Best WordPress Theme? 7 Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Theme (2018)

In this video want to give you seven questions to ask before you choose a WordPress theme that you're going to use on your website and it's perfect for anyone that is building a new website or on the market for a new WordPress theme I think you're in a find it very helpful hi my name is Adam from WPCraftercom were make WordPress tutorial videos for non-techies if you knew your consider clicking on the subscribe button you can be joining 53,000 other subscribers to this channel you don't want to miss a thing click on the bell and you too will let you know when I have a new video you know my only reason right now for pointing out the 53,000 subscribers is because that says something you don't just wake up and have your YouTube channel grow to 53,000 subscribers unless you're giving sensible advice and that is what this video is going to be a sensible advice for you things to think about and seven questions to ask before you choose a WordPress themes let's go ahead and jump on into the video right so here are the seven questions however I want to start with some ground rules and through the whole video may try to go through it a little on the faster side to key this video fast-paced but I'm to be jumping in and out of various WordPress websites with various themes installed on them to show you the differences which will help you understand the questions and the options that are out there and are available but I want to start with some ground rules number one I'm not picking on any one WordPress theme so don't go attacking me down in the comments section number two people love their theme and that's okay so what might happen here is people that are you know that they they really love the theme that they have and they will start attacking anyone that might show that there might be a better way that's okay but just keep in mind I'm not picking on any theme this is more discussion points that I think are helpful for everybody if you disagree with me that's okay as well there's a comments section down below where you can go ahead and put those disagreements down there and all of the questions are meant to be asked to gather so don't just take one of the questions and say okay this thing qualifies the really meant to be combined these seven questions together so those are the ground rules okay the point of this video is that technology changes its 2018 right now WordPress has been out for I think very long time 10 years or so maybe if I think it might be a few years longer than that and technology changes so what would have been considered a great cutting edge theme five years ago today doesn't quite meet that standard and I have a image here to bring that home here's a guy with the brick phone is actually very famous picture with this I think you would might've been the inventor of the brick phone as a matter fact embarrassing point I had a brick phone actually I think I owned all of these phones and the point of me showing you this is what was great five years ago 10 years ago is not great today it's not anything that you would use but but the point is it would still work anyway now you might have a theme that you love in its you know was great five years ago but today it still gets the job done a perfect example of this is the flip phone and I actually have a flip phone right here it's an old one there's a little bit of tape on here to make it still work but with this phone I can make phone calls and I can even text messaging and with the number pad I would have to hit a button and do it two or three times and the point is is this can get the job done but it's not going to be as smooth and as efficient as an is enjoyable as a tool as you might get with an iPhone like this so I have my iPhone right here and with my iPhone I could do everything faster Heck I don't even have to type I can do everything with my voice and it can do a whole lot more for me it's a lot more efficient but the reality is I can get the job done with a flip phone or an iPhone and that's just an analogy to kind of tie in kind of the basis for this video is that technology changes and these are questions asked today of the theme that you are going to choose if you're looking to change names or get a a new website and choose a new theme to go along with it so let's just jump on into these questions question number one is a very basic one who is the developer in asking this question is very important because you want to get an indication of the future of that theme and you want to know if it's going to be supported and improved for at least 2 to 3 years because typically my chin change or theme every 2 to 3 years some people it might be longer some people might be shorter that's kind of like the average time there's you want to make sure that your choosing a theme that is going to be around is going to be supported meaning if you need help there someone to go to that is going to be improved meaning if there is an update to say WordPress and something needs to be changed in the theme are those updates going to be available and there's a few ways of kind of getting an idea I have the the themes going to have a life to it and that is you also look at some current installation numbers so if you're using a theme or two or if you're considering a theme that's on the WordPress theme directory they have active installation numbers and you can see there how many people are actually using this theme is a growing there is a support channels are the developers actually responding to support with Theme Forest names I don't typically recommend Theme Forest for themes at all but you can go there and you can see the sales numbers and you can get an idea of people are actually buying this which means is the developer making money is there a business behind this theme reason this is important is because a lot of developers for WordPress are just hobbyists there to put something out there it might not be coded the greatest there is no real commitment there you start saying man I like this I want to use this theme and next thing you know they're disappeared six months later or there they're not making any money from it so there's no motivation for them to actually help you support it and improve the theme but the