Have you been wondering which WordPress theme features you need to build a great website? Having a website gives you the ability to reach out to a broader audience in a variety of directions, but having the right theme features can elevate your website even more.
You probably landed here because you’re just starting out building a new WordPress site, and you know you need to begin with a theme. But what are the WordPress theme features that the theme you choose absolutely needs to have?
What are the main factors that you need to take into consideration before choosing the theme that’s going to power your site?
While many people have an overall idea of what a WordPress theme is, a large percentage don’t know the exact factors they need to consider before they make a final decision about what theme to use.
Even more people don’t fully realize how incredibly important a WordPress theme is, and how it works to create a polished and publishable WordPress site.
Here, we’ll walk you step-by-step into the world of WordPress themes, while helping to guide you into choosing the right theme for your project.
Now, let’s take a look.
What Is a Theme and Why Do You Need One?
The WordPress theme you choose will give your site the overall design, look and feel that will be your building block upon which your entire site is built.
You can think of a theme as a site design layout that’s been pre-packaged and defines how your site looks on the backend, as well as how it appears to an Internet user when they navigate to your chosen URL.
A theme controls all of the visual aspects of your site, including how it appears to the end-user.
To be more specific, all of the content you put on your site is displayed within the WordPress theme that you’re running. When you change your site’s theme, you will immediately change the entire look and layout of your site.
When you look at the design of any website, stop for a second and pay attention to:
- The layout of the homepage
- The way headings are styled
- The spacing that’s between paragraphs
- The location of the menu bar
- The way content is listed and displayed
Each one of these factors is the direct result of how the site’s theme is programmed.
A huge benefit of using the WordPress platform to power your site is that you’ll be able to easily and quickly change themes any time you want. You’ll also be able to further customize a theme that you already have in use.
When it’s time to start searching for a theme to apply to your site, a good place to start is the WordPress.org directory of themes. In it, you’ll see around 4,000 unique (and free) themes that you can explore and work with. The demos come in really handy.A huge benefit of using the WordPress platform to power your site is that you’ll be able to easily and quickly change themes any time you want.
But if you aren’t able to locate that perfect theme in the WordPress directory, there are also dozens of independent sites that have free and premium themes to fit most niches you can think of.
Of course, you don’t need 100 different themes for your site. You need exactly one theme: The perfect theme for you. And that’s why we’ll need to dive into the key features that a WordPress theme needs to have.
Is a Theme Needed To Run a WordPress Site?
Not only do you need to find the right WordPress theme features, but you also need to understand the importance of having any theme on your website. It isn’t possible to create a WordPress site without the use of a theme. In fact, the files within the theme you choose are required for WordPress to build out the look of your site on both the frontend and backend.
And while you could certainly build your own theme from scratch as a skilled developer, the reality is that there are some incredible themes already out there that will probably exceed your expectations.
The Kadence Theme is one of those themes.
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Most often, the free themes we try “on for size” are filled with compromises that we don’t want to make. Sure, you could get a site up and running on any number of different free themes, but it’s difficult to settle on the one that will satisfy all of your demands and requirements.
Eventually, we graduate to searching for premium (paid) themes in hopes that we’ll find exactly what we’re looking for. And for less than $100, if you can find the perfect theme solution for you, it’s probably worth the investment.
The problem is that even many premium themes are loaded with compromises. And even if they aren’t, their complexity can quickly begin to overwhelm you.
Kadence Theme bridges these gaps beautifully. It not only offers the WordPress theme features you want for your website, but it provides amazing personalization options.
And the many benefits of Kadence continue with the fact it is completely free to download, install and use, AND it’s loaded with features that even many premium themes can’t match in scale and scope.
Kadence Theme is in its own category of WordPress themes, because it packs all the power of the best premium themes, with the ease-of-use that comes with the simplest free themes.
While on the WordPress theme repository for less than a year, the Kadence Theme is already being used on over 60,000 WordPress sites, while amassing an average review rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Those numbers tell a major story about how powerful this theme is.
The 10 WordPress Theme Features You Absolutely Need
Locating WordPress themes is easy. There are thousands of them available and ready to download at a moment’s notice. However, choosing the right theme is much more difficult.
With the WordPress platform running the backend of your website, the theme you run is responsible for everything your site visitors look at, see, or hear. If fonts don’t look right, colors don’t jive, or the site doesn’t conform to a user’s screen, those issues are in the theme.
The theme you use will deliver your branding and style to your users. It needs to have an energy and vibe that separates it from the competition. It really does communicate a lot to your users about your entire organization.
Rest assured that all of your website visitors will be interacting with the theme you use. But remember, you will be interacting with it as well.
No matter if you try to stay in the WordPress admin bubble that we’re all comfortable in, there will still be times when you need to visit the front end of your site. You’ll constantly be previewing the content you create, copy links to share on social media, and interacting with your users in live comments sections.
In other words, you’re going to be looking at your theme all the time, so it better be one that you love!
And remember, while a theme is really about how a site is displayed on the front end, the true beauty of a powerful theme is contained on the backend, where you’re building out your website.
Now, here are the ten features that you absolutely need in the theme you choose to run.
10 Must-Have WordPress Theme Features
1. Great Performance
Speed is hugely important for WordPress themes. In fact, the average user of the Internet will leave a site if it isn’t fully loaded within three seconds. And the top websites in the world, such as Amazon and Google, target page load speeds of half of a second or less.
There are a lot of different factors at play when it comes to how fast or slows a website runs. But the first place any WordPress site owner needs to look at is the theme they’ve chosen to run.
