There are over 10.000 WordPress themes available on the market. With so many to choose from, deciding which one to use for your small business website is far from a simple task. If you were to search through every single theme in existence and consider each one in the context of your website, it would take you a very, very long time. In fact, by the time you had finished, there would be a ton of new ones which you would need to look at!

Choosing the right WordPress theme is important for obvious reasons. The right theme will showcase your business in a positive light, be responsive and optimised for all devices (very important!) and load very quickly.

With so many different themes available, however, how do you know when you’re looking at one which ticks all the right boxes? It is a daunting task, you have to admit.

Before you buy or download a WordPress theme (or spend money having one customised), make sure to read through our list of dos and don’ts below. This list will help you figure out how to settle on a theme for your small business website.

Do Know What You Want Ahead of Time

Not all WordPress themes are the same. In fact, different themes tend to come with a range of different features and functionalities. Before you select a theme or go hunting for one, it is important to figure out which features you need as part of yours.

Luckily, WordPress has a search function which enables you to search for themes based on features. Using this, you can filter themes by features such as:

  • Supporting multiple languages
  • Fully customisable
  • Grid or column layout
  • Accessibility ready

You should only go with a theme which has the features you want, and not much else; there is no point in choosing a theme which has a ton of things you don’t need and will never use.

Do Ensure Your Theme is Responsive

This is very, very important. Google is now prioritising websites which have a responsive theme, optimised for use across all devices. It is known as the Mobile First Index and it is not something that should be ignored.

Simply put, if you are not using a theme which is responsive and displays correctly across any device imaginable, you will not rank highly, or at all, in search engine results pages. Most WordPress themes on the market today are already optimised and responsive; however, you should double and triple check that this is the case before you part with any money or spend time editing a theme which isn’t suitable.

In any case, a responsive and optimised theme provides the best user experience, and this should always be your goal. The majority of internet traffic now comes from mobile and it is unlikely that your website will be an exception to this.

Do Consider a Premium Theme

You get what you pay for in this world, and WordPress themes are no exception to this rule!

Yes, there are many options for free WordPress themes out there and they are great if you are on a budget; however, they are not as good as premium themes by their very nature. Free themes are often unsupported, not regularly updated and come with inherent issues.

By paying for a premium theme, you are paying for a robust, supported premium product which is regularly updated. Premium themes more often than not offer a lot more features, are fully customisable, dynamic and look a lot better than free ones. If you are serious about your website, you should be investing in one.

Don’t Choose a Theme which is Hard to Read

No matter how much you like the look of the theme or how well it fits your business image, a theme which is hard to read is an instant turn off for customers.

Your theme should make capturing your visitors’ attention quick and instantaneous; a theme which is hard to read and understand is going to cause visitors to abandon your site and never return. By using simple readable fonts such as Calibri and Open Sans at a regular size such as 12, your content will be easy to read.

It is usually a simple case of adjusting a theme’s font; however, this ties into how customisable the theme you are using is. If it is a premium theme you will 100% be able to adjust the font; however, we cannot say the same for a free theme.

Don’t Use a Cluttered Theme

Less is more when it comes to WordPress themes. Although you may think that a theme with every feature imaginable is a great idea, it often is not. A theme which is overly cluttered with features and extra elements may look nice, but it can have a massive impact on site performance.

Additionally, themes which are overly cluttered break a lot more often and require constant maintenance to keep everything running smoothly. Whilst you may love the idea of being able to play music through your website, how many of your visitors will actually care about or even want this functionality? Virtually none, we can guarantee that!

When choosing a theme, follow the less is more approach and only include features which you cannot function without and avoid themes which are packed full of unnecessary additions.

Although choosing a WordPress theme can be a challenge, a little due diligence goes a long way. We always recommend that you invest at least some money into a premium theme; they perform a lot better in the long-term and give your WordPress site an edge against the thousands of others which settle for unsuitable free ones.

Most themes, however, can be improved. Many of them are open source and are highly customisable. If you ever get stuck, you can call in WordPress experts to fix your problems for you. Given the size of WordPress, there are individuals and agencies who work on WordPress themes and plugins full-time, meaning you have more time to concentrate on your site by leaving the professionals to do their jobs.

Michael Deane
Michael Deane

Michael Deane is the Editor of Qeedle, a small business magazine, and has been working as a marketing executive for nearly a decade. He manages teams with great success, aiming to facilitate better conversion rates and return on investment for his clients.