What to Look For When Choosing A WordPress Theme
So you want to build a website of your own on WordPress but now, you need to choose a theme… But there are so many themes out there, which one is the right fit for you?
I ran into the same predicament when I started using WordPress and I’m sure many others have as well. There are just so many different options everywhere and it can be overwhelming to new WordPress users.
Looking back, I definietly wish I had a checklist of what I should have been looking for when choosing a WordPress theme. So here are several tips on choosing the right theme for you. I hope this makes you journey a little bit easier and more straightforward than mine.
So let’s get started!
What Style Are You Looking For In Your Theme?
I purchased several different themes and wandered between them all because I didn’t know from the beginning what sort of style I truly wanted in my site. I paid so much attention to the features and nitty gritty stuff that I completely blew over the big picture: What sort of feeling did I want to instill from my website?
It was like trying to buy a whole bunch of furniture for my house without truly setting an idea down for what kind of style I wanted my home to be – And it just ended up being quite a mess.
So I highly recommend thinking the big picture over first: What style are you looking for in your WordPress theme?
Here are a few examples of website design styles:
- Feminine or Masculine
What Are the Differences Between Free Themes and Premium Themes?
You may notice in your search for a theme that there are quite a few free themes in the market, but what are the differences between these themes and the premium ones?
I find that free themes are generally more simple in design and function, but there are also some really good ones out there. Premium themes will have more customization options and unique features, plus you are supporting the talented developers behind their work.
Free themes are a great way in testing out the waters and you may find one that you end up loving: If you are planning on using a free theme, please make sure it is coming from a reliable source before downloading it though.
I highly recommend going with a Genesis WordPress theme.
Genesis themes are separated into two parts: The main Framework and the Genesis Child Themes.
The Genesis Framework is where all the major workings of your website is located. The Child Theme is how your design customizations are integrated into the Genesis Framework. Thus, whenever you want to customize or update your site, you are not messing with the major components of your website. Everything is kept separate and organized in working order.
*Wait! Do not purchase the Genesis Framework until you know what Child Theme you are purchasing. Sometimes the Child Theme will come with the Genesis Framework. Othertimes, you have to purchase these two separately.
Reasons to Choose Genesis WordPress Themes
- The vast majority of website developers use the Genesis Framework for building their themes. You will have so many theme options to choose from.
- There is so much documentation and support for Genesis
- It is loved by many other bloggers
- Robust SEO
- Awesome site security
- Mobile Responsive
- Fast and clean-coded (Not bloated)
- You don’t have to pay a yearly fee: You purchase it once and you can use it forever.
You can find a bunch of amazing Genesis Child Themes here on StudioPress’s website.
Also read my blog post: 20 Gorgeous Feminine WordPress Blog Themes
Things to Look For in a WordPress Theme
Remember, you won’t likely find a WordPress theme that has ALL the features and options you are looking for. Hopefully, this checklist will help you find a theme that has the most of the features you are looking for.
What is the Main Function of Your Website?
Are you creating a website for your online store? A blog? A gallery page?
Find your site’s main purpose and make sure to study each theme closely to make sure it fulfills what you will be needing on your website.
Overall Site Features
- What Framework does it use? Do you have to purchase the framework separately or does it come with the whole package?
- What kind of page templates come with the theme? What layouts are available for the blog, gallery, homepage, etc
- Is this theme well-documented?
- Does it come with step-by-step instructions for installation and usage?
- Will the download give you everything you need to help your site look as close as possible to the live demo version?
- Is it SEO-optimized?
- Mobile responsive?
- Is the theme WooCommerce (e-commerce) compatible?
- Do you need more than one navigation bar?
- Do you want a sticky navigation bar?
- Does it come with a landing page? Or an Instagram landing page?
- Announcement bar availabe?
- What plug-ins will you use with it?
- Does it come with custom widgets?
- Will you have support even after you purchase your theme?
- Will the theme be continuously updated in the future?
- Check any reviews for the theme
- Do you want a full-width background? or a full-width slider?
- Do you want a background image? Or just a white or solid-color background?
- Are colors fully customizable? Or does it only have certain color palettes you can choose from?
- Fonts customizable?
- Be aware of the content width: Does it work for you?
- Is the logo/header area customizable?
- Check the footer design.
- How does the site look on mobile devices. Check the live demo on your phone just to make sure that it works for you.
- Parallax scrolling?
- Can you incorporate your Instagram feed into your website?
- How do buttons and share icons look?
- Does the theme come with a sidebar (Right, left, or both sides available?)
- How are featured images utilized?
- Check the blog page design (Are there different layouts available?)
- Check the blog post design
- Sidebar components
- Do you want a sticky sidebar?
- How are featured posts displayed?
There’s a lot to look out for when searching for a WordPress theme. Hopefully this blog post will help you keep your eye out for the important features you are looking for your unique website… Because likely no one WordPress theme will have all of these features. However, there are ways to customize your theme to get it close to your ideal as possible.
Try narrowing down your favorite themes to a handful and comparing them to one another. See which one will work the best for you. Take your time in making your decision – Don’t jump into it too fast.
Remember, if a theme doesn’t have an option you are looking for, you can sometimes find another way through the use of plugins. Keep this in mind.
Really get to know the live demo version and make note of little things. Maybe the theme has a lot of really cool features, but will they be practical for you? Will you really use them? Will it be too much work for you?
Really look at it from an objective viewpoint.
Related Read: 20 Gorgeous Feminine WordPress Blog Themes
I hope you found this blog post helpful! If you enjoyed this blog post, consider giving it a like, comment, or share this with your friends! I truly appreciate it.
Until next time my friends! xx