When building a website with WordPress, there are two kinds of tools you need to know about: the WordPress plugin and the WordPress theme.
WordPress plugins are what enable you to add advanced features and functionality you’d otherwise have to code into the website. The WordPress theme, on the other hand, is what allows you to give your website a professional and well-composed look without the help of a web designer.
Recently, we gave some recommendations on the best premium WordPress themes to use for law firms. If you found that guide useful but were curious about what other theme options are out there for law firms, then this is for you.
Although themes number in the thousands, that doesn’t mean that just any of them will do. The following checklist will teach you the 6 things to look at when reviewing WordPress theme quality.
WordPress Theme Quality Checklist for Law Firms
Determining the quality of a WordPress theme for your law firm isn’t that difficult when it comes from a reputable source and you know what to look for.
First, let’s clarify where exactly you can find WordPress themes online:
- WordPress has its own free theme repository. The themes you find there will be limited in size and capability, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter the occasional gem.
- ThemeForest is the most popular marketplace for premium themes. You’ll find many law firm-themed websites with all the features you need here.
- There are also independent sellers of WordPress themes, which you can find through Google. Just be careful as the criteria you need to look at usually isn’t available (which makes them a bit of a risk).
If you haven’t spent much time in the repository or marketplace, you might have a hard time finding all the pertinent details you need to assess WordPress theme quality. The following checklist will help you narrow in on the elements to focus on.
Yes / No – Is the Designer Trustworthy?
One of the nice things about using the WordPress repository or ThemeForest to look for themes is that the teams behind each platform carefully vet each submission for performance and security issues. That said, problems may arise down the road if a designer stops supporting their theme or sells it to someone else who doesn’t know how to properly manage it.
This is why the first thing you should do is take a quick look at the designer’s body of work. You can find the designer’s portfolio in WordPress here:
ThemeForest provides even more details about designers, going so far as to reward them for achieving different milestones with their work in the platform:
Take the time to review their credentials and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
Yes / No – Have There Been Issues with the Theme in the Past?
Next, check on the reputation of the WordPress theme. Since you likely don’t know how to read and assess the quality of code, you’ll instead need to use customer reviews and ratings to gauge the reputation and quality.
In WordPress, reviews and ratings are here:
In ThemeForest, ratings are here:
To start, you want to see at least a 4-star rating (if not more). Also, be sure to open the reviews and see what the most recent users have said. If they’re all reporting the same kinds of issues -“especially if they have complaints regarding security or performance – “then it’s best to look elsewhere.
Yes / No – Do Enough People Trust It?
When you look at ratings and reviews, you’re going to get a good sense for how users feel about the theme. However, what if it received a 5-star rating solely on the opinion of 10 users? Are their comments even valid or trustworthy at that point? They might not be.
To play it safe, stick with WordPress themes that have at least a couple thousand downloads.
You’ll found those numbers in WordPress here:
ThemeForest classifies them as “sales” here:
If you’re nervous that the ratio of reviews to downloads doesn’t seem right (especially if every review just says “Good”), walk away.
Yes / No – When Was the Last Update?
All software should be regularly updated by its owner and WordPress themes are no exception. Updates keep WordPress themes running in top form and its users safe from vulnerabilities. If you encounter a theme that hasn’t been updated by its owner in some time, then there’s a problem.
In WordPress, you can find that here:
In ThemeForest, it’s here:
In general, stick with themes that have been updated within the last six months.
Yes / No – Does the Designer Support the Theme?
Updates pertain more to the work designers do on the backend to ensure that code and design are in line with WordPress and modern design practices. Support, however, pertains to the actual communication that takes place between the designer and end user when something is wrong.
As you’ll see in both WordPress:
There is a dedicated support section for each theme. If you go in there and find that users are leaving questions and concerns, but the designer is nowhere to be found – “or that he or she responds in a hostile manner – “then don’t use that theme. You should be able to reach out to the designer, within reason, when you experience issues with their product.
Yes / No – Does the Demo Do What You Need It To?
WordPress and ThemeForest include workable demos of every theme.
You’ll find them under “Preview” in WordPress:
And “Live Preview” in ThemeForest:
This gives you a chance to walk around the theme demo in real time. Make sure to click on the buttons, review the pages, layouts, and other options included in the navigation, and get an idea for how much you’ll be able to customize this theme to your liking.
When designing the face of your online brand, you want it to be portrayed in the best light. By using a WordPress theme that’s been vetted by the WordPress community, trusted by other customers, and now has your seal of approval, you can give it the best chance to do just that.