There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes out there.
More than 8,000 free ones are listed on wordpress.org and dozens of premium theme companies list up to 11,000 at a time on their websites, too.
So it’s understandable that people – especially those who are new to setting up websites – can feel overwhelmed by the choice.
In this article, we’ll try to help you see the wood despite the trees.
Here are five tips for picking the right WordPress theme…
Don’t go into the directory blind
The WordPress theme directory isn’t really a place for window shopping and easy-going browsing.
Visit it without a plan and there’s a good chance you’ll get sucked into a rabbit hole.
Think about what you’d like from your website before you go hunting for your theme.
It might help to take a little tour of some existing websites, that you use yourself, and make some notes about what you like and dislike about them.
Make a wish list relating to elements like layout and menu options.
Then, when you go into the directory, use the Feature Filter section to search for themes that meet your criteria.
If there are websites out there that you know you love the look of, you can find out which themes they use.
Various organisations like WPBeginner and isitwp offer free theme detectors, where you simply copy and paste a web address into their site and it will tell you which theme the site is using.
Remember your industry and purpose
It can be easy to get distracted and go off on tangents when you’re searching for a WordPress theme.
But it’s worth bearing in mind that just because a theme looks stunning at first glance, it’s not necessarily going to be a perfect fit for your purpose.
On the wordpress.org website you can filter themes based on industry – so you can search for themes that are suitable for everything from blogs to portfolio sites and from news to food and drink sites.
It might also be helpful to look at round-up articles with titles like ‘The best WordPress themes for [insert your industry or purpose here] in 2021’.
Check the reviews
Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, you shouldn’t judge a theme by the initial images that are shown in theme directories.
Even the most stunning theme can come with performance or security issues.
To ensure a certain theme is up to scratch, turn to the reviews.
They’re easy to find on the wordpress.org directory, where every theme is rated out of five stars by users.
Look at the last update date
To ensure the theme you pick is still receiving some TLC from the person or people who developed it, you can look at the date when it was last updated.
This date is usually easy to find in WordPress directories.
Ideally, you will want to choose a theme that’s been updated within the past six months.
Pick between free or premium
This is one of the big decisions you’ll need to make when you pick a WordPress theme.
It may surprise you that neither option is better than the other, though.
Free themes can be just as well designed and secure as their leading premium cousins.
At the same time, there are some premium themes that haven’t been developed well enough to be worthy of their premium title.
The obvious and major pro of a free theme is that it’s free.
It’s not always the case, but often the main pros of premium themes is that they generally come with better support and often come with more features.
According to stats, in the third quarter of 2020, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 50.81 percent of global website traffic.
So, it goes without saying that you need to ensure the WordPress theme you pick is responsive to mobile phone use.
Most theme developers are aware of the importance of mobile responsivity and their themes are designed to shift shape to look at their best on everything from laptops to mobile phones.
However, there are still a few developers who design themes with fixed width layouts. So check the specs of your theme for this before making your choice.
Take a look at what’s included in your hosting package
Some hosting packages, like the WordPress hosting plans at Heart Internet, give you access to a selection of bespoke themes for free.
These themes have been crafted to make it easy for you to populate your site with the right layout and even images and words.
The collection includes themes ideal for everyone from architects to creative agencies.
To find out more about Heart’s range of WordPress hosting options, visit the product pages.