Perfect Match: Choosing a Theme for your WordPress Website

Perfect Match: Choosing a Theme for your WordPress Website

There are thousands of themes out there and finding the right one for your website can be difficult. Is a free theme any good? Is it worth buying a premium theme? Will it work?

We’ll talk about what to look for and what to avoid in your search for a good quality theme. The right one will display your content beautifully, be responsive, load quickly, and have the features you need for your site.

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Amber Hewitt

November 04, 2018
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  1. 3.

    THE BASICS WordPress Theme: A template or “skin” that changes

    the look 
 of a WordPress website. You can change the theme without changing 
 the content of the site.
  2. 4.

    THE BASICS Child Theme: A separate theme that inherits the

    functionality from another WordPress theme. When you want to customize an existing WordPress theme without losing the ability to upgrade that theme. Must have the parent WordPress theme installed.
  3. 8.

    BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A THEME List the goals of your

    site • Sign up for a newsletter • Sell products • Read your blog • Make an appointment
  4. 10.

    BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A THEME Set a budget • Themes

    can run from $19 to $129 • Consider joining a theme club (yearly fee) • A web host many offer free themes (e.g. WP Engine) • Budget for plugins, too!
  5. 12.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Free or premium?

    • Refer to your goals and budget • If this is a business, go with a paid theme • If this is a personal site, free is a good choice
  6. 13.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Free (Pros) •

    Well, it's free! • Great way to start a personal website or blog • WordPress Theme Directory: strict review process • Thousands to choose from!
  7. 14.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Free (Cons) •

    Similar designs • Limited features • The theme developer may stop maintaining
 the theme • May be poorly coded • No support • Thousands to choose from!
  8. 15.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Premium (Pros) •

    More features • Unique designs • Better support • Usually sold by companies • Quality is usually better
  9. 16.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Premium (Cons) •

    Cost: can go up to $129 • Learning curve • Too many features
  10. 18.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Standalone Themes •

    All-in-one solution • Only need to install one theme • Less complexity
  11. 19.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Frameworks • A

    fully functional, minimally designed theme • Installing a child theme changes the design • Can switch child themes without losing access to the core features and functionality of their website • Need to install 2 themes:
 Main theme (the framework) and child theme
  12. 20.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Frameworks StudioPress (Genesis

    Framework)
 studiopress.com Elegant Themes (Divi)
 elegantthemes.com/gallery/divi DIYthemes (Thesis Framework)
 diythemes.com
  13. 21.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Is it responsive?

    • Most theme are responsive, but always check • Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test
 https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
  14. 22.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Is it accessible?

    • Will people be able to read your site? • Can they navigate it with a screen reader? • Important for businesses
  15. 23.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Is it accessible?

    WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
 wave.webaim.org Web Accessibility
 webaccessibility.com 25 Accessibility Testing Tools for Websites
 ambr.in/AluAZu
  16. 24.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Design and Layout

    • Does the design work for your type of website? • How flexible is the layout? • Can I change the colors and fonts easily?
  17. 25.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Features • Does

    it have the features you need? • Can you add some of those features with a plugin?
  18. 26.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Browser Compatibility •

    Check the demo site on multiple browsers 
 and devices
  19. 27.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Plugins • Does

    it work well with the plugins you want to use? • Some themes will say which plugins they support
  20. 28.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Translation & Multilingual

    Ready • Will the site be multilingual? • Does it support multilingual plugins?
  21. 29.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Page Builders •

    Will the theme work with page builders?
  22. 30.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Documentation & Support

    • Look at the documentation: a great way to see 
 how this theme works • Does the developer offer support? 
 What’s the response time?
  23. 31.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Optimized for SEO

    • Does it load fast? • Is the code semantic? (describes the content) • SiteChecker
 sitechecker.io
  24. 32.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Page Speed Pingdom

    Website Speed Test
 tools.pingdom.com Google Speed Test
 ambr.in/cwpn1q GTmetrix
 gtmetrix.com
  25. 33.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Ratings & Reviews

    • What have other people said about that theme • Look for review articles • Go to social media
  26. 34.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEME Other things to

    look for • Is the version 1.0? • When was it last updated? • Number of active installs (WP Theme Directory) • See a website that you like? 
 Find out what theme they are using! • At a WordCamp or MeetUp? Ask other people!
  27. 36.

    WHERE TO FIND THEMES WordPress Theme Directory (free)
 wordpress.org/themes Themify


    themify.me StudioPress (Genesis Framework)
 studiopress.com
  28. 38.

    1 The Basics of WordPress Themes Before You Choose a

    Theme What to Look for in a Theme Where to Find Themes 2 3 4