Does seo friendly Free wordpress theme really exists? When I saw an article on traffic generation café about Thesis vs genesis then it seems to me that the whole life of wordpress blogs lies in either in thesis or in genesis? No, My answer is Big No……….Free wordpress theme
Though a very popular blog post had been published on wpmu.org describing the basic drawbacks of Free themes and most of the times we do agree with that………..But still I strongly believe that there are a lots of Good wordpress Theme developers are out there who is constantly developing SEO optimized Adsense ready Free wordpress theme.
So I decided to search how people can get free wordpress theme ?
Tools required for Checking SEO Optimized Free WordPress theme
1. Web Developer for Firefox :
This Firefox plugin is “Darling of all the web developer” full with tons of features that is required by all the web developers for CSS, images, div element , responsive element , CSS validation , HTML Validation, DIV element, Java etc etc.
We will use this plugin to audit alt image tags, widget width etc etc rendered by theme.
2. SEO Quake ( My Favorite Firefox Extension)
As I have already mentioned this plugin in my numerous articles. How to use this plugin to find out high page rank blogs or how to find out high ranking post etc etc. Besides that it could help you to audit your any website free of cost.
In our case, You can use this plugin to check SEO aspect of your free wordpress theme like where h1 , h2 h3, h4 etc.
3. Theme Check wordpress plugin
This wordpress plugin was in the limelight when a lots of theme developer start embedding encrypted links in the free themes. Free themes are famous for hidden/ encrypted links.
Newwpthemes.com is such a website producing high quality themes with encrypted themes in their footer.
The original purpose of this wordpress plugin was to enforce standardization of free wordpress themes, to be deposited on free wordpress theme repository.
4. TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker)
TAC stands for Theme Authenticity Checker. Currently, TAC searches the source files of every installed theme for signs of malicious code. If such code is found, TAC displays the path to the theme file, the line number, and a small snippet of the suspect code. As of v1.3 TAC also searches for and displays static links.
How to choose a free wordpress theme
Though a lots of free wordpress themes are out there to woo you, wordpress theme repository is one such location. WordPress repository offers you a lot of theme in different niche and style, but most of them are not more than the skeleton or having the basic framework.
This is the main reason people use Google or browse from blog to blog in search of a perfect free theme for their wordpress blog.
Does such perfect free wordpress theme really exist?
Your answer is No and Yes Both,
Yes, if you have the proper knowledge what do you really want in a free theme, then such themes exists.
So, I have divided the whole process in two major parts
Secondary issues while selecting a free wordpress theme
Why it is secondary when users/readers see it first? Because most of the free wordpress themes pack with eye catching design and color combination with lots of features, still worth noticing are
Size of theme – How many pixel size width it covers. 960px is default standard in this industry. Even premium wordpress themes also render in 960px.
Fixed vs Responsive – if your major concern is – desktop computers, then do not go for responsive theme like if you are theme developer then obviously it is no use to use a responsive theme to showcase your work on tablet and Smartphone.
Menu bar – Simple menu bar with drop down menus are the loved one and widely accepted. Remember here these drop down menu feature must be coded …not rendered through any third party plugin.
Logo – What is the size of logo in pixel i.e. wide and its height and how your free wordpress theme will help you to add your own logo.
Favicon – Your brand on the web-browser is displayed through this tiny graphic…Remember there should be a very standard feature to upload your own favicon.
Adsense Ready – Though does not matter a lot still people love to add ads through code instead of weird plugin.
Widgets – Popular post, top commentator, Face book like social presence widget. These are common and should be there, though there is a debate whether these should be hard coded with theme or rendered through plugin.
Besides theme two issues that bother lots of newbie wordpress bloggers are
1. Encrypted links or hidden links – These types of links can be checked easily using TAC wordpress plugin.
TAC plugin only check the theme for hidden, static or encrypted links but does not able to tell you whether your theme had been developed using the standard defined by the wordpress documentations.
[messagebox]newwpthemes.com provide free wordpress theme which contains encrypted links and top of that if you are able to anyhow delete that, they will update their theme remotely and reinstall the same.[/messagebox]
2. Does this theme is developed using the standards defined by the wordpress documentation. The answer is very simple- Now check this theme using theme check wordpress plugin to see the standard followed by the programmer.
Primary issues while selecting a free wordpress theme
The issues we have just discussed in the secondary issues are trivial, with few plugin or little bit tweaking any average wordpress user can make appropriate changes in any free theme to suite his/her specific need. The primary concern of your free wordpress theme should be
1. Loading Time
Loading time of any website depend upon a lots of factors, ie Premium webhost , CDN, Database server, Caching System and not to forget , how efficiently your wordpress theme had been coded.
There are methods available to check the efficiency of your wordpress theme.
To check the efficiency of your wordpress theme, my suggestion is………… disable all the plugin and flush all the cache from the browsers memory.
Now using Google page speed / yslow to find out the score of your website.
Higher the page score better coded the theme.
Check whether the jquery is invoked in the header/footer. If queries load at header automatically take longer time.
Image sprite – whether theme is using image sprite or not
Whether it is resizing images at run time or not
The above issues are directly related to the wordpress theme, other issues that affect the page load time depend upon the web-host and that we are not discussing in this article. A broad idea you can get from host gator review.
Tools.pingdom.com and gtmetix.com are two widely used online tools available to check the page loading speed of any website.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization aspects)
Premium themes and theme framework normally boast of search engine optimization, so what the hell they do in their theme framework that does not come in free wordpress themes?
We have already seen the point required for on-page search engine optimization, though a lot of issues had been already solved by SEO plugin available for wordpress, still some points must be considered while selecting theme
1. Heading Tags: Every page of your website should contain only one h1 tag and after that h2 tags and h3 tags. Premium and customized theme do take very good care of these tags, thus give you maximum benefits for all the articles published on Home page
2. Alt Tags: Most bloggers love to show featured images though featured images feature of WordPress, That is fine but it does not bring the alt tag defined with the associated image, thus dilute the search engine optimization efforts, without even your knowledge.
WordPress featured image does not add alt tag to all the featured images rendered by its default featured image function. To overcome that you can use the following code
<?php if ( function_exists(“has_post_thumbnail”) && has_post_thumbnail() )
The above code you can use either in your index.php file or in function.php file depending upon from where your theme is serving featured image.
3. Widget Heading: How widget title had been rendered ie using which heading tag. This is another very crucial issue that you cannot ignore. Though it seems ok, if you find widget heading been rendered using H3 Tag on the home page , but did you notice how much it can adversely affect your single page article? So the suggestion is h4 Tag. ;)
These are some point, you must consider while selecting a free wordpress theme. If I forgot any point or features, you think crucial for your online presence; do not hesitate to share with us. You can also spread the word and educate other newbie sharing this post on social media.
The Whole concept was developed by the man you are watching here. I am rakesh Kumar Serial Niche Blogger and SEO Enthusiast. find me onfacebookandon twitter.. Developed popular WordPress theme for Wallpapers and funny Image WordPress theme. Love SEO optimized WordPress theme Designing and Customization.