Now you have your domain & hosting set up. And with WordPress installed it’s time to turn a basic layout into a beautiful website or blog. For this, you need a theme! In this article, I will take you through how to choose a theme for your blog. It will cover all the things you need to consider.
What is a Theme
WordPress is the container for which everything sits. It is your content management system (CMS), it’s a storage space for all your media and content. But it does not determine the way your website looks. That is the job of a WordPress theme.
A theme is a template. It comes with layout options and features to create a website based on an established design. Different themes offer different layouts. Most newer themes have the flexibility for you to create the design you want.
Others are more restricted. But you can then use plugins to manipulate your theme further and add additional features.
Free vs Paid Themes
There are thousands of themes in WordPress. You can opt for a free version, or pay for a WordPress theme. Paid for themes will have more features and more customisation options. They will also have better theme support should you encounter any problems. The theme author could abandon the theme at any point. Leaving the code to get old and incompatible.
I have never used a paid theme for any of my own website designs. When I worked for an agency we used paid-for themes. But, there is nothing that I cannot do with the free themes that would make a paid theme worth it.
If ever my theme no longer worked I have the know-how to recreate my website with a new theme. But if you want a theme that will stand the test of time then consider looking at the paid options.
If you are starting out, you are going to want to experiment with your design. You may find down the line, that the theme you have chosen is not working for you. So I recommend starting with a free theme. When you are happy with it or want to add more features, consider upgrading to the paid version.
Important Theme Features
It is important to consider what kind of features you would like your website to have. The number one feature your website must have is mobile responsivity. You would expect that all themes are mobile responsive. But there are still some out there that do not work well on mobile.
Make sure to test your chosen theme on different devices or use a simulator to do so. Many WordPress themes have a link to a demo in the description. Make sure to check out the full working demo and see how it works at different sizes.
You can filter your search for themes by the features in WordPress.
I use a plugin called Elementor. This plugin is an easy to use page builder that allows you to build completely custom web pages. There are many options that would need an understanding of code to edit without the plugin.
I look for themes that are compatible with Elementor. Most themes are compatible but to make sure I do a Google search. I then look through the demos and then search for my chosen theme back within the WordPress search.
To Sum Up
Consider functionality and future development when choosing a theme for your blog. Make sure to look at working demos to see if a theme will do the things you want to do. And use the feature filter within WordPress to search for themes by feature.
Try not to spend too long on this stage of the project. I have spent hours in the past looking for themes. It wasn’t until I started putting content on my site I realised I needed different features and had to change. Choose a theme that looks good and does the basics t. Consider changing it later line when you have started creating the valuable content.
Happy Theme Hunting!