Here are 10+ free, blazing fast WordPress themes to speed up your site to help you WIN MORE SNIPPETS!
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AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT!
A lightweight theme will definitely speed up your site.
If your WordPress site is slow, it’s probably either your hosting or theme. This is due to poor coding by the theme developer or too many unnecessary built-in features.
Behind every WordPress site, there is a theme or framework and along with that can sometimes come bloat. Every theme is coded differently and because of that, there are those that are better than others. The default, free WordPress theme Twenty Fifteen is actually quite fast because it is very lightweight.
Be careful when purchasing themes on popular marketplaces such as ThemeForest and Creative Market. While there are a lot of great themes on there, you also need to realize that developers sometimes just keep adding features to generate more sales. It is more about finding the right developers.
Lightweight frameworks such as the Thesis Theme framework and Genesis (StudioPress) also have great reputations for developing fast, well-coded themes. I know you don’t want to change your theme. But if your design sucks anyway, this can be a game changer -- and definitely does affect your site speed.
WHY UPGRADE TO A LIGHTWEIGHT THEME?
1. SEO-Friendly: Clean Code = Less Technical Problems
The real SEO you get with a fast theme is the clean code that makes your website run...
Most websites have technical issues because of poorly coded themes. Avoiding technical issues benefits SEO by improving user experience.
There’s a lot to be said about purchasing a theme from a reputable company (as opposed to an independent developer on ThemeForest). The reliability factor alone can save you countless hours having to deal with technical issues, and the possibility that your WordPress theme will be discontinued or abandoned. And can also save you a LOT of money hiring a developer to fix errors.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST WORDPRESS THEMES
Let’s face it, it’s a hassle spending time searching for a fast and reliable theme.
But it’s the worst to spend even more time trying to troubleshoot a bad theme only to have to replace it. Or pay a developer to fix it.
So, if you want to spare yourself the time and trouble, this lesson will help you assess a WordPress theme’s quality...
Free themes offer beautifully designed websites. Premium themes—especially ones that are multipurpose—open up even more possibilities.
By understanding your site’s needs, your limitations as a developer, and other factors, you’ll be able to choose the best WordPress theme for your website.
The first place you should start is with the developer who coded it.
Here is what you need to consider...
Is the developer well-known in the WordPress community?
Check their profile on the platform on which you found the theme. On wordpress.org, you’ll only be able to see the other themes they’ve created, but that should be enough to tell you what sort of quality you’re working with.
What do other users of the theme say?
Unless you’re using a theme directly from a developer’s site, there will be ratings and reviews from users. Check for common threads related to issues with their quality of coding.
Do they provide support?
Even with the most well-coded themes you may run into a glitch or simply need help sorting out an internal issue. Most developers of premium themes include support for at least a few months after purchase. There are some free theme developers who do, too. Check to see what their policy is and make sure that the response time in the support forum aligns with that promise.
You’ll also want to know if they support the actual theme in terms of updates.
Ideally, any theme you use should be updated every time the WordPress core updates; if not, more frequently.
If you want something that is trustworthy, you shouldn’t have to seek out additional plugins to get all of the features you want on your site. That would defeat the purpose of using a lightweight theme in the first place.
Also, would the basic design be sufficient? If a theme is too complex, uses low-resolution images, or has other major design flaws, then it’s not going to be worth the time to customize or fix.
IMAGESMore images do not automatically mean more conversions. In fact, page speed is more of a factor for selling more onlines than the number of images on your website. Choose a theme that is less graphic intensive for an instant speed boost.
RESPONSIVENESS Testing for responsiveness can be difficult. You could trust that a theme labeled “responsive” is, but it would be smarter to check first:
Open the preview of the theme in your browser window and minimize your screen to test the theme’s adjustability (or view the preview on your mobile device).
Check for roundups on the best responsive themes for recommendations.
While you might not know all the functionality you want to build into your website yet, here are some things to consider:
How much customization you need in terms of font, colors, layouts, etc.
Page types you plan to have (i.e. forum, portfolio, ecommerce)
Additional elements like menus, video backgrounds, tooltips, etc.
The more options the theme has makes for all these tools, the less work you’ll need to do later.
There is a lot of stuff that goes into making an SEO-friendly site. Check reviews to make sure ensure the theme is well-coded, fast, free of security issues, has a clean user interface, and is compatibles with your SEO plugin.
Are there hidden costs? Unexpectedly shelling out money after buying a theme is no fun. Think about whether this theme is reliable or if it will break and cost you in developer costs and replacement themes down the road.
And let's talk about plugins? If you’re not a coder, will you need an expensive developer to manage your site? Costs quickly add up and should be considered before purchase or download of a new theme.
WordPress theme marketplaces are a good option, and help you in your search. Here are some of the most trusted theme marketplaces:
You best option may be independent developers who sells themes directly from their website. They typically offer membership or bulk pricing. If you’re looking for high quality, go this route:
A few design trends—eventually die out either because they become obsolete (think of image sliders or sidebars).
Even if you find a great WordPress theme, it’s important to assess it for its modernity as you don’t want something that will be outdated in six months or so.
If you build websites for a specific niche or industry, it’s a good idea to find a theme that was built specifically for that purpose. Think of restaurant websites that need menus, doctor sites that need appointment setting, photography sites that need galleries...
If the theme wasn’t built with that audience in mind, you’ll likely have to spend time finding the tools to do it later.
Do you want to churn out a bunch of sites, making minor tweaks to themes?
Or do you want themes that give you more power and flexibility to create something truly custom and unique for customers?
What it really comes down to is whether or not you consider yourself a WordPress coder or developer. If you hate time intensive coding you should also factor that into your theme selection.
GENESIS & THESIS THEMES
We recommend Genesis & Thesis framework themes here at SEOpingdom. They meet all of the above criteria for selecting a super fast & realiable premium WordPress theme.
If you'd like to see the fastest free WordPress theme options available, we have provided the list below...
HOT TIP: The WordPress.org Theme directory has a ton of free, high-quality and fast themes. Check them out.
A fast WordPress theme is a good idea no matter what your site is used for. Page speed is important for SEO and will help you move up in search rankings.
Only you will know which one will serve your business the best. Hopefully, this will get you started in choosing a WordPress theme that will work for you in terms of speed, design, quality, convenience, cost, reliability, support, seo, and more.