other side of the coin is just because a theme might have a lot of sales historically doesn't necessarily mean it's going to match up to the other six questions that are going to be in this video and so this next question is a controversial one and it is is the theme bloated and what a bloated theme means is there's a lot of unnecessary stuff in that theme and this is actually a very contentious question and I have received some heat in the past for referring to various themes as bloated themes so let's try to define what a bloated theme is is that you can identify them initially an example of what I find to be a bloated theme and a theme that is not bloated so first does the theme have features that really should be in a plug-in the reason this is important is because every feature that a theme developer might pack into a theme you're not going to use your not going to have any interest in using but if it's just shoved in there you're stuck having that on your website and every drop of code that is active on your website does contribute to it WordPress having the load the options for it and it just ads bloat that isn't necessary next is does the theme require an assortment of proprietary plug-ins to be installed and activated when you activate the theme so what happens is you upload your theme you click on activate in as soon as it activates and says oh we need to install the seven or 10 plug-ins in order for this website to work and whenever I see that not like what the heck is this and a lot of times you might get locked into these plug-ins for no reason at all so this is part of what I define as a bloat and here's one that not everybody thinks about but I think is very very problematic that people don't consider it's when your theme adds a bunch of custom post types like a portfolio of frequently asked questions etc

upon activation the big problem with that is if you activate the theme and it adds those and you say a portfolio and you fill it out with a whole bunch of information and then you stop using that theme in two years the switch to something else guess what everything in those custom post types there now you're not gonna get to access or use them anymore because it was locked into the theme the minute you deactivate the theme there goes your custom post type there goes your portfolio that you spent all that time filling out there goes your frequently asked questions that you spent all that time filling out so these are the visa bull loaded items that get added to the theme in this is how I define a bloated theme let's go ahead and take a look at a bloated theme so right here is a theme and it actually I'm not picking on this theme in this is a theme that I've gotten the most heat on for some of the comments that I've made but I'm quantifying them in this video so Avada happens to be one of the number one I think it's I'm sorry let me back up the number one selling theme on Theme Forest and it's not the number one selling thing that would be the Divi theme but this is the number one selling the theme on Theme Forest so when were talking about bloat this is let's first take a look right here at the menu items you can see it adds the portfolio custom post types of you stop using the theme you lose your portfolio items it has this frequently asked question post type that you'd you don't even get an option the to have in here or not if I have a website where I don't want to portfolio our frequently asked questions it's just added there for me whether I actually want that or not when you go to plug-ins there is a variety of plug-ins that it actually has you install upon activating it the fusion builder the fusion core slide revolution there's actually other ones that are optional so it's not all bad there is some options given here but it also adds this slider plug-in that is bundled into the theme that I probably am not really a fan of sliders but I would be stuck having this because it's kind of bundled into the theme you don't get any option whether you get it whether you have it on your WordPress website or not now this doesn't only clutter the admin area of the site but every little thing here that has to load when you're in the Bakken of WordPress that adds a little bit it might be a tiny bit but it definitely adds to the backend admin experience but for me it's not really about that as much is just the clutter that's there for things that I will never use so let's count how many menu items that Avada adds to the back end of WordPress 123456 and then slide a revolution would be seven but I think you can deactivate that if you wanted to that wasn't required but that is required for some of the demos that it has so you can see how upon activation of this theme there's just all this stuff in there whether you want it or not let's take a look at let's just take a look at GeneratePress here which is one of the themes that I recommend and it is installed and activated let's go ahead and take a look at the plug-ins it's just a one plug in and this was optional to their premium package so just adds this one plug in here a single look at OceanWP so here's OceanWP let's take a look at their plug-ins they make you install this one plug in right here and then right here they add this theme option panel let's take a look at the Astra Theme which is another theme that I recommend and you can see here doesn't add any menu items at all and then for the plug-ins it just has this one right here this is actually an optional plug-in right here that I have installed because I'm many use it later in the video it's Windows plug is you just use it and then you can remove it and nothing's left on your website so this is what I'm talking about when I say a theme is bloated it's all these things that it adds to the back end of your WordPress website whether you want it or not okay let's continue on next is our third question and is the theme bundled with eight-page builder and the next thing you want to ask is it a front and/or back and page builder if you been on this channel he already know what a page builder is if this is your first time experiencing me in a video that I've created a page builder is what you used to build everything underneath your header and that's where your logo and menu is in everything above your footer and that's where you might have