How to Choose a WordPress Theme: Your Guide

18th May 2021

How to choose a WordPress theme

Don’t fret if you don’t know how to choose a WordPress theme. We’ve got eight crucial tips to steer you in the right direction. Continue reading our guide right here to learn more:

Are you launching a new business website? Do you plan to use WordPress to design and run it?

That’s a wise choice, given how a vast majority of websites run on WordPress. However, your first step in building a WordPress website is picking the perfect WordPress theme. 

Design That Works For You

The first thing you should look at when picking a WordPress theme is the aesthetic design. Function comes before aesthetics, yes, but at the same time, it has to be a theme that works for you. It has to look beautiful to you and your site visitors.

What should you look for in terms of beauty? You need to look at the layout of the theme, the use of negative space, the types of fonts used, and the structure of media assets. Colour is also important, but there are a few other factors to look into, so we’ll tackle that in-depth below.

However, beauty comes at a cost. One of the next factors to consider after choosing a theme that looks nice is to consider their optimal speed.

Optimized Speed

Did you know most people will abandon a slow page that won’t load in three seconds? Your website could have the products, services, or answers they need, but it won’t matter if they can’t access it. A slow site is a deathwish, and people will abandon and forget about it over time.

The best themes for WordPress work around this problem. They focus on quick design philosophies. This means fewer background animations, fewer heavy frames, and elegant use of assets. The theme you choose should be light and fast.

Paid vs Free WordPress Themes

Can you make it with free themes, or should you shell out cash for premium themes? 

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes, and you will do just fine with either. Premium themes, however, will often come with more functionality and usually lots of setting and bells and whistles.

The problem with that is that all those features bring weight to the site and quickly slow your site down. Free themes, on the other hand, are great as they cost nothing! The trouble with this is they can often get abandoned and not updated to support the latest code. The right theme for your website is one that has been updated recently, one that is actively developed and supported but the creators and should mobile friendly. This means that the theme is responsive and will adapt to any screen size.

Updated Themes

Before you choose a theme, check the date of its most recent update. If the last update was a year or so ago, don’t pick it. The developers may have already abandoned it and won’t aid you in case there are problems.

Constantly updating a theme ensures it stays secure, functional, and optimized for the latest version of WordPress. Updates also guarantee that the theme works well with the latest browsers and Google algorithm changes.

A good theme that is updated also means you can count on the developers to be there in case of an issue. The last thing you want is to use a theme and then have to fix problems on your own.

Colours Matter Too

Keep in mind that colours can affect how a person thinks or feels. Blue, for example, can seem both relaxing and authoritative. Yellow can give a sense of euphoria and the sense of fun adventures. 

Go for a WordPress theme that considers how the colours will affect the mindset of the visitors. If you want to present your site as a formal and legal entity, you might want to stick with black and white. If you’re going to portray your website as an environment-friendly eco-site, go with green and blue. 

Don’t forget to include colour-blind options too. 

Compatibility on All Devices

Not every WordPress theme automatically features a responsive design. You might pick a theme that looks great on desktop computers but becomes a mess when viewed on mobile devices. Don’t make this mistake — check for compatibility across most types of devices.

This means testing the theme on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone, and a smart TV. Check how the layout changes, where the menu buttons go, and how the text looks.

Custom Theme

Some of the best WordPress themes come from templates, yes. However, you may still want to go for a custom theme instead. This is when you hire professional theme developers to design your WordPress site from scratch. 

This is perhaps the best option because they can make a theme that meets your exact needs and wants. It will look and function as you require. The good news is that designing a custom theme is far more dynamic than before, thanks to page builders like Elementor or Divi.

Of course, the main downside is the cost. Hiring professionals for this type of service costs more than simply paying for a premium, ready-to-use theme. However, the pros easily outweigh the cons.

With a page builder, for example, you can most likely design your own site yourself. You might have a slight learning curve, but you have complete control of the theme for your WordPress site. Page builders often have drag and drop functionality, making designing easy; they are natively mobile-friendly and will have all the features you need.

Plugin Support

Every WordPress theme should feature reliable plugin support. Without the right plugins, your site can become stagnant, gathering dust due to the lack of important options and features. You’ll need some of the best WordPress plugins to truly get the most out of the platform, after all.

For example, you’ll need Yoast SEO to optimize your pages for search engines. A plugin to compress your images to help make pages load quicker, and another plugin can turn your simple site into an online store

Now You Know How to Choose a WordPress Theme

Learning how to choose a WordPress theme isn’t difficult as long as you follow these simple tips. Decide between custom themes, paid and free ones, and always look at plugin support. Don’t forget to optimize for speed and to look for one with a pleasing design. 

Of course, using WordPress doesn’t end here. You still need to install the best plugins and add content.

The good news is you don’t have to do these alone. We’re here to give you a helping hand. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Gavin Pedley

Gavin Pedley

Gavin is the guy behind the award-winning ThriveWP. He has over 18 years of experience creating, developing, hosting and managing WordPress websites.

Gavin regularly shares his expertise via the ThriveWP blog and Youtube channel, where he creates informative and helpful WordPress tutorial videos.

Connect with Gavin on FacebookLinkedin or Twitter.

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