Summary: You can spend all day, all month, or as I did, years… looking for just the right theme. When I started with WordPress this was my Achilles heel. I wasted way too much time and money chasing themes.
The wrong WordPress themes are a constant source of grief. Whereas the right theme can make the the entire website ownership a much more pleasurable experience.
The holy trinity of a WordPress website.
- Themes – provide the overall look of your WordPress website such as layout, colors, and fonts.
- Plugins – are like phone apps for WordPress and they provide additional function.
WordPress is the base and actually requires the least amount of time. Themes and Plugins on the other hand together provide form and function to your website and because of that, require more time and attention.
Choosing a Theme
A common mistake many make when searching for a new theme is restricting their decision to how the theme looks visually.
A better choice is to dig a bit deeper and look at the less obvious aspects of the theme such as:
- Customization options – Integrated features
- Unwanted features
- Mobile responsiveness
With so many themes available it is easy to get overwhelmed by the shear number of options out there. However, knowing what you want as you shop will make it a lot easier to find the theme that meets your needs.
#1 reason 90% of WordPress Themes will let you down
For the most part theme designers are not concerned with the effectiveness consequences of their theme on our websites.
To help you find the right theme here is a checklist that is the result of my 11 years of experience and current research findings on online user behavior.
This checklist also assumes you do not need to load up on plugins to have access to the following basic functions.
The best themes utilize a 2-part framework consisting of a main parent theme underneath and a child theme on top.
SEO, Site Speed, and Usability
Avoid bloated themes jammed with all the latest trends. Main goal id to find a fast loading, visitor and SEO friendly theme.
Simple and Uncluttered Design
A visitor friendly design is of utmost importance. A lot of themes are jammed with an array of colors, layouts, and features that may appear useful but in the end create a more complicated site.
Your theme should enable you to display handcrafted excerpts on…
- Category Archive pages
- Tag Archive pages
- Blog page
- Search Results page
Do not use themes that ignore the handcrafted excerpt and use the post content when building the list of posts for the home, archive and search listings pages.
Write a specific excerpt for every post you write. Seriously – do this consistently!
Finding the right WordPress theme should be based on functionality and effectiveness, not cosmetic features. It is easy to be lured by beautiful themes, fight the tendency! Look at the themes track record and the developers commitment to creating a theme that can be customized to create the perfect effectiveness tool.
I’m almost afraid to admit how many themes I’ve tried over the years. Let’s just say the list is long. I finally decided to move to StudioPress Genesis and I have not looked back. Genesis is clean code, easy to customize, and comes in at the right price.