If you opt to the script of WordPress to set up your website, you can benefit from the themes to customize the website appearance and the plugins to extend the core WordPress functions. However, choosing the right themes and plugins can be a daunting task even for some experienced and advanced users. Considering the massive number of options available, you can be easily overwhelmed and confused.
This time, we’d like to tell you what makes a great theme and a good plugin, along with the tips to choose WordPress themes and plugins perfectly.
How to Choose WordPress Themes
When picking up a WordPress theme, you need to take a lot of things into consideration. Note that the theme design should not be the only thing to think about, but some others as we have listed in the following.
Choose between the Free Themes and the Premium Themes
Generally, the price can be the first thing webmasters will consider when choosing the WordPress templates. Some of you may think that choosing the free option can be something like a no-brainer and do not think that it is necessary to spend the extra money for something you can get without any charge.
Actually, if your website is a personal one and you do not have any financial purpose of running it, the free theme is worth trying. Note that these themes always have the simple design and some minor customization options.
However, if your site is for the e-commerce or online business and you want to make the serious money from it, we highly recommend you to choose the premium theme based on the below criteria.
- The theme needs to be updated and maintained regularly. The common update frequency should be at least once a month.
- The theme developers should always provide the technical support to help you dig into the theme function easily.
- There need to be a lot of customization options to handle every design aspect of your site.
- The proper charge should range from $20 to $80.
- The theme needs to be translation-ready that has almost all the major language files.
- The theme is coded properly with the point of SEO in mind.
Choose One from the Reliable Developers
You’d better choose the theme that is developed by the reputable developers or teams instead of choosing from the nameless one. It is obvious that reliable and reputable theme designers can give you the enhanced peace of mind for the quality and security of the template. This makes sure that you can hardly run into any problem after installing and activating this theme into your site.
Choose One that Has the Look to be Compatible with Your Site Image
Surely, the theme design plays the crucial role when picking up the WordPress theme. In this case, before making the decision, you have to carefully check the theme screenshots and demo to figure out whether it can match how you hope your website to look.
In addition, you need to choose one based on your website niche and theme category. After all, a blog theme can never look like a business theme.
Choose One that Has the Features You Need
Different themes may achieve different features for you, such as the responsive design, the support for the sidebar, the full-width display of images, the support for landing page, the widgets added into the footer and the header, as well as the support for multiple page layouts, sliders, custom post types, galleries and many more.
In this case, before choosing a theme, you need to check the feature lists to make sure that it offers all the features you need. However, if a theme is overloaded with massive features you do not need at present, you’d better think twice as this kind of template may have you locked into it.
Choose One that Allows the Proper Customization
A quality template needs to give you enough customization freedom to make it match your website design. However, we have found that some themes allow the countless customization options that can be achieved by the theme control panel. It seems great, but the fact is that too many customization options may make you overwhelmed and you can hardly finish your theme configuration.
Due to this, you’d better choose a theme that ensures the proper customization for color schemes, font, header, footer, gallery, navigation and some other key aspects.
Choose One that Achieves the Responsiveness and Compatibility
At present, having a responsive website design is important. Therefore, you need to make sure that your selected template can have your contents displayed properly on any devices featuring with multiple screen sizes.
Besides, you should figure out that whether the template can be loaded quickly across different browsers, without slowing down your website and causing some problems.
As for the compatibility aspect, you need to ensure that the theme can be 100% compatible with the necessary plugins. For instance, the forum theme should be compatible with BuddyPress or bbPress and the e-commerce theme should be compatible with WooCmmerce or OsCommerce.
How to Choose WordPress Plugins
In fact, different WordPress plugins can achieve different functions for you. In this case, when choosing a plugin, you can think about the final results you hope it to achieve and select based on your needs. However, due to the massive number of plugins available now, you generally can find a lot of options that achieve the same function. In this case, you can consider the below tips to make a good selection.
Choose One that Lasts for Long
Firstly, you need to ignore some newly released ones and opt for the plugins that have been made public for a while. After all, the old plugins may result in the few chances for you to encounter the serious bugs or issues. As for the new plugins, you may meet some problems that have not been spotted yet.
Choose One that Has the Positive Reviews
Surely, you need to check the plugin reviews to figure out how other users regard this option. It is natural that you may find some negative reviews on your target plugin, but if all the reviews are the bad ones, you’d better stay away from this option.
In addition, you’d better not only check the good reviews, but also have a look at the negative ones to figure out what issues people have encountered with the plugins. This way, you may avoid some potential problems effectively.
Choose the Lightweight Plugin
You can never choose a bloated plugin for it can result in the bad effect on your page loading speed, causing some unnecessary loads on your web server. Instead, you should consider the lightweight plugin. Some developers may highlight the lightweight nature on the plugin feature page. Or, you can leverage the P3 plugin to test the plugin running performance.
Choose One that Has the Great Rating and Downloads
Actually, instead of going with some paid plugins offered by the third parties, we highly recommend you to choose from the Plugin Directory of WordPress.org. This directory will display the star rating of each listed plugin so as to give you a direct impression of whether it is worth using or not. The rating ranges from 1 star to 5 stars by default. Generally, a good plugin always has the 4-star or the 5-star rating.
In addition to the rating, you also need to check about the download times. Here, you’d better choose a plugin that has been downloaded for at least 500 times.