Choosing your WordPress theme is fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful too – is this the ‘one’? Does it really reflect my product, business or service? Is it too serious? Too fun?
WordPress themes instantly add a professional look to your website yet unless you’re prepared to pay for bespoke coding and additions, be aware that you’ll also be limited to the functionality and layouts that the theme provides. Just ‘moving the logo along a little bit’ or changing the positioning of text isn’t possible unless you’re prepared to code it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. But don’t worry, there are plenty of great themes out there that will have more than you’ll ever need.
And before you get your knickers in a twist, take a deep breath and read through the main things to think about when choosing your WordPress theme:
1. How much do you want to spend?
Your WordPress installation comes with three free themes that are suitable for blogs and there are also free WordPress themes that you can download. If you want a company page or more functionality then paying for a theme makes sense and premium themes cost around $70 (approx. £42). For this, expect theme support, better functionality and ongoing bug fixes.
2. Match your theme to your purpose
Whilst WordPress used to be a platform dedicated to blogging, it’s now evolved so much so that companies are building their websites around their blog and many themes reflect this change, with more company-suitable designs being released.
3. Does your theme match your logo?
If you already have a logo then you’ll want to find a theme that it fits with. Check out the colour combinations that come with your blog and see what the fonts look like too. If you have further money to spend, you can have these changes made bespoke for you.
4. Don’t be fooled by its appearance
Many themes look great but also try out their live preview. Click through as much as you can and better yet, find other blogs and website using that same theme and test it out. Does it work from a user point of view? Also look at it objectively – the main criteria for your blog should be functionality – does it have the functionaliy that you want? If you’re setting up a blog for example and want to run adverts, then make sure it has a layout for at least 2 columns.
5. Choose a theme from a reputable supplier
Anyone can design and code a theme and upload it for free or a small fee. If its not coded well or doesn’t have support then you may end up becoming hugely frustrated with your design. Changing themes at the start of a website isn’t too much of an upheaval but it helps to change it as little as possible as you then have plug-ins and widgets that may need reconfiguring.
A personal favourite is StudioPress . They have high quality design and coding that is reflected in their prices, but it’s worth it. Their support team are responsive and there’s a great forum to find answers and guides to setting up your website.
Take a look: StudioPress Themes for WordPress
6. Is there Support?
Most reputable WordPress providers offer support as and when needed. Sometimes the designer is available to answer questions and help out directly, sometimes there’s a forum and in some instances wordpress theme providers require a fee in exchange for troubleshooting.
7. Is your theme compatible?
Make sure your theme is compatible with as many browsers as possible otherwise some people may not be able to see your content. By ensuring w3 validity and cross-browser compatibility, you’ll be off to a solid start.
8. Check the T’s and C’s
Especially when choosing a free theme. If a theme requires a lot of backlinks back to their site, move swiftly on – this shouldn’t be part of the ‘deal’. And there are thousands of free WordPress themes out there, it’s just a case of searching through them for the right one for you. A great place to start for free WordPress themes is the WordPress Theme Directory.