The digital world is spawning at an exponential rate. Every hour, roughly 1,000 websites are created. We’re talking petabytes of new data every single hour. To understand the sheer size and volume of that, there’s one million gigabytes in a petabyte or 1,000 terabytes. Considering that the human mind is estimated to be able to hold 1.25 terabytes of data, one petabyte is equivalent to approximately 800 human minds.
While those numbers could most certainly shock and awe you, the truth is that many of the newcomers to the online world rely on the WordPress platform to help streamline the process of getting their website up and running quickly and easily. With over 100 million websites and counting, WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in existence. That might be why the WordPress theme market is burgeoning and exploding.
However, with tens of thousands of themes in existence, how do you know which WordPress theme is the best one for your next website project? While this can most certainly be a subjective topic, these pre-built themes, which offer a far smoother transition into cyberspace, are scooped up in droves.
Some of these themes are terrific for ecommerce stores while others are great for starting a blog. However, the best theme for your project will be based on a few criteria. Not only should they be aesthetically appealing to the eye, but they also need to be mobile responsive. Considering that Google’s search is now a mobile-first index, and mobile searches far outpace desktop, responsiveness in design is important.
When a design is responsive, it looks and functions just as well on mobile and tablet devices as it does on desktop. However, building a responsive design on your own is no simple feat. Trust me, I’ve built loads of them. And unless you rely on a system like Twitter’s Bootstrap, building responsive designs for different media types is an exhaustive endeavor. That’s why some of the best WordPress themes have placed special weight on this one crucial aspect.
Related: CMS Battle for Beginners: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal (Infographic)
How to choose the best theme for your website.
Whether you’ve just started a business, or you’re trying to figure out the type of business you want to start, there are some things to look for when selecting a theme for your WordPress site. Some themes offer great support for ecommerce stores while others are terrific for membership-based sites. Either way, you’ll usually need some plugins to make everything function smoothly with one another.
After nearly two decades of software engineering, web development and SEO mastery, I can tell you that there are 7 critical categories that any software application or extension (i.e. WordPress theme) is judged on.
1. Ease-of-installation: While there are tons of WordPress themes out there, the best ones are easy to install. There should be a simple interface that will help you get started quickly and easily, without a lot of fuss or programming know-how.
2. Degree of customization allowed: Pre-built add-ons, tailor-made plugins and a high degree of customization make themes that much more powerful. While some themes focus on a high degree of customization, others don’t.
3. Mobile usability: Mobile usability is crucial. Considering Google places heavy weight on this, finding the right WordPress theme that supports a responsive mobile design should be one of the defining factors in your quest for the ideal theme.
4. Overall speed: As a developer, I can tell you firsthand that your style of coding counts for a lot. It can either be bogged down by excessive code, or be light and compact. The latter is important to facilitate the overall speed of page loads, which is a crucial factor when it comes to things like SEO and visitor retention.
5. Aesthetic appeal of design: The aesthetic appeal of the theme is important. How polished is the look and feel? Does it look amateur or professional? People pay acute attention to design, so be sure to select the right theme that supports a high-quality design.
6. Customer reviews: Reviews are important when it comes to any product or service. And, when it comes to discovering the right theme, you should do your due diligence into the experiences of others. What’s the general consensus on that theme? Are they authentic reviews?
7. Ongoing support and upgrades: Support is an important aspect in any business, especially in one that requires constant evolution and upgrades to keep up with core upgrades to the WordPress platform. Be sure that whatever theme you purchase, that they provide some sort of on-going or limited support and that they’re constantly evolving, upgrading and adding new features.
Related: 25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress
Top themes for WordPress sites.
While any list of themes for WordPress might be considered subjective, the preceding list of criteria help to laser-focus the approach to finding the perfect one. Below are what I consider to be some of the best themes that are out there.
I’m partial to X-Theme. It’s the theme that I presently use on my blog. And I’ve had an incredible experience with it. It hits all 7 of the criteria that I’ve laid out and does so particular well. X-Theme was created by ThemeCo, and it offers a highly-customizable, mobile-friendly, easy-to-use interface for your WordPress website. This one is definitely worth checking out.
Another one of the most versatile themes I’ve come across out there, Avada is one of the best-selling themes of all time and was created by Theme Fusion. It offers up a powerful design interface, allowing you to customize nearly all of the graphical elements of your WordPress site.
Hexater is a fantastic theme that allows you to quickly and easily customize your site without investing hundreds of hours trying to figure out how it works or having a PhD in graphic design. This theme offers quick-to-market renditions for things like product launches, ebooks and niche authority sites, as just a few examples.
BeTheme is a massive theme built for WordPress with over 260 variations that can be launched with a single click. This powerful theme is beautiful, responsive, fast-loading and highly customizable. The company offers fast and reliable support, lifetime updates and the framework is optimized for SEO.
The7 is one of the most customizable themes that are available for the WordPress platform. It includes a visual composer with a beautiful design wizard and over 750 theme options, along with over 26 pre-built websites that are quickly and easily launchable with a single click.
Flatsome is a great theme if you’re planning to run an ecommerce store with the WooCommerce plugin. It’s by far one of the best-selling WordPress themes for WooCommerce out there. It’s highly customizable, provide on-going updates, is fast-loading, boasts a responsive design and has beautiful pre-built designs with on-going updates.
Uncode is a WordPress theme that gives you with the ability to create beautiful designs within an ultra-fast-loading framework. There are over 200+ layouts, a versatile visual composer and provides over 30 ready-for-market designs to get you up and running quickly and seamlessly.
Gensis is a framework for WordPress that allows you to create beautiful and stunning websites that are highly customizable. This theme offers a light-weight design that’s highly optimized for speed, and provides advanced customization options, giving you the ability and flexibility to build just about any type of website with the framework.
Pixelgrade offers a visually-stunning WordPress theme that’s designed for a variety of situations, best suited for a variety of occupations such as restaurateurs, photographers, bloggers, designers and more. The theme is customizable, responsive and very easy-to-use.
Storefront is a bulletproof WordPress theme that was specifically designed for the WooCommerce add-on. It’s a great way to build an ecommerce store quickly and easily, offering up extensible customization options with a fast-loading framework that makes creating an online story easy and straightforward.