such as the generation meta tag, the RSD link or the wlw manifest link, which are rarely of use to most website designs. Some bloggers often remove the generation meta tag so no one can know which version of WordPress they used. You should only remove the RSD link if you do not need the XML-RPC functionality and finally, you can remove the third element if you do not use a Windows Live Writer.

• Showing your featured images in a feed, can encourage more subscribers to visit your website rather than just reading content through the RSS feed. However, by default WordPress does not display the featured image in the RSS feed. You can use specialized code to do so.

• There are so many social media sites available today and you may have found one that corresponds greatly with your website niche. Other than the standard social media buttons that comes in WordPress themes such as Facebook and Twitter; you can add your own links to social media pages using special code. This encourages subscribers to share more on other social media pages, which results in greater visibility across the Web.


Bio

Patricia Cher is a blogger on WordPress. She also writes reviews of the best themes for WordPress websites. Patricia encourages you to check out the 20 most comprehensive IT startup themes by visiting her website.

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11 comments

Shere McClamb - The bITa Doc 02-25-2016 2:46 PM

Great descriptions of the levels of themes available. You are spot on in the advice you give in choosing the right theme for the project. Hopefully, this article will inspire someone who is ready to build or update their website to take a look in the WordPress Direction.

ErnestoS 02-25-2016 3:09 PM

Next step after installing Wordpress: Install the Genesis framework.

TonyR 02-25-2016 3:25 PM

Where's the list of themes with links and reviews?

cannabis oil online 02-26-2016 2:42 AM

For general people i think Free theme is perfect.Normally most of  people use free theme.Even my first choice is free theme.

Technodar 02-26-2016 4:50 AM

I use premium theme called Sahifa its good except its so slow

JulieK 02-26-2016 8:09 AM

I agree with the other comments. Very light on helpful content. Nothing new or that is not already evident.

cach trang diem nhe nhang 02-26-2016 12:08 PM

WordPress hook allows you to insert custom code to the website without touching the template

xender download 02-26-2016 2:07 PM

i totally agree with other people , really helpful to me

ChadS 02-27-2016 9:12 AM

We have found that most themes regardless of their 'popularity' are very glitchy. We have found the Genesis framework to be much more reliable and adaptive to Wordpress updates.

Scott Ludtke 02-27-2016 3:40 PM

I agree with the majority of commentators here. Nothing new or informative to help out the average, novice WordPress user.

A big tip is security; user name and password. "Make them STRONG"

Further, keeping the website fast - optimization - is done through caching and optimizing images... Yet no tips on the best way to do that in this article either?

I agree with ErnestoS: Genesis is the way!  ;-)

SoumyaM 02-28-2016 10:38 AM

Really nice and helpful post and thanks. I needed this as I'm a beginner in WordPress :)

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