- When was it built?
- Who built it?
- Is there a page builder included?
As a freelance WordPress developer, I’ve worked with lots of different themes. Choosing a decent theme is important, because it can positively or negatively affect so many aspects of building and maintaining the website. More importantly, a theme can make a significant difference in how fast the website loads (especially with budget hosting).
Not a developer? Not to worry! By taking a little time to check for these three things, you will greatly improve the quality of your website.
1. When was it built (or last updated)?
Finding out when the theme was built or last updated matters, because the web moves fast. Technology is always changing. I’m not trying to say the theme needs to have been built yesterday. There are plenty of quality themes out there that are a few years old. If the theme wasn’t built within the last three years (or maaybe four if it was built by a reputable company), I would probably avoid it.
Why? Well, if it uses a page builder, chances are the page builder is very heavy and outdated. If it doesn’t use a page builder, you most likely don’t have many layout or customization options. By buying a new theme, it is likely to be lighter and more flexible.
2. Who built it?
It’s a very good idea to take a look at who built a theme before buying one for obvious reasons. A theme could have been built by a hobbyist in a weekend; or it could have been built and tested by a team of experienced professionals.
Check the reviews for both the theme itself and its creator. Is the company selling other themes made by the same people? Do they seem to have a proven track record?
Lastly, check to see if support for the theme is offered. Does the theme come with documentation/instructions?
3. Is there a page builder included?
I can’t tell you if you need a page builder for your WordPress theme or not. There are many cases where having a page builder is important. Maybe you don’t have the budget to pay a developer to code everything from scratch, or maybe you just want to be able to make small design edits yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with using a page builder. What does matter is if it’s a good page builder or not. In the theme’s description if will say if there is a page builder included. Google the page builder and see what people are saying about it.
If possible, I would try to stick to the most popular builders out there. For example, Elementor, Divi and Beaver Builder are all good options. I personally try to avoid WPBakery and Visual Composer.
Of course, there are tons of good page builders out there. What I’m trying to convey here is that you should at least check the page builder’s reviews before buying a theme that uses it.
That’s it! I’ll end the post by saying that if you have the budget for it, I’d highly recommend talking to a WordPress developer before purchasing a theme. More often than not, I’m given a theme to work with for a new website build. A few times, if I had been consulted before purchasing the theme, the development process would have been faster and the theme would have been lighter, faster and more flexible for future changes.