WordPress Undressed – Choosing a WordPress Theme
With managing your own website more simple than ever before with this powerful platform, it’s little wonder that around 25% of new websites are being built using the the WordPress CMS (short for Content Management System).
However, when it comes to choosing a theme (which gives your site it’s look and feel, such as colours, fonts and layouts), it’s easy to get trapped in the rabbit hole of finding the perfect theme for your website or project.
With more than 17,000 themes available, this post is dedicated to simplifying the process for you.
Questions to ask when choosing a WordPress theme
- What purpose is it going to serve?
- How do I want it to look?
- What functions does it need?
- How much skill does it require to operate
- Will it need additional customisation?
Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to search for a theme that meets your needs. You may decide to search by colour, feature, or even industry. I suggest using GOOGLE IMAGES as a place to begin seeking a theme that has the features you are looking for.
Looking for something pink? Try searching “pink wordpress themes”
Need something blue for the health industry? Try “blue health wordpress themes”
Looking for a portfolio theme for your photography business? Try “wordpress portfolio themes”
It is also worth doing a Google search for the most popular themes in your industry, such as “top ten daycare wordpress themes” or “best motor vehicle themes”. Popularity is important, as it may be an indicator that the theme has been used and tested by many, and hopefully has easy to use features and functions if you are not a web developer. It also helps narrow your search!
Once your WordPress theme search delivers some results, you can begin to explore the ones that you feel meet your short list of features. Don’t forget to make sure they are responsive on mobile devices.
Remember too that you can start with a simple theme, and add features later. There are more than 24,000 plugins available (but bare in mind, you don’t want to add too many, it’s best to keep your site “lean”).
Generally, themes will fall under one of 3 categories. Free, Pro or Premium themes.
There are thousands of free themes available, but it’s important to consider that some free themes can have malicious code included in them, for advertising and malware purposes. Free themes may also be upgraded to pro themes with additional features to the free options.
Premium themes include:
- Woo Themes
- Theme Forest
- Mojo Themes
The beauty of premium themes is that they have often be tried and tested. I suggest you check number of downloads. CHOICES ARE ENDLESS! Do your research….
More features may mean more complexity, which means more time at your computer and a longer learning curve. Be prepared for this, especially if you anticipate doing it yourself.
Before choosing, check out the message boards for the theme you think you’d like to use. You will soon have an indication of the types of issues people have with their particular theme. It’s important to know whether your theme of choice is easy for an owner operator, as many themes require additional coding for them to work the way they promise. Not all themes are created equal, and some can prove very technical for a novice. The message/support forums will soon flag any potential issues.
Keep it Simple – WordPress Theme Checklist
- Start with a wishlist of “must haves” (include those in your Google search), as well as a list of features that are negotiable you are willing to let go of
- Rethink the “bells and whistles”. Does your theme really need that slider function? Always have ease of navigation for your website visitor tip of mind
- When you find a suitable theme – research it thoroughly. Check the message boards, and ask questions if you’re not sure
- Evaluate whether the theme will be easy for a non-developer to set up, or whether you will need to invest in a coder or technical support to get your site the way you want
My suggestion is not to complicate things, especially in the beginning if your business vision is still forming. It is very easy to over capitalise in the early stages, only to revisit and redo 6-12 months down the track. I can help you with a simple to use, beautiful but functional theme for your startup.
WordPress is really easy, but themes are a different kettle of fish. The are as varied as there are fish in the sea, and some are a pain in the butt for a novice.
Secret Squirrel Ninja Tip!
Have you found a theme you like on somebody elses site, but it isn’t identified in the footer? Check out WP Theme Detector – a handy tool for identifying WordPress themes. It will also let you know if it was customised by a developer, and some of the plugins (additional features) that have been added.
If you’ve got a theme tip, or a story to share, we’d love to hear about it, so share it below.