How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for your Website

With thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect one for your website. It becomes even harder when you’re not sure what to look for. 

The best way to narrow it down to find one that truly fits with your goals is to pay attention to specific characteristics. Those characteristics vary depending on your individual needs, but with some basic guidelines, finding the right WordPress theme becomes a lot easier. 

Figure out your desired features

Design can make or break a website. That’s why it is crucial to figure out how you want your website to look and act before you jump into deciding on a WordPress theme. The best way to begin is to check out other sites in the same field. If you’re making a website to promote your photography business, look at a few other photography business websites to get an idea of what you like. 

Note the features you find most attractive and functional so that when you’re choosing your WordPress theme, you can try to find one with those essentials. Examples of features include being mobile-friendly (a must!), menu styles, the number of columns, social media plugins, and navigation style.

It’s also good to note that having a website with too many features can slow it down. Stick to a theme with only the features you need to keep your site performance optimal. 

Pay attention to code quality

A WordPress theme that has poor coding will cause issues with how the website performs. You want your site to be efficient, responsive, and hard to hack. If a theme has bad coding, your website may not work correctly or quickly, which can harm your business. Bad coding can even make your site more vulnerable to hackers. That’s why it is vital to select a theme that uses up-to-date coding practices to keep your website efficient and safe. 

Luckily, you don’t need to be a tech expert to find a WordPress theme with proper coding. Find themes from trusted providers that have good reviews. If the provider has been around for years and has many premium themes to choose from, that’s a good sign that their themes will have solid coding. When selecting a free theme, make sure it has had thousands of downloads and good reviews. This shows that many people use and like it, which is an excellent indication that it utilizes proper coding. 

Don’t pick a theme without good support and updates

If you have questions about how to use the features of the theme or end up having technical problems down the line, you’re going to need support. Support usually comes in the way of email, forums, and online tickets. When you pay for a premium WordPress theme, you should be getting great support. The developers of the theme should be available to help you when you need it. 

Free themes generally do not have the kind of support premium ones do. The developers aren’t getting paid, so they probably don’t have a ton of time to help everyone who may encounter problems. That being said, popular free themes often do get some kind of support from developers, and there may be information in forums that can solve issues you may have as well. 

Another necessary factor when choosing a WordPress theme is how often it gets updated. All themes should be updated from time to time. If it isn’t, it isn’t a good theme and should probably be avoided. Make sure the theme you want is updated frequently before committing to it. You can do this by looking at its changelog. That will provide an overview of the theme’s development process. 

Be mindful of the aesthetic details

Websites that perform well are usually also visually appealing. Colors, layouts, and fonts matter when choosing a theme. Choose colors that match and that resonate with your brand and genre. Also, keep in mind that people generally prefer lighter colors to darker ones. Darker colors make your content more difficult to read. 

Choosing a very readable font is also important. If it’s hard to read your content because the font is hard to decipher, you’ll lose your audience. Websites with simple, undecorated fonts tend to do best. 

Keep your budget in mind

There are tons of both free and premium WordPress themes available. If what you want includes complex features, you might have to pay a little bit of money. Premium WordPress themes range significantly in price. Whether or not you should pay for a site will depend on what factors are important to you.

If you’re looking for a very minimal website that centers on content, you probably don’t need to pay (or pay much) to get what you are looking for. Free WordPress themes can be very good. However, if you want your site to be highly interactive, animated, or full of dense content to load, that’s when it becomes worth it to spend some money for your website to function correctly.  

Jason S

Jason has been developing websites since 2008 using Wordpress. He has designed business sites, blogs, product review sites, and e-commerce sites. He has in-depth experience in customizing WP themes and plugins. Read more of Jason's articles.