some links at the bottom everything in between is typically built with something called the page builder so you want to see is the theme bundled with a page builder and is in a front-end or backend page builder and the reason this matters is because more so whether it's a front and back in page builder it's going to lead to a slow and frustrating experience actually building a website and it's going to not slow in the sense that interacting with the tool is slow but slow I'm in a demonstrated here it's which is a very slow and frustrating experience or to see what I mean in a moment and is there lock in with that page builder what that means is the minute you stop using that page builder your your content is no longer usable all demonstrate that as well and here's where the big problem is if your theme is bundled with a page builder it's tends to be what's called a locked ecosystem so this is opposed to using a page builder that independent of your theme were you actually get to choose the one that you prefer they have flourishing ecosystems of third-party developers making really cool stuff for it so let's go ahead and take a look at this so let's jump back into the Avada theme now this theme comes bundled with their fusion builder which is a back and page builder now to to go with question two this is an optional you don't get the choice of page builder you have to use the page builder that they have you install when you install Avada okay and that's gonna be this fusion page builders let me show you what the experiences like using a front and a back and page builder like the fusion page builder okay so I'm to go ahead and click on the homepage here to kinda show you what using a back and page builders like and I want to think that analogy from the beginning this would be the example of using a brick phone today or a flip phone today when there is much better tools out there this is where a theme can really show its age when there is this this forced on you back and inefficient page builder okay so this is what the visual representation of a page is when you're using a back and page builder so this right here is something this right here are some texts and here's an image and here is some button a button and some more text and this is kind of how it's all broken down but you don't really get to see how it all looks together now when you're making changes I don't really see how this is going to look on the front end of my website I can click on this little icon here and then I can put some text in but never do I get to see how it looks on the actual page so if I wanted to change something like a simple thing like maybe the size of the font or maybe the color this is what you have to do so I would have to actually will here let me just show you a better example of that so here's an image so first of all I just see a little image here this is an and not at all what it looks like on the front and I can click here and there is good to be some different options so this is actually kind of nice and this kind of ties into you can still get the job done using a back and page builder so if I wanted to see what this drop shadow does I just clicked on that but I don't get to see what it looks like the way to see what it looks like I have to click on save and add to scroll up I have to click on updates and still waiting for the update to go through and this is on a local machine if this was on a web hosting account that could've taken a few more seconds then I have to go ahead and open up the page or if I already had it open go there and refresh and then I have to wait for to all load again and now I can see how I really don't like how that drop shadows looking right there okay now let me go back let me go back to that elements let me try a different setting or maybe turn it off altogether and click save now what I just did is what you're going to end up having to do with the back and page builder about a thousand times if your building say a 10 page website because you're doing that for each element you're going into the backend changing something then your clicking update then you're going to the front end then your clicking on refresh over and over and over and over again to make everything look just write a perfect way of quantifying the time that this takes if someone came to me if you're wanting someone to build a website for you using the Avada theme and you go to them and normally using a front and page builder would be maybe $2000 to build your website but because you want to use a theme with the backend page builder it will take about double the time to develop so instead of that website being 2000 is now going to cost you 3500 because the development time just doubled because of all this back and forth saving updating because you're never getting a real-time visual representation of what you are building ever now I will cut these guys a little slack so for the button at least with the button I can click on the edits and I can adjust the property for it so say I want to click on the design here and I wanted to make it pill shapes and maybe add an icon I can click on save and you see it did kind of update there but still I'm just selecting them and then I still have to hit save and then I have to go back into editing the button I might not have to go into the front end and then I never see how this button looks in relation to everything else that's around it without scrolling here clicking on update and going to the front and in doing a refresh I never get to really see and so this is why back in page builders like this can get the job done think about the brick phone in the flip phone except there's a much better ways of doing it but if you choose a theme where the page builder is deeply integrated into it and it's not the best experience building a website it's gonna cost you massive amounts of time and time equals money so essentially there is this constant process of going back and forth back and forth back and forth because it's in the back and you're not seen a visual representation of what you're actually building this is opposed to using a front and page builder so let me go ahead and add a front and page builder here to this website so there's an excellent free front and page builders the most full-featured free front and page filter only