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Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Opencart Theme

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By Author: Jonathan Paul
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Opencart is one of the most sought after shopping cart solutions which portray huge extendibility in functionality. It is an open-source PHP based framework which remarkably supports e-commerce stores because of its usability to both the customers and the sellers. This platform is integrated by the Opencart developer with an assortment of advanced modular features and shopping modules which are completely free for installation.
It is also highly customisable, making way for enhanced performance while boosting business.   
The framework of Opencart is integrated with a variety of themes and plugins to make the websites look authentic and appealing. Besides delivering robust performance, one can choose from the multiple website themes to amplify the digital presence of the store while also building a loyal customer base. But choosing from these themes can be a big challenge at times. Below mentioned are some factors that one must consider before implementing Opencart themes into their websites.  
1. A Paid or Free Theme
One of the primary steps that one should undertake before choosing a theme is the determination of the budget. Although the Opencart themes are not very expensive, one can definitely go for paid themes since they have much more features which are distinctly well documented. Upon getting a paid theme, one gains access to the updates since they are fully compatible with the future versions of Opencart.  
However, paid themes also have several disadvantages. The major one is investing in the initial price. These themes also have complex admin panels and configuration systems. Hence, one would need more time to organise and implement these paid themes.       
In case one has a restricted budget, they can easily go for the free Opencart themes which are faster and also lighter. These themes deliver a fast performance which plays a key role in the success of the online store. Also, these themes are much closer to the original markup of the default Opencart theme which in turn provides better compatibility to third-party extensions. The main disadvantage of these free themes is that they minimal support in case of bug fixes, updates, compatibility to future versions etc.  
2. Heavy or Light themes
Choosing between a lightweight or feature-rich theme is also one of great concern. When it comes to heavy themes, speed is a big concern. Since they have a lot of functionalities, features and heavy resources, they lack in speedy execution. Hence, one can start by conducting speed tests on different themes and then choose it for their website. Heavy themes also have complex admin panels which makes it difficult to use.   
3. Theme Design
The theme design is undoubtedly crucial which ensures the success of the online Opencart website. However, a good design does not equal a beautiful one. To make the website look appealing and to draw more consumers to it, one should pay more attention to the design of the theme that is being selected. Design is a concept of the user experience along with the theme usage.  
One can start by driving a theme test before purchasing it. Under this, one can determine whether the navigation is smooth and the search box is easily discoverable. Also, the product page should be structured and organised for better results. One must check whether the information about the product, options and add to cart option is clearly visible to all. The registration, user login, checkout procedure should be smooth as it makes up an essential part of the design as well.  
4. Mobile Friendliness
The theme one chooses should boost the raking of the website, especially for the mobile-friendly pages. This is important to increase e-commerce traffic and thus the conversion rate. Due to the increasing use of mobile devices, every online website should be mobile responsive. One must also focus on the theme and see whether it is compatible with the smartphone device. One should ensure whether it is suitable for touch devices and it fits the screen measurements. Other important points in the checklist include smooth navigation, mobile loading speed, checking product and category pages, the checking out procedure, login and logout etc.   
5. SEO friendliness
SEO optimisation is a complex procedure. With Opencart, one can easily optimise the website while employing innovative configuration methods, SEO URLs and also selecting meaningful website content. One can also utilise SEO extensions from the Opencart marketplace.  
While choosing the theme, one should make sure whether it is compatible with the SEO measures. If the theme is optimised, it will provide structured data to the search engines for better results. This data will contain various information about the product, name, price, category, description, availability etc. hence selecting and implementing themes with structured data is of real help. One can also utilise the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. 

Jonathan Paul is an expert OpenCart Developer associated with a reputed company named PHPProgrammers. The author has written this article to explain to the readers the different factors that one should consider before selecting themes for the Opencart website.

More About the Author

Jonathan Paul is a techie, knowledgeable and highly skilled Magento Developer of Australia working with PHPProgrammers who like to share his industrial knowledge and insights with the readers.

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