There’s no shortage of WordPress themes available no matter what your website goals are. In truth, while having so many choices is a good thing, it can be overwhelming. You need to choose a WordPress theme that offers you the right areas of focus so that you can strategize and create a beautiful, yet useful website experience that converts.
How do you decide what you need in a WordPress theme?
What should you look for in a WordPress theme?
How do you choose a WordPress theme?
Confession: I own license to more than a handful of WordPress themes that ultimately weren’t for me because they didn’t really serve my purpose or reflect the type of content I had planned. Luckily for us both, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m ready to answer the questions above so that you too can make better theme purchasing choices.
Evaluate Your Blog or Business
Before you even start looking at themes, you need a clear direction of what you’re in need of. Go ahead… take out a sheet of paper (or 10) because I strongly recommend that you map out the vision and goals for your website before you venture out into the internet in search of WordPress themes.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is my website for? (Lifestyle Blogging? Digital Sales? Recipe Sharing? Physical goods? Get specific and be honest with yourself about what your website will be used for. The more detailed, the better chance you have at selecting a great WordPress theme that fits your needs.)
- What would my viewers expect to find? (If you’re a graphic designer, your viewer would expect to find a portfolio.)
- What is the main focus of your content? (Maybe you’re a blogger who is passionate about cooking. Is your focus to showcase recipes? Or are you focusing more on selling a cookbook?)
The answers to these questions will help you start figuring out what sort of layout you need so that it matches your audience’s expectations. This creates better converting interactions.
List Your Layout Needs
Once you have a clear understanding of what your website goals are, it’s time to start focusing on a list of features your website needs to have – things like a blog sidebar, type of navigation menu, email sign-up forms, etc.
This list will be different based on your website goals, priorities, and your general preferences. In any case, you should consider your audience when making these decisions, and keep things simple so that your viewers have a better user experience.
Once you have a list of needs, you can create a rough outline of what you want your website to look like such as where you want social media icons to appear, what sort of header space would best accommodate your logo, what type of content your homepage will focus on, etc.
Hello You Designs offers Custom Homepages so that you can mix and match the parts of each theme that you love. It’s a great way to create the user experience you need without having to do any complicated designing or coding yourself.
Determine what parts of a theme you need to customize
This is where everyone goes wrong. Do not buy a theme simply based on what colors it uses, or whether or not you like the fonts. Chances are, these things as easily customized through the theme’s options anyways. Sure, it’s fantastic if you find a theme that really has it all for you, but in most cases, you won’t.
Instead, read everything you can about a theme – including any setup information you may have access to before purchasing. Look at the demo content of the theme and ask yourself “What would I put there?”
Another important question to ask yourself is “How would my content look?” Too often first-time WordPress theme buyers get caught up in pretty demos and expect their website to look exactly like the theme out of box.
Have you checked out the Hello You Designs theme showcase? It features dozens of examples of beautiful customizations by theme owners. You too can get the look you want with your own content and few clicks!
Make Sure it’s Mobile Responsive!
We’re in the mobile age. While I personally don’t read blog posts from my phone, I know a lot of people who do. Having a mobile responsive website can easily make or break you as a website owner. Check out the theme demo from your mobile device and tap around the page to get a sense for how the website is viewed and interacted with mobile.
Make sure you have ample access to Support
Some theme creators offer limited support for their WordPress themes and may even require you to join a forum and wait multiple business days for an official response. Other theme creators offer support through email during set business hours and respond regularly. It’s up to you to decide what level of support possibilities you’re comfortable with.
in any case, WordPress themes should always be listed as coming with some form of setup documentation to help you set up and make the most out of your theme purchase.
What are some things you look out for when purchasing a WordPress theme?
Let me know in the comments what struggles you’ve encountered and what else you might take into consideration before choosing a theme.