Choosing a New WordPress Theme

Choosing a New WordPress Theme

There are many things to consider when choosing a WordPress Theme… we can’t cover them all in a single video, but this is how I go about selecting a new theme for my client websites.

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Hi folks, Paul Barrs here, signing in for a quick video. Let’s have a look at the things that we should consider when choosing a WordPress theme. Now I’ve been going through looking for a new theme for a client with just sort of a kids fun general style of theme. I’ve looked through over a dozen already, and I figured I might as well record a video to show you what I’m looking for as a designer. This will give you some hints and some tips.

Right now I’m at the Envato marketplace using ThemeForest. Now this is one of many different places where you can pick up WordPress-based themes. They also have here code pieces, graphics, so much different stuff. I love this place. But a word of caution. When you’re in a marketplace like this and it’s, hey, every Tom, Dick and Harry can be selling stuff, you’ve really got to dig deep. Make sure that you’re getting what you want, what you’re paying for even though they’re not much. I mean look at this, $59 U.S., not much, plus a bit more for extended support – always worthwhile with a theme. But we need to find out what does that support include and so on.

So here’s how I go through it. First things first, the client that I’m working on this site for, they want to be able to sell things, courses, programs, etc. from their site. So it must have, firstly and foremostly, WooCommerce integration. If I look up here, Software Versions, we’ve got our WordPress and compatible with WooCommerce. That’s important. That’s the first thing.

Plus, I myself have to like the design, but more importantly I want to come over to the reviews and I want to find out what people don’t like about it. Now, generally, these will be sorted by newest or best, but I want to see the lowest possible ratings first. I want to see what people say who didn’t like it.

So we go through here. Right, obviously the theme’s got to be activated in some way. Support has responded seven days ago. All right, it doesn’t say how long it took them to respond there.

Zero stars or one star for feature ability two months ago. Bought the theme, promised ecommerce. Now this is interesting. This is for me. I’ve got to look at this. Absolutely underdeveloped and lacked. Maybe they’re looking for additional features. We already addressed all your issues. The refund is possible for theme bugs but not for theme suggestions. Look, to me that’s fair enough. A lot of people don’t understand how WooCommerce works for example. You can purchase additional plugins for special features.

Purchase code not working, not updating. They’ve gone in there. One, two, hmm, okay that’s it. How many was that? One, two, three, four, five one-star reviews. How many have they had out of 500? What’s that, 1%? Pretty good, pretty good. And why these people? Don’t know, but that doesn’t alarm me, four or five. Not a problem at all. Fifty or sixty, oh I’d be walking away from that theme real quick.

But let’s find out. What does the support include? There’s a video. Don’t need to watch that. Does not include customizations and installations. Not a problem. That’s what I’m going to be doing for the client.

So first things first, from a support point of view or from a problem point of view not too many. We’ve had 1,600 sales. We’ve got an average four and a half stars. That’s pretty good as well.

All right. Well, let’s take a look at the thing. Let’s see if it’s going to do what I need it to do. So I’m going to click on Live Preview. There are a couple of things that I’m looking for here as well.

One is just the page layout, because I’m not customizing the page layout, i.e. how a page appears. Slider, these things, we can put these over here, and we can swap this over here and so on. Sure, but this is the home page general layout. We can remove elements, and we can replace with elements. No problem, we can do those things, but we’re not creating a new home page, which is completely different to any of these for example.

So let’s go to pages. All right, I’m just mousing down here, and I can see that there are different things. Let’s have a look at their pricing tables for example, what kind of short code they’re using for that. Yeah, I’ve seen these before. They’re easy to work, and there’s a clickable link there to then go through and look at the others as well. Happy with that.

But what I’m going to be going through here is looking at the different options, because these are pre-built options. These save me time if I say, “Yeah, I like this header style.” Well, that’s header two. Let’s have a look at header three and go, “Ah yes, I can see the differences, menu centered here and so on.” I like header three. Therefore I’m just going to get it to do that, and I don’t need to then customize the different things.

