Some website owners might think that a good theme just needs to look good. Well, that’s not wrong but it’s also not entirely correct. You need to know how to check if a theme is a good theme for your WooCommerce store. Here’s a checklist to help you decide if a WordPress theme is good for your WooCommerce Store.
Theme Ratings and Reviews
Product ratings and reviews are solid indicators of quality. These reviews come from WordPress users who have actually used the theme themselves. Note that even good themes can get a few bad reviews so take them with a grain of salt. However, if the number of bad reviews is unusually high, then it is something to be wary of.
Update Frequency and Support
Update frequency is a good sign of a solid WordPress theme. It shows that the developers are continuously making it better by addressing bugs and other security threats. Similarly, check if the developer is active in public forums. This is a good sign that you will get answers if you are ever met a problem.
Having a demo site is not optional anymore. The demo site is not just where you see how the theme looks like. It is a place where you can perform some crucial tests on it. If your theme doesn’t have a demo site, it could just be outdated or at worst it’s hiding malicious stuff.
Make sure your theme is responsive. That means it adjusts to fit different screen sizes of mobile devices. More and more traffic is now being generated from mobile devices so a theme that looks good on a mobile device will help make your WooCommerce site more competitive. In fact Google favors websites that work well across all devices. The easiest way to check for mobile responsiveness is Google’s mobile friendly test. Grab the URL of the demo site of your theme and paste it in there to check if the theme is mobile friendly.
Site Speed and Theme Bloat
You have only a few seconds to capture the attention of your e-commerce site’s visitors. Having a slow site doesn’t help. Even if your site looks good, none of that will matter if it is slow. Google hates slow websites and these slow websites are being penalized in rankings.
Themes become slow when they are loaded with unnecessary features. Be careful when the theme offers a lot of functionality that normally shouldn’t be in a theme like the ability to create sliders or change fonts, colors, and other add-ons like shortcodes, additional widgets, and content builders. The add-ons will make it hard for you to switch themes in the future. You may think you are getting good value for your money but its effects on site speed will only hurt your WooCommerce site and your SEO rankings.
Do note that other factors also affect site speed. You can read more about it in this blog post.
Cross Browser Compatibility
Your users will be using different browsers. You may not see any errors on your side but there might be something broken when someone else uses a different browser to view your site. Make sure your website looks the same across different browsers. You can use Browsershots to see how the theme looks across different versions of different browsers.
HTML isn’t so strict on errors so it will render your content as long as it isn’t something fatal. But when it comes to SEO the HTML markup is crucial. Proper HTML markup will help boost your SEO. You can easily check if your theme HTML code is valid using Markup Validation Service by W3C. Pop the theme demo site’s URL to check for errors in the HTML markup.
A good well-coded theme is lightweight and can support a wide range of popular plugins. For your e-commerce site, you need to make sure that your theme supports WooCommerce. You will often see this in the list of theme features. During development, make sure not to bloat your site with unnecessary plugins. Install only plugins that you need and will actually use.
Another good indication of a good quality theme is the availability of page templates. These templates are fetched when a certain query is performed. Make sure your theme has it all.
- home.php: the homepage template
- single.php: the template for single posts
- page.php: the template for pages
- category.php: the template for category indexes
- author.php: the template used when someone queries on the author
- date.php: the template used when someone searches for posts on a certain date
- archive.php: this template is used when either category.php, author.php ordate.php isn’t there
- search.php: used when someone searches on your blog
- 404.php: the template used when WordPress can’t find the URL on your site
Simplicity is the epitome of great design. Select a proper theme that matches the nature of your e-commerce store and will appeal to your target market. If you are planning for a content rich website, go for a more formal look with good typography for enhanced readability. If you are selling products for kids, you can be more playful with the design. Spend some time researching for a theme that addresses your needs. Consider the aspects mentioned above and decide if this is the theme for you.
Here’s a bonus. A good indication of a quality theme is the reputation of the developers who made the theme. Perform a background check on the people behind the theme. Are they helpful in the WordPress community? Do they have a good reputation? Do they respond in forums regarding questions on their creations? If you answered yes to all of these, then you’re dealing with a good developer/s and odds are their themes are great.
Our Recommended Themes
Storefront is an intuitive, lightweight, and flexible theme offering deep integration with WooCommerce. The main goal in developing Storefront is to provide a rock-solid foundation for your WooCommerce store, avoiding extra bloat and unnecessary features. It is built by the same people behind WooCommerce so the standards are as high as WooCommerce itself. To learn more about Storefront, you can check out our review.
The Genesis framework is known for its core code and is considered one of if not the best WordPress framework available. It is very flexible because of how well the core code is built. Anything can be customized around the core code using child themes. It is SEO optimized and compatible with WooCommerce.
Was this post helpful in choosing a theme for your WooCommerce store? Do you have any other tips that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.