So, how do you choose a WordPress theme?

Do you want your business to benefit from a great user experience, but you can’t seem to decide which one of the many themes out there to choose from. You want something simple that does what you tell it to do, but don’t know how you’re going to find the right thing. If you go too slowly through the countless options, you’ll waste time and your business will suffer. I’ve been consistently using the same themes for clients over the last 3 years, and I’ve learned a lot about how to set up a website with little hassle.

As a website designer I love trying new WordPress Themes – what I’m going to be testing will be the best one. If I’m bored on the weekend I will purchase a theme just to try it out and build a website to see what features it comes with. You can take your pick from lots of different options, and it can sometimes be hard to tell how a one might perform relative to others.

Since I’ve been using these themes for so long and seen them work for clients, I thought I’d share this with anyone who might be confused. So the following guide will show you how to easily choose a theme without the headache.

1. Decide what kind of website you want.

Are you selling products, services or writing blog articles? This will help narrow down what the theme will need to do for you.

You need a theme that will stand on its own. It’s also good to use a theme with a page builder that you are at least vaguely familiar with, so you’ll can see how it’s put together and understand what it needs to do to look and function the way it does.

Popular page builders include Elementor, WPBakery Page Builder and Divi Builder (there are more!). My two favourites are the first ones – they’re fairly intuitive and once you have passed the first learning hurdle, you’re pretty much set to maintaining and tweaking your own site easily.

2. Research WordPress themes.

To choose a theme I choose a one that is popular (has lots of downloads), is supported and has great reviews. This is a usually a fail safe way to choose a theme you can trust. I usually scroll through themes on ThemeForest and view all their demo sites to ensure it will do what I’m after.

As an example if I search for WordPress Popular Items ThemeForest brings up a list of 2022’s Best Selling WordPress Themes. The Top 5 are currently: Avada, Salient, Flatsome, Bethel and The7.

2022’s Best Selling WordPress Themes

What if a theme you love doesn’t show up on a top selling search? Don’t despair. One of my go to themes isn’t on this list but I would still recommend it to clients due to the extent of its customisation. If you like a website and would like to achieve a similar look, you can use ‘What WordPress Theme is That‘ to work out what theme the site is using. This is brilliant!

3. Set your WordPress theme up.

Once you have chosen a theme you need to set it up. After purchase you will have a download of the theme in a zip file. You can then upload that in WordPress > Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme > Choose File > Install Now.

Once installed you will need to activate the theme and then get started customising it. This is where a well supported theme will pay dividends as they will have installation guides and documentation that you can work through to set your theme up. It can be quite a big task and if you don’t have the time, patience or inclination it would be easier to just hire someone to set it up for you – someone like me! Yes, I actually enjoy new theme setups. Get in touch people.

4. Enjoy the satisfaction of choosing a WordPress theme.

Once customised your new theme should be giving you goosebumps. That’s probably stretching it but it should be giving you the satisfaction of doing what you wanted it to do. If you’re a blogger then you should have multiple post template options to keep your site and visitors feeling fresh every time they visit. If you’re a product-based business, you want you shopfront to be easy to navigate with a great layout, easy checkout experience and a natural visitor flow from first impressions to purchase. If your theme is not giving you these vibes then it’s either not fit for purpose, or you need a website whizz to whip it into shape. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness when it comes to WordPress. You can seek help with the theme developer, on community forums or hire a professional. Just be sure to keep a backup of your site! If you have an option with your website host for a staging site, this is an even better way to try out themes before publishing them to your live site.

Okay that’s enough about WordPress Themes, I’m off to play with my latest theme download.

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