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How to Choose a WordPress Theme

With tens of thousands of both free and premium WordPress themes available, choosing the right one for your site can be overwhelming.

With thousands of WordPress themes available, choosing the right one for your site can be overwhelming. Committing to a theme is just that – a commitment. In a way, it’s almost like choosing a mate. You’ll be together for awhile, so you’d better pick the right one!

Following is a guide to help you find the right theme for your site:

Define Your Needs

While reviewing themes, it’s so easy to get swept up in the beauty of what you’re looking at on the screen. It is very tempting just to download or buy the theme that looks the prettiest. Please, don’t do it.

You need to go into this process with a plan. Decide what the most important aspects of your site will be. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. Is your site going to have a lot of content or be a smaller, “brochure” type of site?
  2. Will you need eCommerce functionality?
  3. Do you want your site to be responsive so that it works on mobile devices?
  4. What will be the most important items to display on your site’s home page?
  5. How do you think your site will change in six months, one year, etc.?

The truth is, most themes are not one-size-fits-all. Having a good idea of what your site needs will be the single biggest factor in choosing the right theme.

Use a Theme that Matches Your Content

Quite often we try to make our site’s content match what we’ve seen in a theme’s demo. But it should be the other way around. There might be a theme out there that looks just brilliant with content boxes that display the last ten blog posts with beautiful featured images. But if you’re not going to have a blog or don’t have the budget for a whole lot of great images, it won’t be much help.

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The trick is to look at a theme’s capabilities and see if it pairs well with the type of content you’re going to have. That news-related theme mentioned above may very well have the flexibility to handle a more static type of site, but you’ll have to dig deeper than just the demo to find out.

Consider Flexibility & Functionality

On the front-end, a lot of themes look very nice. So it’s easy enough to find a style that matches your specific taste. But its functionality and ease-of-use within the WordPress admin is what can really separate a great theme from the rest. Consider:

Page Layouts

Will you be able to easily change the number of columns, sidebars, etc. for different pages and post types throughout the site? If you envision having all of your site’s content using essentially the same layout, this may not be a big deal.

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But if you want to use a variety of layouts on different areas of your site, make sure the theme is up to the task.

Theme Options

Some themes give you the ability to change a few basic items like a site logo, link colors and the like. Others might overwhelm you with hundreds of options you’ll probably never touch.

If you’re a professional designer/developer, you might be fine with tweaking CSS or PHP templates (using a child theme, of course) to get things the way you want them. If not, make sure that the options included in the theme give you the ability to change what you want.

Added Functionality

If you’ll be using a shopping cart such as WooCommerce, it’s a good idea to look for themes that have custom styles for that plugin built in. Otherwise, you may need to live with the plugin’s default styles or customize some CSS to match the rest of your theme.

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There might also be other functionalities built in like content sliders, shortcodes, testimonials, work portfolios, widgets, advanced photo galleries, etc. that could be of use.

Looking to the Future

This is one area we don’t often talk about. Will the theme you install today be able to evolve with the rest of your site? Maybe you’re starting small with just a few pages. But as time goes on you may start adding a lot of other content.

Make sure your theme has a navigation structure and layout options that will allow you to easily organize things in a manner that makes sense for the user. It’s better to find that out now rather than realizing that you have outgrown your theme a few months down the road.

Digging Deeper

I know it can be difficult to sift through the vast amounts of info related to themes. So the best thing to do is to narrow your choices down to a few that you think will suit your needs.

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Then, take a look at reviews and comments for those themes and also browse any support requests you can find. You’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. You might even find out what types of sites other users are creating with the theme. Hopefully, you’ll get a clearer picture of which theme will work best for your site.

Did you know that you can hire an Envato Studio Provider to install or customize a WordPress theme for you? Services start from as low as $50.

Finding the right WordPress theme does involve more than picking out the one with the coolest look. However, if you craft a plan of what your needs are, it will make the process of elimination much easier.

Picking the right theme can give your site a more natural flow and help you achieve your goals.

Are you ready to choose your theme yet?

Browse WordPress Themes  →

Image Source: Set of Flat Website Templates by graphics4u.