WordPress powers 30 percent of the web. The CMS is incredibly powerful and easy to customize which makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking to make a new website. Whether you are building a blog or an enterprise site, WordPress can make your dreams a reality.
There are so hundreds of thousands of plugins out there it can be overwhleming at times. Here are some of the best tips and tools to make the most out of your WordPress site.
Why is it so Important to Have a Rich Feature Set?
Though there are hundreds of thousands of plugins that can help customize your site, your theme can also do some of the heavy lifting. Here are 10 features you should look for in a new theme.
Page Builder Support
Page builders can significantly ease the website customization process because it delivers a set of predefined blocks which you can alter to your taste. Today there are two most-popular and universal page builders: WPBakery page builder and Elementor.
WPBakery pagebuilder was originally created for developers, it’s a very robust solution that has a great number of customization opportunities. With this page builder, one can create really amazing designs that will be both stylistically and functionally perfect.
Elementor builder is very easy to use and has a lot more customization options that you may need. Recently there was added WooCommerce builder, with its help you can customize product pages and product archives. Unfortunately, this feature is available in PRO version only, but still you can get similar customization powers using a third-party plugin like Jet Woobuilder.
About five years ago most WordPress themes layouts were created using shortcodes, we were able to alter the layouts of our WordPress website via Customize section, or some special areas in the dashboard, but today one can design beautiful websites without having to write a single line of code.
So if you strive for simplicity and customization speed, you need to get a WordPress theme, that was created either with WPBakery page builder or Elementor page builder.
Now tell me, do you have a slider on your website? Probably you were trying hard to find something decent right? If you look closely at all those slider plugins you will find two names that definitely stand out: Revolution slider and Swiper slider.
Revolution slider is the most powerful slider plugin ever created. It has so many settings that you can’t even imagine. With Revolution slider, you can create as many sliders as you need and add them to the pages you want with a shortcode.
Inside the editor, you can add numerous layers to your slides, objects placed on those layers you can be assigned various animation effects that will be triggered upon the time span you have specified. Also, you can adjust those slides to mobile devices by turning on the responsive viewer.
Let’s consider some nice example, a WordPress theme Chrimson.
It’s a fully responsive theme that has an amazing slider on the home page. If you check out the demo you will that each slide has four animated elements (image, badge, title, and call-to-action button). All elements load one after another with a smooth transition effect.
Slider pagination is placed on the left side of the slider, which is quite unusual. On tablet and mobile layouts, pagination and badge elements were removed so they won’t cram the space. This is how the homepage looks on the screen of an iPad.
And this is what iPhone 8 users will see on the screens of their gadgets.
As for me, this is a really good example of a slider responsivity.
Swiper slider is cool in its own weight category. Swiper is a mobile-optimized open source touch slider that is capable of creating amazing touch galleries and sliders on your mobile devices.
Another great feature your WordPress website needs is a mega menu. This feature is considered to be the best for any online store since you can fill it in not only with links to various pages (like you used to do it in your regular menu) but also add media content aka, banners and videos as well as certain products.
Pricing Tables / WooCommerce
Do you have a pricing table on your website? Do you remember how you created one? I bet you had to use some third-party plugin to add this feature to your website. What you don’t know is that both page builders (I’ve mentioned above) can add pricing tables to your website without making you install another plugin that is likely to break your website someday.
We need to keep track of the latest SEO tendencies and tricks to stay afloat in the constantly growing digital space. So when you opt for a new WordPress theme you need to be sure that theme’s code is not only W3C compliant but is also built considering the must-have microdata.
How to improve SEO of your WordPress you can learn from this ultimate tutorials compilation.
Updates and Support
Updates are the thing most users omit for some reason. Updates for WordPress themes are extremely essential, after the purchase you need to be sure that your theme will still be up-to-date in the years to come.
Without a flow of patches, fixes, and updates your website is not likely to survive 2 updates of the core. That’s why make sure to buy a theme from a provider who delivers regular updates for their digital product.
Another side of the same coin is called Support, most providers offer quite limited support options that are given in a form of a link they send you. How to find if a theme provider has decent support options?
First of all, check if the product page of the theme you’re interested in has any info about support options. It should say something like this:
Better if you find the details and support options provided. One of my favorite WordPress themes providers has 6 months of premium support with a 12-hour response rate.
Multiple Page/Layout Options
Another thing your new WordPress theme should have is a wide array of subpages. As a rule most of these pages are created to demonstrate the customization capabilities of the theme this means that eventually, you will not need most of them, but still, you can use them as a basis for your own pages.
In case you choose a theme with Elementor to build you’ll be able to save any block from any of those pages (as a template) and use it later, also Elementor builder allows saving and exporting complete pages to use them later or on another website. So why would you need lots of pages? To have a sort of a cheat sheet where you can peek and build something new.
If your theme has multiple layout options, you can either remove all sidebars thus stretching content area full width or doing anything else imaginable. Having various layout options stashed you can be sure that no matter what content you will have to build your theme will be able to handle it.
Luckily for everyone, all WordPress themes are created to be responsive. If you choose a theme that was built either with WPBakery page builder or with Elementor builder this theme will definitely be responsive.
How can you benefit from responsivity? On the tablet or mobile layouts you can hide certain blocks making your pages lighter, the lighter your page is the faster it will load on a mobile device.
Don’t forget to optimize the size of your images, use Save for Web option in your Photoshop.
This year the whole web was thundering around new GDPR regulations that oblige every website owner or a company which runs their businesses for EU citizens to change the way how they collect and processes personal data.
These new changes on any website should be backed with a relevant notification either in a form of a popup or a site-wide banner that gives users an option either to give their consent to the processing of their data or not to give.
Most of the latest themes have a selection of banners and functionalities to help you make your website GDPR compliant in a few clicks.
In the months to come WordPress core will be updated to the 5.0 version, this will deliver Gutenberg editor to every WordPress website. Unfortunately, WordPress themes released earlier than 2016 are not compatible with this builder.
What’s the possible outcome? Your website can literally fall apart. If you have a staging website (the copy of your public website where you run some tests or experiments) there you can install Gutenberg plugin so see how your website will react to this rich content builder.
One of the best possible examples of a WordPress compatible or better say built with the Gutenberg editor is the Gutentype theme.
This is the only one WordPress theme that was created with a Gutenberg page builder! If you check it’s demo, you will see what an awesome layout can one created with Gutenberg rich content builder.
If you choose this theme you’ll be able to create rich content using predefined Gutenberg blocks.
Another thing is that in this theme Gutenberg builder is paired with Front Page Builder that can help you customize your home page without putting much effort. Watch the video to see what this builder is capable of.
Even though this theme may look quite simple (well, it’s a blog theme, duh) it has all the necessary features on board to help you comfortably run a WordPress website.
Don’t forget that your website’s safety is the most important thing that you need to be aware of. There’s a bunch of plugins that can prevent malicious attacks, you’re welcome to consider following items.
This plugin will scan your core and will find potentially malicious files that you can remove, also it will give you recommendations on how to protect your website.
In a clear manner, you’ll be explained how to transform your website into a fortress.
This is the most radical method currently available, this plugin can improve tenfold the safety of your website making it literally unreachable for hackers.
The idea is quite simple your WordPress site’s pages will be exported as HTML pages that you can host elsewhere. That’s brilliant, this approach will null all possible ways to hack your site.
With WP Static Site Generator nobody will be able to shove their hands into your admin panel without your approval.
Over to You
These were the most important features that your WordPress theme should have. If you have any question we’re open to further discussions.