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9 Expert Tips on Picking the Perfect WordPress Theme

Did you know that there are over 31,000 WordPress themes available on the market? With such a large number of themes, how in the world do you choose the perfect one for you?

Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you make a decision.

1. Take Notes

Before anything else, you need to figure out exactly what you want on your theme. You should brainstorm with someone else or just get a piece of paper and write down what you want from a theme.

Your ideal theme also depends on the type of content your website will publish. Basically, you want to be looking at things like loading speed, whether you want a cutting-edge design or something really simple, features like an e-commerce store, a blog or a vlog, and the amount of pictures vs text on the theme.

There are no right or wrong answers. Just ask yourself these kinds of questions and write down your preferences. After this process, you will know exactly what you want.

2. Think Ahead

You know your website and your long-term goals for it, and that is important. You don’t need a theme that is ready to include a store if you won’t be selling anything now or in the future, but if that is one of your future goals, now is the time to think about it.

Think about what plugins and widgets you will need. All of this is important because of compatibility issues.

3. Who are Your Users and Visitors?

This information helps a lot when picking a theme and deciding what you want from it. Look into things like user behavior or origin in order to choose the best plugins and widgets for your audience. Make sure that your theme is compatible with those.

4. What to Look Out for?

When picking a theme, try to test it or see if there is a running version on any other site.

See the widgets they are using, note their loading speed, and look for anything else that really matters to your particular case.

Just because site X or Y is using it doesn’t mean it is good for your case. Always keep that in mind.

Also, you need to know if it is updated frequently to be compatible with the most recent WordPress versions. Look into the available support services. When you set up a new theme, some problems may occur, so it’s a good idea to know if someone who worked on the theme is available to answer questions you may have. This could be a major issue on a free theme.

Take the time to read the customer reviews about certain themes to see if they ran into any problems that may be a deal breaker for you.

5. Free or Paid Theme?

This is an important part: you should know that a paid theme is not necessarily a better theme. There are a lot of high-quality free themes out there and some really bad quality paid ones.

Take the time to explore both possibilities, read reviews, and do some research on the seller.

6. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The theme you choose can absolutely affect the way search engines walk through your website.

There are some plugins that can help you improve the overall performance of a website in this particular point, but some parts of the theme’s coding in itself can highly affect your SEO. Make sure the coding on the theme is clean and well-organized. This could be tricky for a beginner because great-looking themes are not always optimized, and it could affect your website’s loading time and SEO-friendliness.

7. Responsive Theme

Currently, most websites’ traffic comes from mobile devices, so you want to make sure your theme can adapt to different screens. Having a standard PC theme is not an option anymore, as you can access the Internet from pretty much anything.

You can test out your theme on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Page for compatibility issues with your theme.

8. Language Compatibility

First of all, not all themes are built in English as a base language, and this could be hard for you to translate yourself. On the other hand, you may want a website in your native language or to build a multi-language website.

If that is the case, you need a theme that specifically states that possibility. Again you must ask yourself if you need this possibility now or at some point in the future.

9. Test, Test, Test…

Picking a theme is an important task for the future of your WordPress-based website, so take the time to test all the functions. Test them on different browsers, different mobile devices and mobile browsers too in order to make sure everything is working smoothly and without errors before you make your final decision. Then, you can feel confident in making your chosen theme live.

If you follow these 9 tips for picking the perfect WordPress theme, you will certainly end up with a great-looking theme that offers compatibility with all the features you may need now or in the future.

Take note that every site is different. You shouldn’t pick a theme just because it looks good on a competitor’s website that has a lot of visitors. You need it to adapt to you as the manager, to your specific user base and to your future goals. It is a very personal decision.

One final thing you need to know before you make your decisions doesn’t have to do with theme choices, but with the plugins and widgets you install on it. Make sure you install only the features that you really need. No one likes a slow website.

About the author


Matt Hall

Matt is a marketer and WordPress expert. Founder of Scepter Marketing, Matt oversees the larger web dev projects for the company. Seeing innovative ideas come to life is his passion, and therefore he pushes Scepter ahead to help our customers bring their projects to life.