Let’s have a look at the pre-built About Us page. Well, that’s just a normal boring page, but it’s got the elements in there that I would need.

Our staff, oh yeah, let’s have a look at the people page. There they are down there. Don’t know why they’re down there. But usually with these pages you’ll find that if I don’t want this section, I can just remove that section. Okay, if I don’t want this section, I can remove that section and so on.

Services. Events. Portfolio. Look, all of them are going to be okay. That’s just fairly normal.

Blog. I do like to look at the blog as a two column with, in this case, a right sidebar. That’s how I think the blog should be appearing. That’s its normal view. Yeah, that’s nice. That’s tidy. Now if we click through to one of these, read more, let’s have a quick look. Yeah, that’ll be fine. Happy with that.

Let’s have a look at the shop, and we’ll go to a three column with no sidebar. Never have a sidebar on your shop, folks. You really don’t need that.

All right. Just click through. This is obviously, I’m guessing, WooCommerce integrated. So that’s going to run. All right, now if they are going to want to run some courses, for example, they may want the additional WooCommerce plugin for tickets, and that’s an add-on. So that’s fine.

The cart, the checkout, the Contact Us, let’s just have a quick look at that. Look, I’m kind of happy with this theme. Yeah, I don’t need that big ass map there. Not there. I’d move that down the bottom of the page, unless there was a pre-built page already there with it. No.

Contact layout three. No, no, I don’t like that one. I’ve got no problem with having the map, but you don’t want that to be the very, unless you’re a shop and people are looking for you. But I really don’t recommend it.
Okay, got a few things here. All right. It’s got some options. But now I’m going to do this. Watch this. This is important. Up at the top here I’m going to remove the frame so I’m just running on the theme itself. Now they haven’t really given us many options in terms of the home page, but that’s okay. I don’t mind what I’ve got there.
But now I’m going to go to Google’s Check My Demo site and test the site speed, because this is important. If this thing is lousy and pathetic, it means there’s more work for me to do to try and get it into the green. Sometimes it’s not even possible because of the way the theme is coded and everything that’s running on it. So let’s have a quick glance. Oh, that’s not the best is it? That’s not good at all.

Let’s have a look and see what those elements are. I’ll just come down to what to fix from the mobile point of view. Optimizing images, easy to fix. Eliminate JavaScript in the above the fold content, that’s a coding thing. Reducing server’s response time, okay, so that obviously can’t be fixed here. It’s not uncommon to see this reduce server response time. You can pay more, different service, but not uncommon to see this.

This one, a little bit of work. That one’s the biggest one. Probably going to make a significant difference and that’s easy to do, so not good.

But let’s just have a look at one more as well. So here we have one of the more popular ones – GTmetrix.com. It’ll just add it to the queue. It’s only testing it from Vancouver, Canada. There are others. You can have a look in my links, tools, and resources page. I’ll just pause this video one moment while it runs the site, and then we’ll have a look. And she’s up. There you go.

Okay, here’s the biggest issue. Look at this, total page size six megabytes, and I would bet anything that that is some of these images. If I go to View Image, that’s not a particularly big image that one. Let’s have a quick look. No, 300 kilobytes for that image, that’s all right. Scrolling down, what have we got? This one, View Image Info. No, that’s not too bad. More images, though. Look at them all. That could well be the problem, so many different images. We did have that from beforehand, didn’t we?

Well, look folks, it’s just giving you an idea of the kind of things that you want to be looking at. I’m not totally thrilled with this theme, but the only thing that’s not thrilling me is the site speed. Everything else seems to be okay for me at the moment.

So last thing that I will do is get my tech guy to run his eye over it, have a quick look at it and then give me a thumbs up or down.

I hope you found that interesting, useful, and informative. Talk soon. This is Paul Barrs from PaulBarrs.com signing off.