How to find the right WordPress theme

It’s a challenge to find the right WordPress theme, I’ll tell you that honestly.

There is not only an incredible number of themes, but also free themes and premium themes. Pretty and less pretty designs and themes with what feels like 100,000 functions and setting options.

That can quickly overwhelm you, which is also reflected in the results of the last survey among my readers. Even experienced bloggers often shy away from looking for a new theme.

The search for the right WordPress theme should be fun, because it’s a bit like shopping. 🙂

I’m your shopping advisor today and I’ll tell you what you should pay attention to before you decide on a theme and how to install it.

What is a WordPress theme?

Design templates are called “themes” in WordPress. This allows you to define the appearance of your website without any programming knowledge. Or in other words, with the help of your theme you decide whether your website appears in an evening dress or rather in a sporty and elegant way.

WordPress separates the content of your website from the design. This is a great benefit as it gives you the ability to change your theme without losing your content.

Of course, themes can also be customized. From small changes, such as colors or fonts to complex adjustments, everything is possible. But you should have at least basic knowledge of CSS.

What speaks for a free theme

If you just want to try out the possibilities you have with WordPress, then a free theme is a good choice.

You have the largest selection of free themes in the official WordPress theme directory, which you can access directly within your WordPress installation.

Basically, I recommend that you only get your theme directly from the official theme directory or from well-known providers, so that you are on the safe side.

However, please inform yourself about the range of functions and the price models for upgrades. I don’t think much of so-called “freemium” models, which lure you in with a free basic version and you have to pay dearly for upgrades.

The advantages of a premium theme

From my point of view, premium themes score with a clean technical basis, professional design and good support. For me, this also includes detailed documentation of the theme, which supports you in the configuration.

That’s why I prefer and work exclusively with premium themes based on Studiopress’ Genesis framework. This combination is lightweight and not overloaded with unnecessary features.

Genesis acts as a parent theme on which all associated themes are based. For me a solid solution that many theme designers use as a basis.

Provider of premium themes based on Genesis

Important considerations before theme purchase

Before you start your search, you should of course know what you actually want, what your theme should be able to do and what you really need.

get inspired

I’m sure you already have. You’ve probably looked at websites and thought about what you like and don’t like, even if only unconsciously.

That’s good and the right basis for the search for the right theme.

Now choose a few websites that you particularly like. Think about why you specifically chose these sites. Make a list of all the details that you like and write down why you think these points are important.

This will give you a clearer idea of ​​which design elements and functions your theme should have and you can specify your wishes in the next step.

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Define important functions

In concrete terms, you should think about the desired functions. Decide whether you really need a feature or just want it.

You should consider whether the desired theme should already have all the functions or whether you should simply retrofit it with plugins. Themes that play all the pieces can quickly become overloaded, which has a negative effect on the loading time of your page.

Here are a few questions you should answer for yourself:

  • Want to change colors and fonts?
  • Is a navigation bar enough for you?
  • Do you need a page builder?
  • Are you planning an online shop?
  • Will your website become multilingual?

Responsive design is mandatory

Your new theme should definitely have one feature. It must be displayed correctly on all end devices (PC, tablet, smartphone, …).

In order for this to succeed, the design elements are shifted depending on the screen size in order to be able to display your content optimally.

Actually, I shouldn’t have to mention this point in 2020, but unfortunately I still see too many pages that are not optimized for mobile devices and thus scare away visitors.

To check whether your desired theme is mobile-optimized, you can use Google’s “Mobile Device Optimization Test”. There you simply enter the link of the theme live demo and you will immediately get a result.

On to the subject of shopping

You know what you want and now you can finally start browsing the theme directories. This part is sure to take the most time, but it’s also the most fun.

Feel free to choose several themes that you like and compare their functions with your wish list.

Showcases and live demos of a theme are particularly helpful. This will give you a good impression of how other users use this theme and what options it offers.

There are also a few important details for each theme that you should definitely check before buying or downloading. These points give you important information about the quality of the theme.

1 – When was the last update?

Themes should be updated regularly by their developers. The main thing is to adapt to the current WordPress version or security updates.

If a theme hasn’t been updated for more than half a year or isn’t compatible with the latest WordPress version, it’s better to keep your hands off it.

The exception are themes that are based on a so-called framework. Here you put your eyes on the update date of the framework itself.

2 – Theme Ratings

The opinion of other users on a theme is always interesting. Don’t just rely on the number of stars, but also on the number of reviews.

Read through some of the most recent reviews, paying special attention to reviews with only 1-2 stars. Here it is important to assess what exactly is the reason for this bad rating.

3 – Number of active installations

Another indicator you can use is the number of active installations. Themes that are used by many users are obviously more popular and are therefore more likely to be of good quality.

4 – Vendor Support

Who can I contact if I have questions? Is there support if something doesn’t work? Good customer support is an important point for me and definitely a decision criterion.

With premium themes, the support of the developer must be guaranteed. But providers of free themes are often very committed.

How to install your WordPress theme

Once you’ve found your theme, the next step is to install it.

The free ones Themes from the WordPress theme directory are the easiest to install. You can access all of these themes directly in your WordPress backend in the “Design > Themes > Install” area via the search and install them with one click.

You can get yours from external providers Theme as .zip filewhich you import directly into the WordPress backend under “Design > Themes > Install > Upload Theme”.

If you choose this Genesis Framework and choose a suitable theme, you will receive two .zip files. Then you first upload Genesis (without activating it) and then your desired theme.

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Take your time to look around before you decide on a theme. Once you have found your desired theme, take your time and try it out to see if you can get along well with it. And if it doesn’t fit, be brave and exchange it.

If you would like help finding the right WordPress theme, book a free strategy call with me. I’m happy to be there for you.

Do you have any questions about themes? Please leave me a comment.

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