When it comes to your blog’s success, the quality of its content is the most important thing for you to worry about. However, its style and design also play an important role in the way visitors perceive it. To put it another way, if your blog looks like crap, not a lot of people are going to pay attention to it.
Fortunately, WordPress provides you with a lot of tools you can use to put together a stylish blog with relative ease. Themes, in particular, can enable you to change your blog’s style on the fly, even if you don’t have any experience in web design.
In this article, I’m going to teach you how to pick a WordPress theme that’s perfect for you in five simple steps. Let’s give your blog a makeover!
Step #1: Choose Between Multi-Purpose and Niche Themes
In broad terms, you can break down most WordPress themes into two categories:
- Niche themes: These are themes designed for specific types of websites, usually with very niche functionality.
- Multi-purpose themes: With this type of theme, you should be able to design almost any type of website you want.
Since your goal is to start a blog (which we can help you with!), your best bet is to look for blogging-specific or multi-purpose themes. Both options should provide you with all the functionality you need to run a successful blog. However, there are other criteria you should also look out for, which we’ll talk about in a second.
Let’s go over a couple of examples so you know what each kind of theme usually looks like. If you’re looking for a niche blogging theme, you might want to consider using Revive, which boasts a modern minimalist style:
When it comes to multi-purpose themes, one of our favorites is called Divi, and it packs so many features that it’s hard to break them all down:
Suffice it to say, Divi includes a powerful page builder that can make your life a lot easier. If you’re new to building websites, this type of tool can be a godsend since it will enable you to put together stylish pages without needing to type a line of code.
Keep in mind, though – most powerful multi-purpose themes can be a bit expensive, which is why not everyone uses them. Plus, sometimes you don’t need that much firepower to run a successful blog.
Step #2: Look at Your Theme’s Ratings
If you’re looking for themes on the official WordPress.org repository, then you’ll be happy to know you can check out ratings for any option you’re interested in.
To find each theme’s rating, open its page and look at the right side of the page. You should see a star rating system right under the theme’s download button:
When it comes to ratings, you have to pay attention to two things:
- The theme’s overall score, which shouldn’t be lower than a four.
- How many ratings there are (I usually look for themes with at least 10-20 of them).
In some cases, you might find hidden jewels with little ratings or a bad score. However, in my experience, themes with bad reviews tend to be more trouble than they’re worth, so I recommend avoiding them.
Step #3: Check the Theme’s Update Schedule
Regular updates are one of the clearest indicators a theme is worth your time. As a rule of thumb, I won’t touch a theme that hasn’t gotten any updates in over six months. The same goes for plugins, and that has probably saved me from a lot of headaches over the years.
The main issue is the longer a theme doesn’t get updates, the more likely it is you’ll start running into compatibility issues. Those can arise from other plugins or with WordPress core itself. In any case, regular updates can also add new features, improve your user experience, and much more. If a theme is ‘abandoned’ then you shouldn’t even try using it.
You can check the last time when a theme got an update by looking at the section right above its rating:
It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of seconds to look up this information, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for it!
Step #4: Look for Outside Theme Reviews
In most cases, if a theme has glowing reviews on WordPress.org, it’s probably worth your time. However, sometimes you won’t be getting your themes from the official repository. When that happens, you’ll want to look for independent reviews to find out what people really think about it.
Take the Divi theme we mentioned earlier, for example. It’s only available for download on the developer’s website, so it stands to reason they would try to promote it.
If you wanted to get an honest opinion about the theme, you should search around for Divi reviews on other sites and check out some of the top results:
Personally speaking, I’m a big fan of Divi. However, the theme might not be everyone’s cup of tea and reading through some reviews might save you from wasting your money if it doesn’t seem like a good fit for you.
Step #5: Try a Demo of Your Themes
By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of whether the theme you’re considering is worth your time. All that’s left to do is to check it out in action.
With free themes, you can always download them and take them for a spin. However, there are more efficient ways to check out how the theme works first-hand. For example, you can see previews of every theme available on the WordPress.org repository by clicking on the Preview button within their pages:
For themes outside WordPress.org, their developers might make a demo available so you can test it. ThemeForest, for example, includes a Live Preview button within all its theme pages, so you can check out how they work before making a purchase:
Whenever you have the option to preview a theme before downloading it, do it. At most, it’ll take you a few minutes to try it on for size and figure out if it’s a good fit, so there’s no downside to it.
With WordPress, you have thousands of themes to choose from to help give your blog a unique style. The problem is having that many options can make choosing the right one a chore. Plus, switching WordPress themes can be a massive chore, so you want to make sure whichever one you pick will last you a while.
Let’s break down how to pick a WordPress theme that will make your blog stand out:
- Choose between multi-purpose and niche themes.
- Look at your theme’s ratings.
- Check the theme’s update schedule.
- Look for outside theme reviews.
- Try a demo of your themes.
Do you have any questions about how to pick the perfect WordPress theme? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Article image: Pixabay.