Gallup's limit just a quick search for it it's named Elementor okay here it is you can see it's currently being used on over 700,000 websites this number goes up by about 100,000 per month at right now so by the time you see is video it might be over million I want to go ahead and click on install this is a completely free front and page builder it just so happens to be the best the front and page builder and it just so happens to be one of the best page builders there are some go ahead and click on activate and it's going to go ahead and activate that so now let me go to a page and let me show you what the difference is so here is a page so I'm in a go ahead and click on edit with Elementor and then what were getting get to see is the design on the right and then the options on the left in you see everything in real time so here's some text so Sam might want to change something here why can just click on it like this and I can start typing and to change the text if I wanted to but said I didn't really like the font while I can go here and I can go to where it says topography and I can just start trying different fonts and I can see it all in real time so you see how with Avada yet with with a back in page builder it's not about a base there's lots of back and page builders you you don't get this speed of implementation here where I can just go here and I can just choose and see everything visually if I want to maybe change the font size because I want to get it just right so I've got this right here in Aiken's get it just exactly the way I wanted I don't have to hit save go to the front and hit refresh I don't have to do any of that I'm getting to see it as I do it this is a much better page building website building experience and so it would if I was to say and I've said this before that XYZ theme is slow I'm not just referencing how fast you actually get to see the site on the front and I'm I'm referencing how long it takes to actually get it right and develop and build and you want to get it done in 10 times as fast will a front and page builder will help you build a website 10 times faster you can quote me on that number though okay so the last thing about page builders what happens when you deactivated so with the page builder in this theme if I go here and I deactivated let me show you what happens you should build their amenity activated and then I'm good to go to the front end of the website again and let's see what happens okay it's pulling up look at this it's just a bunch of gibberish he cooed now let's see what happens when I deactivate Elementor right here I'm to go to my plug-ins I'm going to deactivate it and I'm going to okay submit deactivate just deactivated I want to go here and then now let's go ahead and take a look at that same page that I was building I think it was right here our partners are go ahead and click on view and you can see there's a lot of my text is still here I can still use this text I would want to format it with whatever tool I'm using in the future but Mike my content is still there it doesn't look like this so you can see the difference here so that is where the is it a front-end or backend is an important question to ask is there login because if there is a bit if it's a backing page builder it's good to be a slow and frustrating development experience for you or if you're hiring someone to build this website for you for them okay let's continue on and go to question number four and this is where are the theme options and there are eight older themes they're going to be in the back end of WordPress but a modern theme that is building things the way that WordPress wants you to build them all of those options are to be inside of the customizer so again you get that visual representation that instant feedback as you're making changes and the reason this is important is that same issue with the page builder is it can be a slow and frustrating experience if all the options are in the back end okay so I'm jumping back into this theme right here I'm in a go to well they have a special menu item here for all of their options and you can see when I click right here it's going to start showing me those options and we have all these different tabs here but here's the theme options right there so go ahead and click on it you can see there's already a little bit of delay going on here because there I think this theme boasts I could be wrong 500 various theme options those are a lot of options you can see this is what it looks like in the experiences like when that theme has all of the theme options in the Bakken of WordPress so I've got layout options here so say I wanted to tweak this I would have to change it save it do that same thing right go to the front end and I click on refresh and I would have to do that for everything for fonts for colors every little setting here I would have to save it see if I like it or refresh the front and see if I like it then come back here and change it a little more than go to the front end and see if I like it it can be that slow and frustrating experience to get the website to look exactly how you wanted to look so let's compare it to another theme and let's compare this to GeneratePress so what I had to do was install and activate Elementor and I put a page template and there's you can see what I'm talking about so when you're using a theme that has all of these theme options in the customizer this is what that experience is like you would go to appearance and then you would click on customize and what's gonna happen is here on the left Juergen to get all of those standard theme options but instead of being in the back and making a slight change to saving it going to the front and clicking are refresh for every little thing you have this experience here in the front end where you can make a change and they're all organized here everything organizes it a little different so for GeneratePress we got layouts colors we've got our topography it's all right here if I wanted to change a font I would go here if I wanted to change the header font I can go here and I can change my size my color and I would immediately see it the same goes for all of those various theme options I have them all right here it was all just like the page builder where I can make my change here and I'm getting