Tips for choosing free WordPress themes
Launched in May 2003, the WordPress platform has evolved to become one of the most popular CMS used by businesses and freelancers to create and distribute content on the web. Its ease of use and versatility have allowed for advanced features and customization options to be implemented in a simple and effective manner.
Since the beginning, free or premium themes have been produced to customize the graphic aspect, but as the web is dynamic, so are the templates and design. Thus, a theme used in 2005 is no longer adapted to today’s standards in terms of accessibility and readability for a page.
How important is it to use a theme that is in tune with the times?
A WordPress page, no matter how light it is from a hosting point of view, is still quite slow compared to a static layout in pure HTML. This happens because being a CMS, WordPress performs operations with a greater use of time and resources.
Using a theme that is loaded quickly therefore speeds up the loading of content on the user’s device. In addition, well-organized themes, whether in demo, free or premium mode, are a great starting point for reducing the bounce rate, i.e. the percentage of exit on the page viewed.
As a result, an optimized theme ensures regular visits to your WordPress blog, better organization of content and a positive user experience. While free themes are often outdated, premium templates guarantee better results.
What are the factors of a quality template?
Improving page load speed is an important parameter to consider, as it allows Google to evaluate the quality of a WordPress site. Assuming that your hosting service is fast, but you install themes in WordPress with a non-optimized slider, running in Java Script. In this case, the page response time (loading all elements so that they are visible to the visitor) will be estimated at 5 seconds.
Even if these 5 seconds seem few in real life, they actually represent an eternity on the web, both from the user’s point of view and that of search engines. To keep up with the pace of change, it is therefore necessary to ensure that your WordPress web and blog support is fast and light. This will prevent users from getting bored while waiting, or worse, from a search engine causing your web page to lose SERP rankings.
Neglected or absent, the cleanliness and lightness of the integration code is a real drawback. As in all programming languages, PHP (WordPress is written almost entirely in this language) or other, operations can be performed in several ways. If some are fast, others are slower.
The work then consists in understanding if a theme has been optimized or not. The method: analyze the weight of the files loaded in the WordPress. The best themes are those that take up the least space. With the same functionality, a template with less weight certainly has a higher speed. Also, the operations are better performed.
Don’t fall into over-optimization
Every WordPress theme allows you to display elements such as related posts, tags and widgets in the sidebar. Despite being useful for the user, these widgets can lead to repetition on a page. In this case, Google will not evaluate your web pages as authentic, but rather as a site full of spam. To do this, remember to check the links to the internal pages of the site once the theme is installed.
Design and graphics are not everything…
Even though the visual aspect of a page is very important, you should not choose free WordPress themes with only excellent graphic features. It is essential that the selected template also has a good organization of the contents, which, when viewed by the user, are ordered and quickly accessible.
One of the most essential elements when choosing: the theme control panel. You will find many premium or demo themes that offer convenient features aimed at making it easier to change the logo, insert slideshows or implement CSS code. These themes are certainly the best ones to customize your page design with ease. Some themes even allow you to change the look of the WordPress site in a few simple steps, but you will have to make sure that they are compatible with your browser.
Template and Browser
When you buy a premium theme, it is usually compatible with all browsers, but for some free themes, this is not always the case. The problem is related to the adherence of these demo templates to the W3C protocol. However, this feature offers many advantages since it allows users to quickly access your site from search engines or social networks. So remember to choose an adapted and compatible theme when choosing your WordPress themes.
It is the same for an ecommerce site and a woocommerce company. A responsive theme will be preferable especially if your WordPress blog or your web page is aimed at mobile users.
The style for WordPress
More used by web designers and developers, pre-designed styles are a graphic solution that has an important advantage. In fact, they are basic architectures that can be taken as templates to arrange the design and customization of your pages. Even though they are easily customizable, this WordPress feature is not suitable for starting a job from scratch.
These pre-built design templates are very convenient since much of the programming has already been done by the designer. All that’s left is to take care of the graphics and customization of the blog on the WordPress account to perfect the result. Here again, the choice of a premium style can be more secure. You can also take advantage of additional customization options to improve the design and appearance of the site.
Beware of the code
Very often, some authors of free themes for WordPress create real traps. In particular, we are talking about templates that contain malicious code, i.e. code that performs actions that could compromise the security of the website.
In most cases, the malicious actions are performed without the knowledge of those who installed the theme, allowing unauthorized access to the site through which hackers can sneak in.
To make WordPress more secure and prevent this type of vulnerability, do not install any templates or widgets without feedback. Avoid special plugins and free themes that can bring malicious embedding codes to your blog. If possible, choose premium styles, features and themes or at least those that are rated well by users.
What about free paid themes?
On the WordPress network, there is a lot of paid software available for free download. This is especially true of themes from ThemeForest that are purchased once and then redistributed illegally through downloads.
It seems like a great opportunity to save a few bucks, but it’s a real scam. While the WordPress themes in question can be installed and used without cost, their programming code is completely compromised. It actually features customizations and features intentionally modified by crackers in order to get traffic information, but also to create easy backlinks and backdoors (holes in the system that can be used for security attacks on your site). So stay away from this kind of offer.
If you want to use a professional template suitable for your WordPress website or blog, invest in buying a premium template from a company that provides free or paid themes, but in any case that are original.