When you want to start a blog, choosing a great WordPress theme can be baffling. There are literally thousands of new themes coming out every day. Just a simple search of “best WordPress themes” can give you millions of links that will confuse you about which one to pick.
However, there is one major factor that is AdSense optimization. If you are a blogger or a publisher who plans to generate AdSense revenue through their WordPress blog, your WordPress theme should be AdSense optimized. This single additional specification changes the game entirely as you can see in the search results:
The difference is clear. 47,500 results in AdSense optimized WordPress themes versus 11 billion ‘best’ Wordpress themes.
The thing is, there is a Paradox of Choice at play here.
Learning from Barry Schwartz, you need to remember 5 lessons in choosing your WordPress theme that allows you to optimize your AdSense earning:
(Note: For the ease of visual aid, we chose two blogging oriented, minimalistic and highly readable WordPress themes called NewsDesk and Cubic as example for the features.)
So how do you find out what makes a WordPress theme the right one for your blog?
Here’s a checklist for you:
Beginner Level Features To Lookout For in a WordPress Theme:
If you’re a beginner on WordPress, there are few very simple features that you need to make sure your WordPress theme has. These features are very simple to confirm and won’t cause you a hassle. Plus, they are important to make your blog readable as well as shareable.
1. Customizable: Customization is one of the strongest suites of WordPress themes. The theme you pick and WordPress native customization options allow for major and minor customization. Also, WordPress allows for Live Preview of every change you try before you finalize.
2. Responsive Design: A lot of people confuse Mobile Website Design and a Responsive Website. A simple way of knowing whether you are looking at a mobile website or a responsive WordPress theme enabled blog is to note the domain name. If the domain appears in ‘m.abc.xyz’ format, it is a mobile website.
As opposed to mobile website, a Responsive Website will adapt inherently to the screen without the need a separate mobile website. The example theme we’re using, NewsDesk, for example, is a Responsive WordPress theme and thus adopts itself according to desktop, mobile and tablet automatically.
Make sure to use a Responsive WordPress theme as opposed to seeking out a separate website. There are several articles that will help you know more about Responsive vs Mobile Web Design.
1. Articles with images get 94% more total views.
2. Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)
Luckily, WordPress allows you to add Media in your body content as well as Feature images that appear on the sharing. You can take advantage of learning from Kevan Lee about how to add the best images (including optimal image sizes and file sizes) to make your visual content engaging and achieve a higher CTR
4. SEO: WordPress Plug-ins such as Yoast make WordPress one of the best CMSs with high quality SEO optimization. Additionally, your theme will often be enabled for SEO refinement that will allow you to avoid duplicated URLs as well as leverage the advantage of text as well as Image SEO via
For example, NewsDesk comes with SEO optimization capabilities that you can confirm via it’s Features section:
5. Social Friendly: Leveraging the reach and understanding the shareability of your content will create a huge difference in your AdSense Earnings and CTR. WordPress allows for sharing on Social Media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Buffer, Tumblr, Pocket and many more. These sharing buttons are clean and easy to use as well as come embedded in the CMS along with your theme.
Related: We already have the secret of how to dramatically amplify the reach your content.
6. Widget Friendly: Widgets are an incredible way of displaying information without bulking up the weight of the site or using too much space. Widgets usually appear in Sidebars and allow you to showcase your RSS feeds/latest tweets and help provide a better engagement along with Ads to engage reader and help CTRs.
A good WordPress theme allows for third party widgets to be added to your website and enables you to showcase clean and well managed content easily.
Intermediate Level Features to Lookout For in a WordPress Theme:
The following features will be no big deal for an intermediate user who is shifting from a free WordPress theme to a premium version. However, even as a beginner, you can and should educate yourself about how these factors can affect your AdSense revenue and CTRs.
1. Speed (Lightweight vs Heavyweight): Many premium WordPress themes come with a variety of options for your convenience. However, make sure that you find a balance between variety and speed. Unecessary features, including excessive number of features cause a website to bloat in size and thus slow it down. Remember:
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
- 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
- 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
2. Page Styles: As you read above, a good WordPress theme should provide you enough but not excessive Styling features that allow you choose the best layouts and page styles suited for your audience and your content. The Layouts will also impact how quickly your readers are engaged and will directly show an impact on your CTRs
3. Theme Options: Theme Options include features such as pre-set Color Palettes, Typography and Logo addition features that will allow you to customize the look and feel of your website. Choose wisely and make sure that your Color Palette and Typography have a favorable impact the readability of your content for the reader. A difficult to read website is a difficult website to revisit.
4. Auto-Upgrade Features and Support: Great WordPress themes allow for automated Upgrades and Support for the website. This allows Designers to earn loyal customers while enables publishers such as you to not worry about CMS compatibility and other host of issues that might hamper your website and thus your AdSense revenue. For example, NewsDesk, the theme used for example in this blog provides the following Auto-Upgrade and Support features:
Expert Level Features to Lookout for in a WordPress Theme:
1. Retina Display: With more and more users shifting to HD and True HD devices, Retina Display is a key feature in any good WordPress theme that enables publishers such as you to ensure your content, be it text or visual, appear crystal clear and razor sharp and drives readers to engage with your website in a productive behavior.
2. Security: A lot of users treat website security as an afterthought rather than a proactive measure. If you plan to build a reliable and credible website, you need to ensure security from the get go. You can learn about the factors that affect the security of a WordPress theme and the website here.
3. Documentation: Your WordPress theme Documentation includes a manual on how to install the theme on your WordPress admin as well as all the necessary information you require to peruse the features and pick the right layouts, typography as well as structure that allow your users to drive your CTRs higher.
Documentation is an important factor as it is a reflection of how much care and attention did the designer pay to the WordPress theme architecture.
4. Code: WordPress themes should follow standardized coding that takes into account HTML5, CSS3 and PHP as well privacy and security protocols. These Coding Standards can be found on WordPress Coding Standards page as well as help you compare the quality of code of your chosen theme and how stable it is. An unstable/un-standardized coding will hamper your website’s performance and reflect poorly on your AdSense revenues too.
5. Browser Compatibility: With the ever growing number of customized browsers, it is important to have not only a multi-device presence but also cross-browser compatibility feature in your WordPress theme. Premium themes that allow users to access your website from the browser of their choice helps you engage with them better.
These are features that enable you as a publisher to pick AdSense Optimized WordPress theme for your blog.
Your WordPress theme will set the look and UX Design of your blog and directly impact your reader’s attitude. A good publisher keeps these factors mind while deciding on their website, be it a new publication or the reiteration of an existing one.
P.S.: If you found this helpful, share it with a friend who loves to optimize their AdSense revenue. After all, the more they earn, the bigger the party for you.