As I write this article, there are currently over 3,500 WordPress themes available for download. This of course poses the challenge of how to choose a WordPress theme and not just any theme but the right one.

In this article, I am going to attempt to make the selection process a lot easier for you by listing 8 different criteria you should use when you want to choose a WordPress theme.

I hope it helps …

Theme Category

The first and easiest criteria to work with.

Themes are very often grouped under categories such as blog, business, e-commerce and even multi-purpose. This is done to give an indication of the type of website the theme was designed to be used for.  You can save yourself plenty of time by ensuring you are searching in the right category for the kind of theme you are looking for.

complete guide to wordpress themes

General Design & Functionality

You can always customize the design and functionality of any theme you choose but it makes sense that you try and select one that already offers what you are looking for right from the start. This will prevent you from having to start tweaking the theme unnecessarily. Also, many themes do come with bonus features such as child theme, SEO and even adsense optimization.

Theme Options

This is particularly key if you don’t have any CSS or WordPress development experience. When a theme has got options, this means that you might be able to perform some customization like adding your logo, changing the fonts and colors used and even set up different sidebars and page layouts.

theme customizer options
A screenshot of the theme options available with OceanWP theme

Plugin Dependency

Some themes rely on certain plugins to fully function and a prime example is the Divi theme which was built primarily to work with Divi page builder. Other themes come bundled with some plugins as part of a package but we do not recommend buying themes like these.  The challenge with such bundled packages is that the plugins are embeded with the theme and cannot be separated. If one of the plugins stops working or is no longer updated, you can run into a lot of issues.

Sidebars

Sidebars are an important part of any WordPress website and the number of them available for use depends on the theme you choose. When choosing a WordPress theme, take into consideration whether or not you want to display content in specific areas of your website like the footer and then make sure the theme has such a sidebar.

If you want a tutorial on how to create your own custom sidebars so you are not limited by the theme you choose, check out  our YouTube tutorial on how to create a custom sidebar in WordPress

Page Templates

A page template determines what content is displayed on a page and how it is also displayed. The standard WordPress page template available with most themes is the one that has the main content area and a sidebar either to the left or the right of the content area. Many themes also offer the full width template which just has the main content area with not sidebar.

When choosing a WordPress theme, we recommend going for a theme that at the very least offers the standard and full width page templates.

Documentation & Support

These are usually available for just about every premium theme on the market but it is always a good idea to ensure that your premium theme does come with them.

Responsiveness

It is 2020 and more people now spend more time browsing on their mobile devices that standard desktops. As such it is vital that your website is responsive meaning it looks good and presentable on all mobile devices. Modern WordPress themes are built to be responsive

There you have it, our top 8 things to consider when choosing a WordPress theme.

If you do have other suggestions, be sure to post your comments below.

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