Choosing a WordPress theme can be one of the most difficult parts of how to start a blog. There are thousands of themes out there. So, how do you know which theme to choose? I’m going to walk you through how to choose a WordPress theme that will work best for your needs. I’ve been blogging for eight years now and I’ve been through many themes. I would consider myself a seasoned pro when knowing what to look for in a WordPress theme. Not all themes are created equal and different themes have different features.
Make a list of the features that you want your theme to have
The first thing you should do is list out the things that you want your theme to have. Are you running an online store? Then you will want your theme to be compatible with Woocommerce. Do you run a service based business? Then a theme that has a portfolio page would probably be beneficial to you so that you can show your work. The best way to figure out the features that you want is too look at other blogs and sites that you like. Make a list of all the features that you like about those sites and it will be a good starting point.
What to look for when choosing a WordPress theme
- Mobile Responsive
- SEO Optimized
- Regularly Updated
- Lightweight Theme
- Easily Customizable
- Sticky Menu
- Home Page Options
A mobile responsive theme will adjust it’s layout depending on the device that it is being viewed on. Mobile responsiveness is not only important for user experience, but it also affects SEO rankings.
A mobile responsive site is no longer negotiable. If you don’t have a mobile responsive site, then you will loose out on traffic. Having a site that isn’t mobile responsive will also hurt your SEO rankings. The majority of themes these days are mobile responsive. However, make sure that the theme you choose is mobile responsive.
With an SEO optimized theme, you have a better chance of ranking higher in search engines. This will bring more traffic to your site. This is why an SEO optimized theme should also be something that is high on your list. I use the Genesis Framework on my site and use a Genesis Framework compatible child theme. The Genesis Framework is search engine optimized. It also updates automatically so that the code is always up-to-date and fully optimized.
The problem with free themes is that most of them don’t get updated regularly and are often poorly coded. Regular updates are important to keep the code up-to-date and keep it running smoothly. You don’t want to risk your site’s security with a poorly coded and outdated theme. This is why I recommend buying a premium theme. A premium theme from a developer will get updated regularly and will be well coded.
A theme that is lightweight won’t have a lot of features that you don’t need. A theme with a bunch of extra features will just slow down your site. Your site speed also affects SEO rankings. While some of the features may sound cool, in the long run it will only hurt your site speed. Be sure you choose a theme with the minimal features that you need.
Not all themes have the ability to customize the colors and fonts. However, most paid premium themes do have this ability. Most paid themes will utilize the WordPress customizer and let you easily customize the theme so that it works for your brand. When you purchase the theme, just make sure the theme is customizable. Otherwise, your theme will look just like it does in the preview and you will need to hire someone to customize it.
A sticky menu is at the top of my list for features that a theme must have. A sticky menu will move down the page as you scroll so that you don’t have to scroll all the way back up to the top. A sticky menu will make your site more user friendly. If your theme doesn’t have a sticky menu, there are plugins available to turn your menu into a sticky menu. However, I rather have a theme that has the sticky menu already available because adding extra plugins to your site can slow it down.
Home Page Options
When people think of WordPress, they typically think of it as a blogging platform. It is primarily a blogging platform. However, over the years it has become so much more. Most themes will have the option to have a custom home page instead of displaying your latest blog posts. This can be beneficial if you want your site to be more than just a blog. We’ve made our site the hub for everything that encompasses our brand which is more than just a blog. If you want to do the same, then you will need to choose a theme that has home page options and doesn’t only display your blog posts.
Other features you may want your theme to have will depend on how you are using your site. For example, you may want your site to be Woocommerce compatible if you are running an online store. You may also want your theme to have a portfolio page if you have a service based business. You can showcase your work in the portfolio. The blog layout may also be important to you. Most premium themes offer different blog layouts so that you are sure to have a layout that will work for you.
If you are looking for a feminine wordpress theme, then check out my post on the best feminine WordPress themes. I switched to the Genesis Framework a couple of years ago and I highly recommend it. The Genesis Framework ticks all the boxes on my list of features. With the Genesis Framework you will also need to purchase child theme to use with it. The Genesis Framework is just the “bones” of the theme and then you will need a child theme or the “skin” to make the site look good.
Here are some great places to purchase high quality premium WordPress themes:
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