Guide to Choosing a WordPress Theme

When it comes to starting a new blog, or revamping an existing blog, choosing a WordPress theme will be one of the most important decisions you make.

how to pick a wordpress theme

While most people are focused on what their blog or website looks like, the fact of the matter is there are more things to think about when choosing a WordPress theme.  Let’s take a closer look at how to choose a blog theme that works the best for you.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is something that allows you to customize the look and feel of your site.  Themes in WordPress have the ability to change your theme’s page layout, color, fonts, and more.

Many WordPress themes still require some sort of setting change to get them the way you want them to look.  Some have an easy to use graphical user interface, while others require some level of programming to make them work.

Remember, WordPress themes make your blog look pretty by making changes to the programming of your website.  This is something very important that not many people think about.

Depending on how the theme was programmed, these changes the theme makes may have a big impact on your site.

How to Pick A WordPress Theme – What You Need to Think About

Here are the things you really need to think about when it is time to pick a new WordPress theme:

  • How hard is the theme to customize?
    Will the theme require lots of customization?  How is the customization done?  Can you do it yourself, or will you have to hire a developer?
  • How “heavy” is the WordPress theme?
    What makes up the WordPress theme you are going to install?  Does it require lots of code?  Does it require lots of plugins?  How many files will it load for a user?  Remember, plugins have an impact on WordPress performance.
  • What are the reviews on the theme?
    Do people love it or hate it?  It is important to makes sure people are saying mostly good things about a theme if you are thinking about using it – after all they have more experience with it than you do.
  • How many downloads does the theme have?
    We want to use WordPress themes that many other people are using.
  • How often is the theme updated?
    It is important that a theme is updated on a regular basis, so you can ensure that it works with the latest and greatest version of WordPress.

Best WordPress Theme Sites

When you are ready to start seriously looking at WordPress theme sites, there are a many many places out there to look.

Here are the best WordPress theme sites I always use when looking for a new theme:

These websites all have a huge directory of themes to choose from.

Choosing a WordPress Theme

Now that you know what you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a WordPress theme, it is time to make your choice.  Here is a step by step process for choosing a WordPress theme.

  1. Set your budget.  Many premium themes come with a price tag.  It may be a one time payment, or a yearly fee.  Make sure to include any customization work you cannot do yourself in your budget.
  2. Browse for themes.  Use the websites above to make a list of themes you like to go back to later.
  3. Examine each theme in depth.  Think about the questions we asked above for each and every theme.  Also ensure that you can see a demo of the theme to get an idea of what it looks and feels like.
  4. Narrow down your choices.  This may take a while, because picking a theme is such an important aspect of your website.
  5. Finally, choose a WordPress theme.

After You Choose Your Theme

After you choose your theme and purchase it, do not forget there will be customization work you must do.  If you are not doing it yourself, be sure you have ample time and budget to have a professional assist you.  Upwork is a great place to find WordPress pros to help you out.

A Tale of a Bad WordPress Theme Choice

I wish I knew everything I did now many years ago!  With my first website, I specifically picked themes based on the ability to make my website have pink colors with minimal optimization.

This was a very very poor choice on my part.  I did not understand how a WordPress site worked back then, or the implications of picking a bad theme.

The theme has not been updated in a number of years, and has very large files that it loads for my users.  This means I had to do all sorts of weird stuff to increase my site speed.  It is also not customizable enough for mobile out of the box, because when I bought it mobile was not as popular as it is today.

Had I used the knowledge I now have, I would have never picked that WordPress theme, but I learned many important lessons I can now share with other bloggers!

Take Your Time When Choosing a WordPress Theme

My final piece of advice is to take your time when choosing a WordPress theme, especially if you are looking for a premium theme that will cost you money to deploy and upkeep.  If you take your time now, you can avoid the headaches I find myself having on one of my other websites years later.

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