WordPress and WooCommerce are one of the most widely used eCommerce solutions. They are a perfect combination for running any kind of online store. It’s a simple and easy to use solution for both beginners and advanced users. You can set up a WooCommerce store in a short time span and start receiving payments.
One of the most important aspects of creating your WooCommerce store is choosing a theme. Your theme can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful online store. It is therefore critical to choose the right WooCommerce theme. Although you can change it later if there are issues, it will always be easier to get it right the first time.
To help you make the right decision when choosing a WooCommerce theme, we have put together this stellar guide. Without further ado let’s get started on what you need to consider when choosing a WooCommerce theme.
1. Check the features
If you are choosing a WooCommerce theme and not opting for a custom design, you will have to make some sacrifices. With a custom design, you can iron out even the smallest of wrinkles on your store. However, with a theme, you will be making some sacrifices.
Decide what is most important to you and which features are critical to your store’s success. For example, can you live without a multi-lingual theme? Do you need custom content in the header? Do you need a notification bar at the top? Note down features that you must have and others that you want but can live without in case you don’t get them. Create a list of them and use these to narrow down your search.
2. Factor in the speed
A website’s speed can make or break your user experience. No one likes waiting and you need your website to load fast. If customers are waiting for your website to load, they may leave without even seeing your website. Not many people have the patience to wait for your website to load. A slow website means lost customers and business.
A fast loading website is also vital to your search engine efforts. Search engines hate slow websites and tend to penalize them by ranking them lower in search results.
There are several factors that affect a website’s speed. The most critical one is your web host followed by the theme that you use. To check how fast a theme is you can use tools such as Google Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix, and Pingdom.
Free themes can be tested by installing them on your server and then performing speed tests.
For paid themes, you will have to test the demo website that most theme authors offer. It may not be the ideal method of testing as their hosting environment will most likely be different from yours. However, if their demo website performs well in the speed tests, it means you should be able to achieve similar results with similar hosting. You will simply be eliminating a slow theme from your search for an ideal WooCommerce theme.
3. Ensure it’s updated and supported
Do you know how many times WordPress has been updated in the recent past? Just recently, a major update was released of WordPress 5.0 that introduced the Gutenberg editor.
Several themes were not compatible with the new update and website owners were stuck with either changing the theme or not updating their WordPress version. Not updating your WordPress core, themes, and plugins can mean missing out on the latest features, security patches, and bug fixes.
It is important to choose a theme that is not developed by a single developer. As it might be difficult for the sole developer to keep up with updates. If you do, however, end up in a situation where the theme you are using is not updated, you can hire a developer to help you should you get stuck with compatibility options.
It is recommended to choose a theme that is regularly updated and has solid support backing it up. Most commercial themes do. You can find out if the theme you are considering is updated by checking the vendor’s sales page.
The WordPress directory is also a great place to find up to date themes.
Remember to always pick a theme that is regularly updated and has good support.
4. Avoid unnecessary bloat
Multi-purpose themes are loaded and packed with features. They try to appease a wider audience and therefore need to pack their themes with features. New website owners usually get wowed by these features. They end up with several features that bloat and slow down their website. Often, they don’t even need all of these features.
For example, not every website needs a mega menu. Or not every website needs fancy animations. Some of these features might look great but they awfully slow down a website. Their benefits are far less than the harm they do.
5. Consider conversion optimizations
There are several ways in which a theme can contribute to better conversions. For example, the color of the theme. Generally, it is easier to read dark colored text on a website with a light background.
It can be difficult to read light-colored text on darker backgrounds. In fact, darker background colors can be hard to get right. They can easily make visitors strain. A theme with a poor color combination can be a conversion killer.
Another example, of how a theme can have better conversions is by having a clear call to action button. The most important button on your WooCommerce store is the add to cart button. Your theme should have a clear add to cart button that stands out on the product page. It should also be easily customizable. For example, you need to be able to position it above the fold content. A sticky add to cart button could also help improve conversion.
There are several other ways in which themes can improve conversions. For example, some have built-in scarcity and urgency features. Ensure the theme you choose for your WooCommerce store has some conversion optimizations at least.
6. Ensure the theme is WooCommerce compatible
Even If you have ticked off all the above points. You still need to ensure your theme is compatible with WooCommerce. Do check the theme’s sales page or download page before making a decision to make sure it is WooCommerce compatible.
There are several other factors that you will need to consider when choosing a WooCommerce theme. Generally, this will depend on several factors such as your niche, your target audience, etc. However, the ones on this list are probably the most important ones in any scenario. We hope you now have a better idea on choosing a WordPress theme. One of the best things about WordPress is, you can easily change the theme. It may take some work but it is not impossible to do. Here is a list of 5 great WooCommerce themes, they all meet the criteria set out above.