How To Choose a Theme For WordPress
In this post, I am going to go through how to choose a theme for WordPress. By the end of this post, you will know everything about choosing the right theme for your website.
A WordPress website consists of three elements:
WordPress – This is the platform that allows you to manage your website by giving you the ability to create posts and pages etc.
Content – Your content is your posts, pages, images and videos.
Theme – Your theme creates the visual element of your website. It determines the layout, fonts, colour and formatting.
Components Of A WordPress Theme
Layout – Your layout consists of things like column width and positioning.
Colours – Themes affect the colour scheme of your website, including the fonts, hyperlinks and buttons etc.
Fonts – The them makes sure that your typography is the same throughout your website without you needing to do it manually.
Sizes – This is related to fonts, as your theme sets the text and headings to their appropriate sizes. But, it also determines the logo size and other aesthetic elements.
Speed – A theme strongly affects how fast your website loads up. Therefore, the simpler the theme, the quicker it will load, which is vital for its usability and Google rankings.
Choosing A Theme
Your Theme Needs To Allow Focus On Your Content
Putting aside your personal tastes, your website needs to have your content at the forefront. By this, I mean that you don’t want it to have loads of different colours and animations, such as spinning headings, or flashing banners. The reason behind this is that there is no point in having a great looking website that makes it difficult to see the content, and we all know that content is king.
If I land on a website where it is difficult to read the content, I won’t hang around. Often websites are too complicated, with lots of colours and distractions. Sometimes the fonts are too small and placed on a dark background. This is off-putting and deters your website visitors. Therefore, simplicity is the best way forward to make sure people pay attention to your content.
What Do You Need?
Different websites have different requirements. For example a business website will have different needs to a blogger’s website or an e-commerce website. But, making your mind up between what your website requires and what you want it to have. Here are some of the things your theme needs to have:
Diversity – The more diverse a theme is, the less plugins you need (which slow your website down). Also you will be able to expand and adapt your website later on as it grows.
Simple to use – The easier your theme is to use, the less time you will need to spend on setting it up and adding new elements to it. Often, this means you will need to learn how to code, and you don’t need to do that these days.
Mobile friendliness – Most people are now looking at websites on their phones and tablets. Often themes make a website look and work great on a desktop, but not on a phone. This puts people off and they leave your website.
Multiple eolumns – This allows you to tweak the layout to suit the style of your website. Also, it could be useful when your website has lots of content or you need to sell advertising space.
Disable elements – You may want to remove titles etc
Control over typography – Not only does this give you more control over the aesthetics and readability of your content, but you can tweak it to work better for mobile devices if necessary.
Preview changes – It is great to be able to see your changes, so you know it looks great before you publish them.
Ability to add code – Later on, you may find it useful to add extra pieces of code to your website. You won’t need to learn how to write this code, but being able to copy and paste it will prove invaluable.
Check The Reviews
The you choose a WordPress theme, you can see how many downloads it has had. You can also see reviews from their users. These reviews are well worth taking notice of, as you will be able to find out if there are any issues.
In addition to this, you can do a quick Google search to find out what people are saying about potential themes.
Should I Use A Free Theme Or Pay For One?
You can chose between free themes and ones that you have to pay for. There are thousands of free WordPress themes to choose from, but they do have their limits. The limits you will encounter are the lack of support, limited functionality, limited in design and the ability to make certain changes. Some themes give you the opportunity to pay for an upgrade, which is fine if you are are considering paying for the upgrade.
Paid themes give you benefits such as, support, updates and a good reputation. But, support is your main benefit.
I had a problem with the theme on my first website, which was free. Unfortunately, it had a problem and reduced my traffic by two thirds in two days! It is still recovering from the problem now. If I had support, I may not have had the problem, or would have come up with a fix sooner than I did. Having said this, when your website is new, a free theme is fine.
Do I Need A Theme Builder?
Examples of theme builders are plugins, such as Thrive Themes, Elementor, Beaver Builder or Astra. Theme builders allow you to add certain elements such as images, buttons, text boxes, animations and star ratings etc to your content with ease. They allow you to put these elements on to your website, by dragging and dropping them into your content.
Theme builders are not necessary to use, at least in the early days of your website. But as your business and website grow, you will be able to decide whether it would be beneficial.
How To Install A Theme
It is very easy to install a theme on to your WordPress website. All you need to do is follow these steps.
Log in to your WordPress dashboard and hover your cursor over the ‘appearance’ in the left hand menu bar. You will see that several options appear, including ‘Themes’. Clicking here will take you to the ‘Mange Themes’ area of WordPress.
The ‘Manage Themes’ area allows you to install and activate themes. To add a new theme, click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of your screen.
The next page is where you can find and choose a suitable theme for your website. You can also see a preview of each one, to give you a rough idea of what your website can look like. A good one to start with, is a theme called Generate Press. To find this, you can just use the search bar at the top right of your screen. You will see the theme show up at the top of the list, so all you need to do now is hover over it and click on install. You will then notice that the ‘install’ button changes to ‘Activate’. Click on this to make it live on your website.
Once you have activated your theme, you can customise it. You can tweak your theme as much as you like using the the menu on the right hand side of your screen in ‘customise’ mode. You can alter the layout, set menus, change the colours, typography and much more.
Don’t spend too much time on this, as you will want to make changes to your theme as your website grows.
That Is How To Choose a Theme For WordPress
Following these tips will help you choose the right theme for your WordPress website. If you have any thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments section below.