WordPress : Themes

WordPress: The most popular free themes in 2020

The Hello Elementor theme and theplugin Elementor

Elementor is a page builder, a tool that allows you to create sophisticated pages directly from the administration of our WordPress site. They offer the possibility of live preview of the modifications that are applied and offer a lot of options and freedom on the design of each element.

Elementor offers everything in block sets like :

  • Text blocks with advanced media and layouts
  • Pictures, carousels/sliders, galleries, etc.
  • Easy integrations (youtube, facebook, newsletter system)
  • Icon libraries

This page builder is not only for creating sophisticated pages. With the pro version of soundplugin, it allows you to create every part of a WordPress site, overriding the theme if you wish. We can design category and taxonomy archive pages, as well as single pages. Moreover, this plugins usually allows you to manage popups, without having to load new pluginsones.

Elementor is compatible with most themes. The Hello Elementor theme is a theme that aims to be as minimal as possible for those who want to create their entire design from Elementor (an excellent choice for my taste 😁).

WordPress: Find and choose a theme

When creating a site in WordPress, one of the first issues (see the first one on simple sites) is of course the choice of theme. To choose a theme well is to choose the theme that corresponds to our site. On this subject, three main solutions are available to us: Use a free theme, use a paid theme or develop a custom theme. Let's see what this means.

WordPress: Free themes

It is easy to find many free themes by typing "wordpress free theme" or "wordpress free theme" on a search engine, the internet is full of them. But don't forget that the theme used on a WordPress installation contains code that will be executed on the server that hosts your site. Once said, it is easy to understand why it is necessary to be vigilant in choosing your theme and avoid unreliable sites. Indeed, legion is the sites that hide malicious code in free themes.

To find free WordPress themes, you should therefore go to the official catalogue of themes offered by wordpress.org. These are fully checked before publication and removed from the catalogue if they present a danger.

In the official catalogue of WordPress themes.

These themes are also available from the administration of any WordPress installation.

The dangers, let's talk about it! Most often, hackers will distribute free themes in order to introduce hidden links to sites they want to promote. These are unsavoury sites, such as online shops for pharmaceutical drugs and counterfeit products, pornography, gambling...

Although invisible to your visitors, its links will be read by crawlers (search engine robots that analyze web pages) and bring backlinks to target sites, which are a valuable resource when you want to get a site on search engines. Today, however, its links are most often found by search engines, including google, which will punish sites that use such methods (yours in this case).

There are many ways to hide links, in the most famous we can mention white on white links (links that are written with the same color as the one they are on, easily detectable when selected or used Ctrl + A), off-page links (placed on a part of the site that is not displayed) or links placed below an image or other opaque element of the site.

One of the most common malicious practices is to use JavaScript code in base 64, i.e. not directly visible in the code. But this is only one method, because a malicious theme can also install a backdoor on your site which will give complete control of your site to the one who infested the theme or use your server as a robot zombies browsing the web.

In conclusion, the risks associated with using a free theme are significant if it does not come from a reliable source. I invite you to consult this article which analyses some of the themes found on the first page of google on the "wordpress free theme" query.

WordPress: Paid themes

Paid themes are generally of better quality than those found free of charge.

They are available for sale on themed online shops (such as forest theme) or directly on their publishers' websites. You can find a list of reliable sites for buying your themes on the official WordPress website.

Their prices vary between 30€ and 60€ on average for a classic license. Most often, this license includes the theme and its updates for a period of one year as well as support from 3 to 6 months. There are also offers allowing members to download many themes and pluginspremium content.

E-catalogue of sites offering paid themes established by WordPress

Now that we know where to get the premium themes, we still have to choose it and find the one that best fits the given project. To do this, it is not only necessary to take into account its design, but also its functionalities and maintenance.

Indeed, there are more and more themes that offer a lot of additional features. These themes are only relevant if the features they offer are used on your site, otherwise they will only make it unnecessarily cumbersome.

In case these options are useful to you, you should also be careful not to duplicate your software. Let's take the example of a theme proposing a slider (i.e. that allows you to scroll through a series of images). If you decide to use other sliders in your pages and articles through software, you will then load 2 different codes that have the same function, which, once again, will add unnecessary weight to your site. One solution in this case would be to use the code already loaded to slider the theme, which is not always obvious and practical to do. Another solution would be to change the slider used by the theme to a slider managed by software. The best solution was to focus on a theme that offers additional features through the use of plugins without forgetting to plan the possible impact of these (in case they are paid plugins that are used).

Finally, make sure you have the seller's reliability before you make the purchase. Consult the comments and opinions posted on the theme and on its author. Check that updates are frequent and regular.

WordPress: Custom themes

This article deals with how to find and choose a theme, I will only go over the subject of creating them. It's a vast subject and there are 1001 things to say about it. But it is a procedure to take into account when creating a site because it brings undeniable advantages, especially if you want to give a real brand image to your site and if you are sensitive to optimization.

Although it is possible to modify and customize a downloaded theme by using child themes or using software such as CSS, this process quickly reaches its limits.

The creation of a custom theme allows you to obtain a unique theme that perfectly matches the image you want to give to your site. But it is a process that requires a much larger budget, since it will require the services of one or more professionals.

In addition to a design specially designed to meet your needs, a custom theme will not be overloaded with unused options, which is a good optimization. It is also expected that the plugins that will be useful for your WordPress installation can be taken into account during development, which allows them to be perfectly tuned.