There are thousands and thousands of theme options out there for WordPress websites. Making a choice can seem overwhelming. So where do you start?
Before you even start searching, it’s important to do the groundwork to help you make a decision that is right for you, your business and it’s website!
Know the Purpose of your Website
Determining the purpose of your website is the first step in choosing a theme. Are you selling products and services and require an online store and/or payment gateway? Does your business require an online presence to provide information and resources? Are you educating visitors, generating leads or building a reputation? Considering the goals of your website and drafting a website purpose statement will assist you in clarifying the specific type of theme you need.
Capture the Functionality Requirements
Have a think about the functions of the website, and build yourself a list of what you require. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Contact Form
- Shopping Cart
- Pop Up
- Hello Bar
- Social Media Icons
You may not find the perfect theme with every function you require, so prioritize your requirements. Themes are generally for design, and plugins for functionality, an important consideration when choosing your theme. Whilst your theme might not have the function you require, a plugin may be available. It is worthwhile to check whether themes are compatible with the plugins required. A good theme will have recommended plugins too…
Make the Theme Your Own
You may be lucky and find a theme out of the box that is perfect, but if you don’t make sure there is a Customiser. Read the fine print about what can be changed and what can’t be changed. Check if there is a PRO version, generally more flexibility (and more support) to help give your website the look you require.
There are a range of page builders to consider as well, Elementor, Divi and Gutenberg to name a few. These drag and drop builders allow you to create page layouts easily.
Test the Demo Theme
A mobile responsive theme is very important, and you should always test the demo site on a mobile device.
Make sure support is included, for a paid or PRO theme 6-12 months is standard. Always check whether the theme has been updated and it’s compatibility with WordPress.
Support may be provided by a ticket system or forum, but in the first instance checking out documentation or tutorial videos should be your first point of call. It’s important to note that support may not cover assistance with customization.
Check out and evaluate the reviews and star ratings. Slow response times or no follow ups should ring alarm bells.
Selecting the right WordPress theme for your website is important. It’s the foundation of the website you are building. As the first impression of your business, it needs to look good, be easy to navigate and provide an optimized user experience. Best of luck with your search and selection.