Finding a suitable WordPress theme is a challenge these days. As you may have seen for yourself, today, there are a large number of free and paid WordPress themes to choose from. In order to keep an overview and not experience any nasty surprises later when choosing a WordPress theme, you will find some helpful tips & tricks in this article.
The agony of choice. There are thousands of free themes to choose from in the wordpress.org theme directory alone. Filtering offers you a first selection criterion. Under “Popular,” WordPress’ own themes “Twenty Nineteen” and “Twenty Seventeen” come first. Both themes offer a great place to start if you want to start with a simple blog, for example. To help you find the right WordPress theme for your own WordPress website or for a customer project, I would like to give you a few tips below.
Define the goals of your website
It will help you enormously when choosing the right WordPress theme if you think about the goal and purpose of your WordPress website right from the start. Do you want to start a blog with news and information, or is your goal a more complex company website?
If you can already determine the goal of your WordPress website, focus your selection on relevant topics or industries.
What should the theme be able to do
Since WordPress offers so many possible uses, limit the performance requirements for your future WordPress themes as precisely as possible. Do you want, e.g., B. start an online shop, so make sure that the theme is designed for WooCommerce.
Don’t be blinded by demo websites
Of course, all WordPress theme developers are meticulous about presenting their products in the best possible light. You should not let your decision be influenced too much by an optimized demo website. Because demo themes are perfectly coordinated: Images, colors, and typography usually result in perfect interaction. The loading time is also already optimized and can look completely different with your later setup.
So keep in mind that you will use your own images later. High-quality and paid stock images are often used on demo websites to convey a coherent overall impression. Of course, theme developers are not allowed to deliver license-protected image material with the theme (topic image licenses).
YouTube is your friend when it comes to finding right theme
You will most likely find a review or comparison of one or more WordPress themes on YouTube. Often in English, but to take a look behind the scenes of a theme, this is usually a promising option.
Read Reviews & Search Forums
Ratings or reviews give you more insight into how the selected theme performs with other users. However, the ratings for the free themes on wordpress.org are usually not very meaningful.
Also, look out for the “Last updated” display in the free themes on wordpress.org. If an update by the theme developers was more than half a year ago, it’s better to keep your hands off it.
You can find much more information on portals such as Themeforest for paid themes. Here you can often ask so-called “presale questions,” i.e., questions before the purchase. Themeforest’s paid theme reviews also give you information on how the theme developer responds to issues and requests. If the questions are not answered promptly, this indicates moderate support.
Good theme developers also have separate support forums for their themes. Here you will also find valuable information on common problems. If the questions are answered promptly here, too, this shows that the developers have a real interest in the users.
For example, try to find a so-called “change log” for a WordPress theme via Google. Here you can see the updated history of a theme.
Checklist for reviews, questions, forums, and tutorials:
Study ratings – Google search for experiences (note topicality)
Asking questions to the developer (Presell Questions)
Find YouTube videos with reviews & tutorials
How up-to-date is the theme kept? Is there a change log?
Is there a support forum? If so, what are the common problems?
Can you submit support tickets to the theme developers?
Free Themes or Pro Themes
When deciding whether to go with a free theme or a paid Pro Theme, you should think about your goals for the WordPress website. Your knowledge of how to use WordPress also plays an important role here because pro themes usually offer a lot of setting options.
Paid WordPress Themes
Do you create, e.g., B. a business WordPress website for you or a client? Consider a Pro Theme. Paid themes offer you more design options, support guarantees, help and community forums, and mostly their own tutorials. If you want to create an online shop with WordPress, pro themes such as B. “Flatsome” already have some additional functions for WooCommerce.
Pro themes often offer many presets for the overall design of the WordPress website, including their own page builder. You should already have some experience with WordPress and plan a training period. Many pro themes also offer complete demo content that you can import with one click.
Create a playground for testing
From my own experience, I can say that you should definitely create a test environment for WordPress before you go live with your WordPress website. Changing a theme is easy, but it can also leave a big mess if, e.g., B. the theme creates its own page builder content with shortcodes. This is especially annoying if your site is already online.
For WordPress, there are a few ways to create a test environment, e.g., B. to install it locally on your computer. Programs such as WampServer or Laragon create a local web server environment on your computer with which you can install unlimited WordPress instances.