How to choose the perfect theme for your website
Let’s begin this theme tutorial with an introductory question: what the heck is a theme?
Well, it can be defined in many ways, but to put it simply: the theme is the “graphical engine” of your WordPress website.
In other words, the current theme will define the look of your site and of course, will allow you to customize every single visual element displayed in the front-end area.
Now one of the really cool things about using WordPress, is that you can replace the current theme anytime you want. What does it mean? It means that with a few simple clicks you can completely revamp your WordPress website generating a new style and a completely different visual experience. And trust me, there are zillions of available themes out there even for free …
BUT! Changing your installed and already configured theme isn’t a good idea!
First of all, you could confuse your visitors conveying a different feeling and an apparently different message …
But, more importantly: every single theme comes from a different source and different developers. In other words, every single theme comes with different advantages and disadvantages, features, integrations, etc. This is why you could easily end up with annoying layout issues, nasty WordPress conflicts, crashed plugins, etc after installing a new theme.
So, here’s my advice:
- if your WordPress site is some sort of hobby for you, you’ll have to invest time and effort to find the perfect free theme for your site
- if you have serious plans with your WordPress website, you need to make a small investment to purchase a professional theme that comes with powerful features, useful integrations and a reliable support
And once you have found the perfect theme, STICK WITH IT.
Now finding a literally outstanding and truly reliable free theme isn’t easy at all. The main reason is pretty obvious: there are too many options. But, that’s it … If you want to use a free them, you’ll have to make an effort. So, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking for a free WordPress theme:
- don’t download anything from suspicious or shady, questionable sources!
- ALWAYS read the existing documentation! you need to know every single detail, any limitation, etc; if the documentation is unclear or penurious – or even worse, there is no documentation at all -, just forget that source and move on
- if isn’t responsive and mobile friendly, forget it!
- make a list with your requirements (using the above ideas) before you search; this will help you to narrow down your possible options very quickly
And one final tip: you should start your search in the native WordPress theme directory. These are open themes and more importantly these themes are following the WordPress guidelines.
Speaking of guidelines … As a regular WordPress user you don’t have to learn scripting languages, coding techniques or any other nerdy things, but understanding how these themes work, could help you to choose the right theme for your site and to troubleshoot it once has been installed.