Choosing a great WordPress theme can make or break your site: sometimes literally! What’s more, since it’s also the very thing that defines how your site will look and feel, it’s also something that can hugely influence the popularity of your site in general. Put simply, it’s something every site owner should spend some considerable time and effort into getting right. To help out, we’ve put together a handy YouTube video on how to choose a theme that suits your needs.
Here’s what you need to know:
Hi. This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to talk about how to choose a great WordPress theme. To begin with we need to define what you’re looking for. Now a WordPress theme is simply how your WordPress site looks, what the design is like. So what do you want? Do you want a theme with lots of pictures or more text? Do you want something very configurable or very simple? Do you need support? Do you have a budget? Answering these kinds of questions can help narrow your search right from the very beginning and keep you from wasting time just wandering around looking at everything. Now, that said, you don’t have to have the answers to these. Go ahead and take your time and wander around. Window-shop. Look at everything. Many of the things that we’re going to look at in this video you can download and play with and then throw away with no cost. So have no fears and let’s go find you a great theme. Once you have some answers to these questions, we want to go looking at some places that have great themes. One of the best places is right here at WordPress.org — we’re under the themes section right here in the nav — and in here they have many, many themes available and you can sort them by Popular and Latest. Another great place to find themes is under the commercial themes tab right here on this very same page. Now, each of these icons is not a theme; it’s a store that sells themes. And there are some advantages to buying themes that we’ll talk about in a few minutes. Another great place to find themes is called ThemeForest. It’s part of the Envato market. ThemeForest has over , WordPress themes available for sale at a variety of prices. These also come with support. There are some other great places to find themes and in the description for this video you’ll find a link to an entire video just dedicated to those great places. Once you’ve found a theme or two or five that you like, there are some things that you could do to help narrow down which theme it is you’re looking for. For one thing, look at other themes by the same author or store. For example, if you find a theme on The Theme Foundry that you like take a look at some of their other offerings. There’s Oxford, but under themes you’ll also find Watson and Bailey and Linen. What we’re looking for here is consistent quality. You don’t have to like their other themes, but you want to know that this particular organization can reliably produce good quality stuff and if you like the look in general, then you’re probably going to enjoy their product. Next, try out the demo if there is one. Right here we can view the Watson demo and now we’re actually looking at the theme. If we go back to WordPress.org, you can click on any one of these and there’s a preview button and you can see what the theme looks like. Next, try out support. Read through past tickets. Again, here on WordPress.org, on every theme there’s a button “View support forum”. Now, the support on WordPress.org is all volunteer basis. So some themes have great support and other themes just don’t and that’s at the discretion of the author or the community members who decide to take care of the theme so take a look. If there are many, many answers then you know that chances are good that you’ll get answers to your questions as well. If it’s a barren wasteland of unanswered questions, maybe support’s not so great there. Read reviews about both the theme and the author or store. If we go back here to this theme here on wordpress.org, you can see there’s a ratings section and you can click on each of these numbers to read the ratings. The fact that there are our great many five-star reviews is an indicator that this is a great theme, but the fact that there are some with one star or two star indicate that maybe there could be problems and if you click on that number, you can see the reviews. And like all reviews on the Internet, they should all be taken with a grain of salt. Bad ones are usually written by somebody who’s unhappy and great ones are usually written by somebody who’s just deliriously happy. It’s a mixed bag. But after reading the reviews of several themes, you’ll start to get a handle on which ones are accurate and which ones aren’t. Lastly, try them out if you can. All the themes on WordPress.org are free. You can install them on your site and try them out. And if you don’t like it, delete it. Many premium themes also have return policies. Again, in the description of this video we’ll make a link to another video that shows you how to install a theme so that you can try out these themes. Let’s review real quick. First, if you can, define what you’re looking for. This will help you save time and keep you from just wandering around trying everything. On the other hand, there’s some value in wandering around and trying everything. You might see some things that you’d never anticipated. Next, go looking for your theme. WordPress.org’s free theme repository is great. They also have a commercial theme shop listing that is also great. And then there’s also ThemeForest. There are others. Check the description of this video for that link. Once you find something you like, investigate. Look at other themes by the same author or store. See if they’re consistently built. Try the demo, if there is one. Poke around. See if you can break it. Try out support. Read through past tickets. See if the support is good or poor or if the support staff communicate well or not. That sort of thing. Then read reviews about both the theme and the author or store. And then, lastly, try them out if you can. All the themes on .org are available for free and you can try them and most commercial themes do have a return policy. The last thing I’d like to say is to be patient. Picking a theme can be a very personal thing. It’s going to represent you and your site for a while. Not forever. You can change your theme, but the theme you pick represents you so look around, try things, test things, and find something that feels right to you. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress, check out WinningWP.com.
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