Once you’ve purchased your website domain, set up your hosting, and downloaded WordPress to your new blog, your next step is to pick a theme for your site. Now, there are thousands of themes available for you to choose from. So, there are a few things that you need to consider when choosing a WordPress theme that works well in attracting your visitors.
Cost: Free or Paid?
Once you have successfully set up your blog you’ll be able to see that there are many, many free WordPress themes available for you to choose from. Just because they are free, however, does not mean that they are of lesser quality. These free themes, when downloaded through WordPress theme shops, have been put through a strict review process. Free WordPress themes are handled with the same care and scrutiny as those that must be paid for. Keep in mind, though, that themes not offered through WordPress have not been reviewed by their development team and may not be up to the high WordPress standards.
There are some things to consider if you choose a free WordPress theme. For instance, there are limited support options available for free themes. If you have questions about something you are setting up, you will have to search for the answer from others who have used the same theme, rather than getting hands-on help from the developers. Also, there are often not as many options for extra features. With many of the free themes, you will get everything you need to have a fully functioning, albeit basic site. There will be a few options for customizations.
WPBeginner offers an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of free and paid WordPress themes that will help you to make the decision about which direction you’d like to go through when searching for your theme.
How Tech-Savvy Are You?
Are you looking for a pre-built theme or would you rather customize your site? There are thousands of pre-built themes available, both free and paid, but if you’re more interested in customizing your site to match what you have in mind, two very highly recommended options are Beaver Builder and Divi Theme.
Are you comfortable with troubleshooting issues that come up or would you prefer to have an expert take over and figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it? If you prefer more hands-on help addressing issues that arise, you should plan on purchasing a theme that comes with technical support. This kind of assistance is often not available with free themes, so make sure to find a theme that you can purchase and review the terms of the theme to make sure that the support you want is offered by the developer.
Aesthetics: What Do You Want Your Site to Look Like?
In the beginning, it may be difficult for you to determine what options you want to have on your site and what customization you will want to be doing to your site. The easiest question to ask yourself at that point is, “What do I want my site to look like?” Take some time and find a few websites that have the aesthetic you admire. When you find a theme that you like and one that echoes your brand, it’s easy for you to then download that theme.
Is the Theme Mobile-Friendly?
In a world where millions of people are using phones and tablets to look at websites, you need to be picking a mobile-friendly theme. Your site needs to grab your reader’s attention immediately and if a reader has to zoom in or zoom out to read your content, there is a good chance they will not stay on your site longer. It’s not difficult to make sure that the theme you pick is mobile-friendly. Just read the description of the theme and make sure that designation is noted.
Where Do You Find a Theme?
So, you might be wondering where you go to look for themes. The easiest place to go in the beginning is direct to the WordPress.org theme page. There you can browse the current popular themes, add filters to narrow your search (remember, there are thousands of themes available!), and see what jumps out at you. There are themes created for business pages or blogs. There are themes with one column or multiple columns. Plus, some themes have sidebars on either the right or the left. There’s a theme to fit every blogger’s needs. WP Beginner offers this list of the 45 Best Free WordPress Themes.
You can also do a Google search for WordPress theme shops. (Two popular shops are Studio Press and Themify.) It’s not required, of course, that you purchase or download your theme from WordPress.org, but make sure that you are purchasing your theme from a reliable vendor. Very little is more frustrating for a blogger than a site that is plagued with issues.
Do not get overwhelmed by the process of picking a theme for your website. Find what is visually attractive to you, easy to read and navigate, and download it. Remember, you can always change the theme on your site down the road. The key is to get your blog started and start bringing in traffic. If you aren’t sure whether your theme is attracting an audience and keeping people on your site, you may want to install a plugin such as MonsterInsights which is a Google Analytics plugin for monitoring and analyzing traffic. Keeping a close eye on your analytics will give you a good insight into what your visitors are doing. You can always adjust your site later on as you grow and progress as a blogger.