31,000 WordPress themes. The total number of themes that were available for WordPress in 2019, according to Scepter Marketing. Considering WordPress powers over 30% of the web, this number doesn’t come as a surprise. But with so many free and paid options, choosing a theme can quickly feel overwhelming. And let’s be honest, you probably have better things to do than browsing through one collection after another.
At Booqable, we’ve seen many rental businesses, and most of their websites run on WordPress. Some were lucky and chose the right theme from the start. Others were better off switching to a different theme, which can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. In this post, you’ll learn what to look for, which boxes a theme should tick, and what to avoid to prevent trouble down the road. You’ll feel more confident deciding on a theme so you can build a strong foundation for your WordPress website.
Many WordPress themes are packed with color, complex layouts, and animations. While these features can bring a website to a higher level, they often severely affect performance and make your site harder to use. Make a list of features you need, and restrain yourself from picking a bloated theme.
Also, keep your end goal in mind. The purpose of your site is to inform your visitors about your offer, why they should choose your business, and drive them towards booking a rental or requesting a quote. Information should be easy to find, and the path to conversion has to be clear and without too many distractions.
In short: look for a lightweight theme with a simple layout, one that supports your business goal. It’s all about function over form (more on functionality later).
Responsiveness means a theme’s layout automatically adjusts across devices with different screen resolutions. So, whether someone views your website on their desktop or mobile device, they’ll have a nice experience on both.
Now, you might say that most WordPress themes you have found are responsive. But the fact that themes seem responsive doesn’t mean that every one of them implements it well. Instead of going off a theme’s feature list, we recommend opening the demo on your mobile device and checking its responsiveness. Some questions you could ask: How do the pages look? How do they stack up to their desktop version? Some themes are awkward, don’t scale well, and are hard to navigate on mobile devices. Next, check how long it takes for pages to load. Loading speed is essential for everything from SEO to user experience to conversion rates. It’s not something you can ignore.
Here’s another reason not to skip this step. Google recently introduced mobile-first indexing. That means Google primarily looks at the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. In 2020, your position in the Google search results will largely depend on the mobile-friendliness of your website design.
If there’s one thing to remember when building a WordPress website, it’s this: Themes are for design, plugins for functionality.
It can be tempting to search for a theme that’s perfect right out of the box. As a rental business, you might look for a built-in calendar feature or eCommerce functionality. As tempting as this might be, we’re going to advise you not to pick these out-of-the-box solutions. Why? Because the real strength of WordPress comes with plugins. You choose a theme for its look and feel, and use plugins to add functionality.
There’s one big reason why your theme shouldn’t control both. If a theme would control design and functionality, you’d be locked in for good. If you’re not happy with your theme and want something else, you’ll have to start from scratch. By separating design and function, you can always switch between themes if needed. So, instead of searching for that all-in-one theme that combines everything, look for one that supports the plugins that offer the functionality you need.
If you follow the tips in this post, you’ll be able to pick a WordPress theme that will set your rental website up for success. Can’t wait to start browsing? ThemeForest offers some great WordPress themes that are tried-and-tested. Happy hunting!