Choosing the right WordPress theme can be challenging. There are so many choices with so many options. It is hard to know how to pick a WordPress theme that is best for your blog or website. In this post, I’ll show you how to find the right theme for your blog.
What Is A WordPress Theme?
Basically, a WordPress theme is the look and feel of your blog. It controls the layout, colors, fonts, and a whole lot more of your website.
A WordPress theme can also provide additional tools for changing these elements that aren’t included in the WordPress Admin.
Why You Should Change Your Theme
When you first install WordPress (check out our article on How To Install WordPress In One Click), it comes with several themes. One of these themes is already active.
Typically, the active theme after you install WordPress is pretty generic. It has a basic layout, fonts, and colors. And It Is B.O.R.I.N.G!
Paid vs. Free WordPress Theme
There are many free WordPress themes available to choose from. Many of the themes look pretty good.
So why would you choose a paid WordPress theme over a free one?
Support And Upgrades
First, and I think the most important, reason to buy a WordPress theme is for the support and upgrades that are available.
Getting started with WordPress can be difficult, even for professional developers (I know the first time I used WordPress in its early years, I was confused!). Even with beginner-level themes, there can be a learning curve because WordPress, in general, doesn’t always make it obvious where certain features should be changed. Free themes may have limited or no support.
But paid themes often have support and better documentation.
WordPress is continually being updated and new releases come out frequently. Most paid themes keep up with these changes and update their themes accordingly.
Often free themes aren’t updated as frequently and can even be abandoned by their developers!
Features and Options
Second, typically paid themes have more features and options available than a free theme. Because they have paid developers, these themes come with more layout choices and more customizations. Whereas, a free theme may have 7 to 10 options available in the WordPress Customizer, paid themes usually offer more and at a more detailed level.
Many often install a section in the WordPress admin where all changes can be made. Making it even easier!
To get the same kind of control in a free theme, you would need to update the backend WordPress code that as a beginner you don’t want to know or even care about.
Built In Page Builders
Third, many paid themes have built-in tools such as page and menu builders. With a free theme, you are limited to the basic WordPress editor which has minimum options. You often need to know HTML and CSS to get more advanced styling.
Many builders included in paid themes automatically take care of these type of styling with drag-and-drop editors. It makes it easy to create pages and posts that look professional with columns, section headers, images, and more.
WordPress Themes For Bloggers
Not all WordPress themes are geared towards or easy enough for bloggers. Many of the more feature-rich WordPress themes can be complicated to use.
Unless you are a WordPress developer or a WordPress guru, it will be difficult to get the results you want from these complicated WordPress themes.
It is best to pick a theme with fewer features (and probably without ones you won’t use anyway) than to pick one that you can’t figure out. You don’t want to waste your time figuring out CSS, HTML or PHP (all developer level topics) when you could be writing content for your readers.
WordPress Theme Features
WordPress themes can come with a lot of features. Many of these features you may never use. Or there are so many, it is hard to know how to make updates or even where to make updates.
Here is a list of the minimum features a WordPress Theme should always have:
- A design and look you like out of the box.
- A feature rich WordPress Customizer or Theme specific WordPress Admin section
- Built-in builders for post/pages and menus
- Integration with WooCommerce (or another eCommerce plug-ins), if you will be selling products on your website.
WordPress Theme Recommendations
Below is a list of WordPress themes that include many of the features I recommend for a top-notch WordPress theme. They are geared towards bloggers and not developers or WordPress gurus.
Hestia Pro is a beautiful theme that looks great from the moment it is installed. What I like best about this theme is that a beginner blogger can customize their blog without having to be a WordPress expert. Because most of the options are in the WordPress Customizer, you can see live updates to your site without having to publish first. There is a free version of Hestia but the Pro version is a pretty good deal because you can make more layout, color, and design changes. There is also increased functionality for WooCommerce, a popular eCommerce WordPress plug-in, and other popular plug-ins. You can see a Hestia Pro Demo here.
WoodMart is another theme that is good for a beginning blogger, especially if you are willing to learn the ins and outs of the theme. The great thing about this theme is that they offer over 30 different demo layouts for different kinds of websites and blogs. If you are planning on selling on your website, WoodMart’s integration with WooCommerce is top-notch. You can see a demo of WoodMart and the different demo layouts here.
Avada is the theme I’m currently using on my website. What I like about this theme is that it is good for both beginners and more experienced bloggers. It is easy to make changes in the Avada Theme Options WordPress Admin section. And it comes with a demo installer so that you can get started with one of many pre-built layouts. It is also integrated with Fusion Builder which is page/post builder that is used instead of the default WordPress editor. It allows all kinds of layouts including columns, checklists, image carousels, and more. You can see the Avada Demo here.
If these three themes aren’t what you are looking for, you can search for others on ThemeForest. This link shows a list of top selling WordPress themes that are mobile responsive and include page builders.
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