4 Tips for Choosing a WordPress Theme

It’s impossible to know exactly how many WordPress themes are available throughout the Internet, but a simple answer is “lots.”

WordPress.org has well over 1,000 available as free downloads, and between all of the other companies selling premium WordPress themes, it’s likely that over 10,000 themes are tucked away in a small corner of the Internet somewhere. While all of the options mean that anything you could possibly want likely exists somewhere, the number of options can also be pretty staggering.

With all of those choices, how can you ever make a decision? Hopefully these four tips will help.

1. Consider your site’s purpose.

Many themes are designed for a specific purpose. Some are created for businesses with storefronts and work well with plugins like WooCommerce. Others are created for musicians and have templates set up for sharing your music, tour dates, and other music-specific elements. Still others are designed for an artist or photographer to share a portfolio of visual images.

If you’re designing your site with a specific purpose in mind, first consider what unique needs you may have and be sure the theme you select can meet those needs. With thousands of themes available, you can be sure that there’s a WordPress theme out there designed exactly for what you want your site to do.

2. Look past the images.

If you search in your WordPress Dashboard for a new theme, WordPress offers you a few handy categories — Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorites. These can help you narrow your search, and as you scroll through the options, a beautiful preview thumbnail shows you what your site will look like with that theme.

That’s actually not a true statement at all, though. The thumbnail doesn’t reflect what your site will look like, it shows you what the developer’s site looks like. If you’ve spent much time at all looking for a theme, you’ve probably noticed that when you choose to install the theme on your site, it looks nothing like the preview you saw. But why?

Many times, the main difference is images. When developers create themes, they want them to look to look as appealing as possible — and who can blame them? The problem comes when you don’t have your site filled with images like they do.

To help you better discern what a theme will look like on your site, as you scroll through the preview images, consider what that theme would look like without the big, colorful images filling the page.

3. Preview before you install.

If you find a theme you like in the WordPress repository of built-in themes, you’ll have the option to preview it with your content. With any theme, you’ll need to customize it to get it looking the way you want, but the preview will help you see what it looks like with your content. Stripped of the fancy images the developer’s preview uses, you’ll get a better idea of how the theme will actually look in real-world usage. Many premium theme sites have live demos on their site, so you can use those for the same purpose.

4. Try to visualize the final product.

Unless your site is loaded up with images, once-colorful themes easily look plain and even boring when you preview them on your site. That doesn’t mean that the theme won’t work for you, though.

This might sound contradictory to the two previous points, but it’s not. The key is to consider what you want your site to look like when you’re finished. Will you be adding images of your own? If so, it’s very possible that your site will look a lot better than it does in a preview.

As you search for the perfect theme, don’t just consider what it looks like with your current site, try to visualize what it will look like when your site has more content. If you don’t already have images ready to add to your site, think about what you would need to make your site look perfect. Do you need to hire a photographer to take some professional pictures of you? Do you need to hire a graphic designer to create a great logo or header image for your site? If you find a theme you like, you can even let your graphic designer see it and match the colors of your image to correspond with your theme.

If you already have the images you want to use, don’t be afraid to install a theme that looks like it has potential and try it out with your images. Oftentimes, good images can make an otherwise bad theme into a good one. If you add your images and the theme still doesn’t cut it, don’t be discouraged. There’s a theme out there for you!

Even with these tips, the search for the perfect theme can be complicated. If you still have questions, need some assistance, or would like to have a theme customized to fit your needs, contact us and we’ll be glad to help you!