immediately see it reflected here in the website design so that is the difference between having a theme that has all those options in the Bakken of WordPress which is the old way of doing it think the brick phone and having them all versus having them all in the customizer where it's superfast an efficient and easy to get the design looking exactly the way that you wanted to look and to skip that slow and frustrating experience okay but like I said and I said this very early on both work okay so this isn't this works and this doesn't work they both work it's just how do you want your experience actually building this website to be so when I talk about that seem is slow I'm not only referring to the page building experience I'm also referring to the way it implements these theme options okay so let's look at question number five in this question is does it have the integrations that you may need and so a couple of these just to get your mind thinking about what these are an example great example would be WooCommerce does the theme have a WooCommerce integration that's a very popular e-commerce add-on for WordPress it's almost like the gold standard another example would be a learning management system integrations so you would have to have a little forethought to decide what you need in a theme and then you definitely want that guiding principle to be does the theme that you're considering have that as an option nothing is worse then choosing a theme and then later wanting to add WooCommerce but it doesn't support WooCommerce and what's can happen is it's going to legislator and want to change things because you're in have to add a lot of custom styling and custom code just to get it to work right is really not worth that you want to start out with a theme that has those integrations a great esteem for integrations that has integrations like this is the Astra Theme it's the first thing that I showed you and the Astra Theme has WooCommerce integration will actually ocean all all the ones I showed you today have WooCommerce integration some are way better than others though so Asher has excellent WooCommerce integration it also has that while only one out of the three or the four that has learning management system manager integration so still a great out right out-of-the-box so that is third-party integrations the next question actually doesn't apply to everyone and so if you are someone that is interested in the demos that a theme offers you you want to ask are the demos actually practical at tracking are the demos actually practical and usable what I mean by that is is it's filled with edible editable items were you can easily change texture colors are these editable items or is it mostly a bunch of highly photoshopped images that aren't really practical and less you're going to go out and hire a Photoshop designer to make some images for you that would actually fit in it and this also brings me up to a another point it kinda goes with this but not really and that is not choosing a theme that has a distinct style that cannot be changed so it's what I call style lock in a perfect example of this is a theme called the Hestia theme where it features the material design style but here's the thing material design style might be in style a year ago but today it's actually going away and next year it's going to be like like wearing a Fanny pack so you want to avoid apps with themes that have that just reminds me of the picture of the rock you know the actors in the wrestler most popular actor in the world right now he always shows this picture of him when he was younger and he was wearing a Fanny pack I mean that's what happens when you have a theme that has this style locking you absolutely want to avoid that because style actually changes so let's look at some of the demos I think the theme that X excels the most are the Astra Theme and the GeneratePress theme for different reasons and then will also take a look at the policy click the about a theme right here okay so for the Avada theme it's under demos right here and it shows you a variety of demos now what I think when I look at these is there mostly image is not actually usable design it's mostly just images that in as actually a subjective thing that's what I see when I look at it when I see this I don't see something that has lots of editable elements to it it's mostly just a wide variety of images so right here we have this big image of the world which is all images here all images so that as opposed to if we look at Astro they have this link here that says starter sites and it's good to pull them up and you can choose the page builder that you want in these are highly usable website designs like here's one for an author if I click on quick view we could see this so an author all they'd have to do is change their book image which they probably already have and you can see it's a lot of text hearing colors that you can easily change yourself they have really good practical designs here as well they have some for plumbers words very easy to get started here's one for a charity this is actually completely free it's a charity one it's integrated with a plug-in called give for getting donations on your website so here it is this is this color in the background is fully editable and changeable in your page builder a lot of this is all editable it's not done in Photoshop at all these overlays it's a feature that comes in the page builder that they used to make this so I finally is a very usable and when you when you when you look at the various ones here that are available there very practical and usable almost right out of the box just changing if a little bit of the the text and the colors to match what you're trying to do another very useful one is GeneratePress is actually very useful but but for a different reason so if I go to GeneratePress here let me get out of here so I can show you some of their demos I find them very practical for developers because they are more style demos where you would just add your own content so I go to appearance and then GeneratePress and that I click sty site library these are great demos and they also have them for Beaver Builder or Elementor the one that you choose these are more style based so they don't have all these built out content pages with them so it's