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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GShaw Premium
Robert,

Thank you very much for putting this together.
I think this will help me at least a bit with my struggles.
I believe maybe I am looking at the wrong things when choosing a theme.
When I think of themes. I think of the images, so I find myself seeking a theme where the images represent my niche. I am now starting to understand that this isn't something to focus on. That we can change our images to suit our niche?

Is this correct?

One final thing, do you of any assistance that will help walk us through the different features of WordPress? I am sure I am not the only person that maybe doesn't understand all the features so it makes it hard to pick exactly what we might want in our theme.

Thank you again,

Greg
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Greg.

Yes, the images you see in the themes when select them are only placeholders and can be changed to match your niche. They are only there to give you an idea of what your website will look like once you add pictures
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GShaw Premium
Great!

I will keep that in mind when making my decision.

Greg
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MaryFRM Premium
Hi, Robert,
I'm stuck with theme selection. I want it to be calm and simple, as you say. Unfortunately, I cant find MesoColumn in the theme search now. Do you know of anything similar that is available?
I don't like this menu icon on the sites, prefer the regular way of small tabs to clock on.
What do you think of HitMag theme vs Hiero?
Thanks in advance
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mtrew2015 Premium
You can also find many free themes that you can upload. You can type in the search on google "best minimalist wordpress themes" and get some more options. You can download many and then upload them, just be careful of what sites you download not to get a virus. Make sure they are reputable.
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boomergp08 Premium
Any theme that hasn't had an update in 1year or more, like MesoColumn, is removed from the WordPress search feature.

There dozens of other simple looking themes available, you just have to spend the time looking for them.

I am not familiar with HitMag but Hiero is another simple theme.
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Karax Premium
The thing is that there are a lot of heavy, over-bloated with unnecessary features theme out there which are well-marketed and because of that people often think that they are the best choice. I have to tell you that this is misleading.
I've tried DIVI, I've tried X, I've tried Avada (which has half a million sales and 5-star ratings). They are all overrated and slow.I had huge issues with such similar themes in terms of speed, bugs and user-friendliness.
The core foundation for building a nice website is to have a lightweight and fast theme which easily integrates with any page builder.
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boomergp08 Premium
I fully agree with you. Many time I will come upon a website that have these impressive looking themes, but then I quickly leave once I see the website performance is to slow to load. Having a simple theme you can easily customize without any sort of plugins is definitely the way to go.
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Urolin1981 Premium
Hi! Robert,
Thank you for another set of excellent training for theme selection. Through one of WA members' recommendation, I has used Iconic One, which is speedy and I like that, but I am struggling on how to implement e-marketing functionality in vain. If you have time, please look into my site listed at right lower corner of my WA profile page, and suggest how....

Thanks, and much appreciated,



James
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome James and I will take a look.
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TW2016 Premium
Hi Boomer, I tried looking for mesocolumn today as part of the WP theme selection, but it seems that this theme is no longer there. I do really like their presentation which is neat with visual, snippets, and recent posts (three columns). With its absence, I ended up selecting Hiero which I found to be closest to mesocolumn.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes, Hiero is a similar type theme. Because MesoColumn has not been updated by its creators in over a year, WordPress has removed them from search results.
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TW2016 Premium
Thanks or letting me know the information and update. I like your website theme presentation very much so my best choice that I selected is Hiero. Will let yo know how my site is progressing later. I really like the presentation, content, and training you have provided and will like to model like your site too :)
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JamesJB Premium
Hi, Robert. I too had a go at finding this site, like kasotty, but it's not available in the Search Bar. I found it at https://wordpress.org/themes/mesocolumn/, but it says that "This theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress."

The fact that it may have compatibility issues with more recent versions of WordPress sort of worries me. Is my concern unfounded?
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes. you cannot find it in search. WordPress automatically removes all old themes that have not been updated in over a year, from its search results.

As for the theme having compatibility problems... Personally I have been using it ever since 2013 and I have the latest version of WordPress. I have seen no problems with it.

That doesn't mean it has no problems whatsoever. There could be plugins that I do not use that are problematic. But if you are considering using it, first try it on a test website to see if there are any issues.
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JamesJB Premium
I see...many thanks for giving me such a detailed explanation about this theme.
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boomergp08 Premium
My pleasure James.
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JPride Premium
Thanks for posting this training. I recently chose a theme I liked because it was simple and had the functionality I was looking for a MMO niche. However, when I went to publish posts I noticed the font is extremely small so now I am wondering should I find some sort of plugin to change the font or just find another theme altogether.
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boomergp08 Premium
Personally I would search for a new theme that either has a bigger font type or that gives you the ability to change the sizes of the font.

The last thing you want to do is add another plugin to your website. Remember, the more plugins a website has the slower it will run and the higher the likelihood of compatibility issues.
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JPride Premium
You make a good point. I would hate for another plugin to slow down my site. Thanks for the advice!
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Zarina Premium
You might benefit from this tutorial:
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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
Reply
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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JeanLouis87 Premium
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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MozMary Premium
great training Robert, but I've had the 'new policeman' come in and tell me to remove my links from my blogs to my wa training, it will be interesting to see if 'he' comes in and does it to you here :D

oh yes, with a threat to report you as spam otherwise!
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boomergp08 Premium
LMAO!!

Who ever this new spam policeman is, they are not too smart if they think sharing internal links to our own training tutorials are spam.

If it were true then Kyle and Carson have violated the spam rule and all of my training blogs and tutorials would have been flagged years ago.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing "internal WA links" within our tutorials and blog posts. The links we are not to share are outside links to our websites.
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MozMary Premium
yeah, an ambassador!
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boomergp08 Premium
Perhaps this Ambassador should use some common sense about what kinds of links are allowed and which ones are not.

Look at it this way. It is an SEO fact that internal links help to increase the SEO of a website.

Here at WA we share internal links all the time in blogs, tutorials, comments and live chat, to help further educate members.

Why would the sharing of these internal links be considered spam when they are INTERNAL? Plus it is encouraged by Kyle.

All members, even Ambassadors, need to be more careful in what they claim is true before sharing with the community.
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MozMary Premium
yes, it is a no-brainer

also entering our PM box with demands is actually against the rules for members, even if he was right, which clearly he wasn't in my case and a no-brainer for morale and keeping referrals on the platform too
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