PAGE 1 - Things to consider when first selecting a WordPress theme

PAGE 2 - What I do when I find a theme I am interested in

PAGE 3 - How my selection process works using Demo & Details

PAGE 4 - What just a little theme customization will look like

When first choosing the theme to your website you probably will be looking for a theme that is either eye-catching with slider images or seems to reflect what you would like your niche to represent visually. There is nothing wrong with that. However...

In many cases a simple looking theme that can be customized is better in my opinion and here is why. Better rankings in Google. Yes, you read that correctly. How can a simple theme effect search engine rankings for the better?

USER EXPERIENCE IS A RANKING FACTOR

When first choosing a WordPress theme I always consider how my website visitors will react when seeing my theme on a mobile device. Even though we create our website on a computer, we really need to see how it will look and function on a smartphone.

Obviously you will have to install your theme first before seeing how it looks on mobile. But by choosing a simple theme first, you could always change it later to another theme you like. Just make sure to do this early on in your website development.


When a website theme is simple and easy to navigate this gives a better UX, user experience. Another thing to consider is Page Speed. When a theme does not use large header and background images, or has sliders, it will load faster.

In the image above you can see that the Home Page of my WA promotional website, indicated by the word "Index" has a really good Page Speed Rankings of 97 for both desktop and mobile. It's a simple theme which I tastefully customized visually.

I am sure you would like your website to stand out. That can be easily accomplished with the nearly 3,000 different themes available. But if you were to do what I did with my WA promotional website, I chose a simple theme and customized it to my liking.

On the last page of this training I will show an example of what I did to an already simple theme to make it more user friendly yet attractive. But to recap, choosing a simple looking theme to start your website is best, you can always change it later.

NEXT UP = What I do when researching and selecting a theme



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Melissa901 Premium
I really like your way of putting this because it is something I have been playing with. The theme I have now is ok. But it seems like I really can put pictures where I want them and there are just certain things that I can't make go where I want them. So I am still playing around. Thank you.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. All themes are different in some way when it comes to displaying pictures. However every theme has the ability to post pictures to its home page for a visual representation of its blogs. These are the Featured Images we select for our blogs.
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Melissa901 Premium
Thank you I think the themes are one of my more serious struggles I have never dealt with them until I came on here. So I truly am grateful for the info.
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boomergp08 Premium
Themes can be a struggle to many people, especially if they do not want to take the time to customize it to their liking. It really helps to get to know the abilities of a theme.

But the customization of a website theme is one of the many reasons why WordPress is the most used website platform in the world. They allow you to personalize your website through their many custom settings.

It is a learning curve, but one that is highly worth it because you can find new ways to get things to happen on your website that you may have thought you needed a plugin for.
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Melissa901 Premium
I appreciate the insight. I still don't know much about plug in yet either. Working on that one to. Boy I sit here and am so proud of how much I have learned along the way and in the same sentence realize how little I do know. But I know I will get there in time
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boomergp08 Premium
Like I said, it's a learning curve and even after all this time I have been here, I too still have a lot to learn.
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kmer6 Premium
I do just as you in testing a website theme with one of the many SiteRubix I get as a Premium member. I didn’t consider the speed test option until I read this training. That’s a fantastic procedure to perform BEFORE installing any website. Thank you, Robert, As always, for this great training.
Ken
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Ken. I am more than happy to share what I have learned and done that can benefit this community. Testing the site speed of a theme is important if you intend to use a theme because every theme is not created equal.
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Dhind1 Premium
Thank you for taking the time to do this. I have struggled through finding the right theme. Eventually I used the search box on the theme page and searched for my niche theme. This gave me results that were tailored to my niche. However, I did not check the details tab. I will do this in the future.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. It is always important to check both the Demo page to see the default formatting of the theme and the Details page to see the capability options.
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gartnerf Premium
Good advise, especially using one of your free siterubix sites for a test or development platform. That's the way I design and test my sites until I get it the way I want/need.

The one thing I would add is checking the compatibility of the theme with the current Wordpress version. If someone isn't updating their theme to keep pace with Wordpress changes you may have glitches or problems with WP operations and possible plug-in conflicts.

Thanks for the info!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome and yes I agree, using a test website is also good to test themes against latest WordPress updates. A test website is a smart approach to website development in my opinion.
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JeanLouis87 Premium
To: boomergp08
JeanLouis87
Hi Robert: Very interesting. I bow to your themes expertise.

I just changed my website theme to one that looked good, then discovered (as I had with the one I just dumped) that the large mountain scene I thought was an integral part of it, was not included! So all I got was a band of one colour across the top!!

Decided I would later add images. I then found that they shoved all
my menu scattered across the top...looks ghastly! I cannot find in
the menu customization how to get it all out of there and do it down the right hand side. Any ideas you could give me, please?

One other question...Since every one of my 16 posts will be listed in my menu, do I need to spread them across 3 or 4 pages? Makes no difference to the reader as far as I can see, right?

John aka JeanLouis87
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boomergp08 Premium
John,

This is the main reason why I highly recommend members create a test website, so they can see how making theme changes will look before they make them to their live websites.

As I stated in this tutorial, it is important to remember that the themes you see on the selection screen are what they could look like with images that you will add.

To see an example of what your website will look like when first starting out, make sure to click the Demo link under the theme. The majority of themes do not come with the images you see.

To add your own images you will have to go into the theme's customization section and look for how to add/edit the Header Image. Most themes are different so you will have to experiment with changes.

Again, themes are different in how they display pages and posts. Personally I am not sure by what you mean by having your posts in your menu. There is no right or wrong. It's all personal choice.
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