more they selected the colors the fonts in the style for you I find these useful for a different reason but this whole question is a very subjective one so I don't want to spend much more time in it but definitely avoid themes that have AIDS a strict style lock in if you notice from all those demos they were all very different so okay let's just move on so we've got question number seven right here and is seven is going to be the technical question that were going to ask and what is the TTI and him and explain what that is it's a technical term but it's really the most important thing when choosing a theme it's what the theme directly affects TTI stands for time to interaction and is so one a lot of people do you do as they go to this website called GT metrics they put in the URL and then they see how fast the site is and they get all these scores based on criteria that GT metrics finds is important but GT metrics scores actually quite meaningless in their very game a bold meaning depending on how a theme author has done some tricks to their theme they can make it show A's and a perfect example of this is I have tested sites on GT metrics that have taken 20 seconds to load according to GT metrics yet get all A's now think about it the most important thing is really how fast your website loads for the visitor because it affects whether you they immediately leave your website you get a high bounce rate Google's not in a recommend your website is much as all these multiple variables going on at the same time what is what the theme can control though is something called TTI time to interaction and this is what matters for further themes so it's time to interaction means is when you go to website how long does it take to load before you can actually interact with elements on that page click on buttons have the animate various animations you might have or the things that might move how long does it take to actually enter act with the website now this is a more recent metric and a lot of people even if your website designer in your watching this video right now you might have never heard of TTI but you're going to start hearing about TTI nonstop over the next 12 to 24 months as tools for testing TTI are released Google I had a updates to the chrome web browser where they said they're using the chrome web browser to measure TTI now so you can have a theme that loads just the required stuff to visually see everything but it requires a few more seconds for it to actually be interactive and a lot of that is the way that websites are loaded today they're not just static HTML files it whirs really basic now there's lots of JavaScript that is required for the interaction and that's why you have GT metric scores that are very gay mobile it's not some nefarious thing that a theme developers done the kind of gaming the GT metric scores is actually good but you gotta see there under pressure to provide a theme that has a high GT metric score because that's all that people are really looking at that are asking them so the kind of force to make it have a high geometric score even though the the waterfall and the time to fully load is a lot longer because for some reason people are just looking at these GT metrics course was really the time T2 interaction that that matters sadly today there aren't any real website based tools were you can measure TTI but you can see how long it feels like till you can actually interact with the website so to make a couple theme recommendations and these have actually been my same theme recommendations for the last 12 months and I haven't even seen anything come close to these themes for answering in and doing really well with all of the questions that I brought up in this video the first theme in these are actually in alphabetical order so I'm not given preferential treatment to one versus the other the Astra Theme the cost of this is it's free and it's up to $59 for an unlimited site license this actually happens to be full disclosure the theme that I am using next is the GeneratePress theme which I showed in this video it is free and you can purchase it for $39 a unlimited site license next would be OceanWP which is free to $129 for an unlimited site license I just wanted that to be equivalent to the other prices I'm showing you but they also sell a single site license for $39 and there's also one that I do want to talk in and make some videos about is the page of builder framework and this is a free two $58 it's a younger team in terms of some of the questions that we went through it and got a yes on all of these questions except some of the integrations need to come the WooCommerce and some things like that it's an excellent theme though a lot of people have had a very good experience and I wanted to bring that up in this video I have links to everything in the video description down below if you found this video in any way valuable I need your support by giving it a thumbs up because I'm sure people that are using maybe some of the themes that didn't score too well again to give it a thumbs down so if you found any value with a go ahead and give it a thumbs up there's anything you disagree with or want to more clarification ask in the comment section down below in the video description box I have links to all of these themes they are what are called referral links that means if you were to purchase one of these products I even have it for the Avada theme which I'll have down there so I'm an equal opportunity referral refer but what that means is if you did purchase any of them from the links as small portion that goes back to support the channels I can continue making these videos I have all those links down below also put a link down to my transparency report which shows all the back of the behind the scenes of making these videos any question that you might have it's also on my website you can go there you'll see the transparency report link but these are my top recommendations they are rock solid recommendations they check off all of the boxes in all of these questions they are super reliable themes they are pretty much the best of the best that are out there today so that's all that I have for you in this video thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video

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