A lot of the free (and even premium) themes are filled with poor code that can drastically slow down site load times and drive away otherwise eager users.
The Kadence Theme is a monster in the space of theme speed. It even outperforms many of the top WordPress themes in the world in load time tests.
It’s hard to over-emphasize how important speed and performance are in the theme you use.
2. Site Security
Turn on any current newscast and you’ll see that cybersecurity is at the forefront of people’s minds. As the owner of a WordPress site, it needs to be at the forefront of your mind as well.
If you’re interested in knowing how many new vulnerabilities are discovered each week, our weekly WordPress vulnerability report can get you clued in.
Because of the constant threat of new attacks and zero-day vulnerabilities, you must demand a theme that is as secure as humanly possible. While no WordPress theme can claim 100% security, it’s important to choose a theme that has regular and active development to maintain code and keep the theme free from new security vulnerabilities.
It’s also important to keep your theme updated to the current version at all times. Remember to run all of the developer updates as soon as they’re released.
Not only should you look for security in the WordPress theme features, but consider adding a plugin specifically designed to keep your website safe from the bad guys.
Wrap up your website in your very own security blanket.
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You’ll also want to run a powerful WordPress security plugin like iThemes Security to keep your site fully locked down from malicious hacks and attacks.
3. Compatible with the WordPress Block Editor/Gutenberg
The future of WordPress is here, and it’s in the WordPress block editor known as Gutenberg.
In fact, in 2021, WordPress is all-in with a block-based approach to building pages and posts. This means that the theme you run needs to be in line with the evolution of WordPress core by having solid integrations with WordPress blocks.
The Kadence Theme was built from the ground up with a thorough, deep integration with Gutenberg. Kadence also uses the built-in Customizer to control most of your styles site-wide.
4. Solid Support
A main advantage of purchasing a premium theme is that most of them offer a decent level of personal support. And that’s a major bonus, especially if you run into any problems.
For example, if you can’t figure out how to make a change that seemed like it would be easy, premium theme support will often be more than happy to walk you through.
But don’t just settle for any support.
Look closely at the exact kind of support the theme author is offering.
- What exactly does the support cover?
- When is it available to use?
- How will you access the support?
- What is their typical timeframe for a personal response?
While you may never be in a position to require support from your theme’s author, you’ll appreciate high-quality support if the time ever comes.
5. Active Development and Updates
When you’re choosing a WordPress theme, make sure the theme you go with has active development. The quickest way to determine this is to check the frequency of version updates that have come through on the theme.
A theme with active development will have a lot of past updates, which indicates that they are actively improving the theme’s codebase.
Most available themes will share their version release notes or changelogs either on their own website or directly on WordPress.org (this applies to free themes).
Take a close look at the frequency of updates to ensure that the theme author hasn’t abandoned the theme.
6. Starter Templates
Have you ever begun your WordPress design process with the blank page of nothingness? If so, you already understand how important it is to start off your design process with a pre-packaged template.
A powerful and useful theme needs to come preloaded with amazing starter templates that help jump-start your entire design process.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the starter templates in Kadence Theme, they are truly next-level. You really need to take a look for yourself!
Many themes will allow you to run WooCommerce without much of a hitch. But there are a few themes that fully integrate with WooCommerce and help make it even better than before.
Again, Kadence Theme has added features that will make your WooCommerce store perform even better than it was on its own. Simply stated, if your plan is to sell items on WooCommerce, you need to see what Kadence Theme can do.
8. Easy To Use, Yet Powerful
It’s not easy to find the perfect theme that’s simple to use, while also giving you full functionality to help you build the most complex WordPress site. While the theme you choose should be easy for anyone to use, you also want it to be professional-grade.
Select a theme that has great documentation and tutorials. While there may be some major learning curves on parts of some WordPress themes, these resources will come in extremely handy when you’re trying to put it all together.l
Kadence Theme was built with ease of use at the forefront of the developer’s priorities.
And while it was a huge challenge to produce such an easy-to-use, yet powerful theme, the user reviews seem to reflect that Kadence Theme got it right.
If you’re like most, one of the first questions you have about anything is, “how much is it going to cost me?”
In the world of WordPress themes, you’ll find a lot of free themes and a lot of premium themes. Many of the free themes also offer a Premium version, which will unlock more theme features and product support.
But how do you know when you should pay for a premium theme?
In most cases, you’re going to get what you pay for. It’s certain that not all themes are created equal. When you use a free theme, you’ll likely find places where the developers took shortcuts or cut out features that you need.
In addition, most free themes will leave you out there on your own. Most won’t come with much for documentation and even less for support.
There’s no problem with using a free theme. Just know you’re getting into, in most cases.
What’s great is that you can use the Kadence Theme completely free. And the free version comes with so many features that you’ll probably feel like it’s a premium theme. What’s even cooler is that when you’re ready to unlock even more features, you can upgrade to the full Kadence Suite.
You probably expected the design to be the first needed feature on this list. But we saved it for last.
The overall feel and look of your site is the initial, and probably most important, thing that users take in when they navigate to your URL. A well-designed, professional-looking, well laid-out website is step number one toward successfully sharing your brand’s message to a user.
By employing Kadence Theme, your site will be as beautiful as it is functional. The theme really does give you the ability to build a brand that competes, from a design and performance perspective, with the big box stores.
And that’s even true of the free version.
Choosing the Right Theme Features For Your WordPress Site
There’s an old saying that says, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” And while that statement holds water in a lot of areas, in the world of WordPress themes it could very well be wrong.
Kadence Theme is a true standout that packs all of the WordPress theme features you need all into one solution. While it may not change your life, it certainly can help make your website more popular.
Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.