So you’ve finally made the jump. You’ve bought your own hosting plan, and you’ve installed WordPress on your new site. Now is the fun part — choosing a WordPress theme! This is probably one of the best parts about building your own site. As much fun as this part is, it can also be a little daunting.
With literally thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, finding the perfect theme for you is going to take some time and effort on your part. To hone in your search, you should consider a few things about your site so that you can find the right one for you.
Choosing a WordPress Theme Category/Style For Your Site
So where should you start your search for the best theme? Well, if you type "WordPress Themes", in the search engine, you're going to be overwhelmed by the choices you're given, and more than half of them will not be what you're looking for.
In order to narrow things down, start with a WordPress theme style or category. Below is a list of some examples of such category/styles that you can use in your search to find something closer to what you may want:
- Single page
- Parallax scrolling
- Real Estate
The list goes on and on, but I think that's enough to get you started.
Deciding Between Free and Premium Themes
After you’ve decided what type(s) of theme category will suit your blog or site best, you will now need to figure out whether or not you need to purchase a premium theme.
Premium WordPress themes makeup a large part of what you will find online, however, they’re not the only option out there. Free WordPress themes are also available in the WordPress market and they may be a better choice for you.
How can you figure it out and decide which is best? It’s not that complicated. All you really need to do is figure out what you need out of a theme and then find one that matches your list.
When A Free Theme Is Best
Free WordPress themes tend to get a bad rap. Although some (and by some, I mean very few) do have malicious code in them, there are some amazing free themes out on the market that could be the perfect solution for you.
So when should you pass up spending some money on a theme in lieu of a free one? Well, consider what you need out of your theme:
Are you going to be casually writing on a blog, or are you going to be building a business out of your site? Do want something that you know will be continually updated (which is always a good thing)? Do you want a theme that is simple and easy to use with fewer options for customizing, or do you want full control over your design? What level of support do you think you’ll need?
Considering these types of questions will help you narrow in on picking either a free or a premium theme for your WordPress site.
Some free themes have sub-par support and are not regularly updated; they also tend to be light on features or design options. Of course, this is not a blanket statement.
For example, WooThemes has a selection of free themes that work with the WooCommerce plugin and they are updated regularly, as well as full of quite a nice selection of features and design options.
The Automatic team (the minds behind WordPress.com) also create many beautifully stunning free themes like Edin and Writr that are available to download in the WordPress theme directory at WordPress.org.
Choosing a free theme from a well-known developer or team, ups your chance at support and updates even though you never paid a dime for either. (Nice!)
Generally speaking though, a free theme tends to be best for the casual blogger or creative simply looking for a place to display their work online that they can call their own. Finding a free theme that works for you is going to take some research and digging on your end, but the effort can really pay off if you end up finding the one that really fits the bill. The process of choosing a WordPress theme might run into hours and sometimes days and you will more than once change your mind. Don't worry. It is normal:).
When A Premium Theme Is Best
Although free themes do have their upsides, sometimes they’re just not going to cut it. When you realize that, then it’s time to turn your attention to a premium theme or theme shop. For the most part, premium themes offer more than the average free themes do.
Not only do you tend to get better support and in-depth documentation on how to set up your new theme, but you are also more likely to find themes with more options to them (i.e. certain plugin support like WooCommerce support, drag and drop interface options, one-click design changes, etc).
Forasmuch as I love the idea of free themes (and don't get me wrong, I've used them and have some that I just plain love), I almost always run to a premium theme when designing for a client or when setting up a new blog for myself. Why?
Honestly, it’s more to give me peace of mind.
Currently, and in times past, I have personally worked with many theme shops and developers who have produced premium themes that I use in my designs; therefore, I’m aware of the type of people behind the products found online and I know how hard they work to create a great end product. I can count on updates and support, and I like having that at my disposal — you never know when you’ll need it.
Below is a list of WordPress theme shops where I have had nothing but great experiences with and I’d recommend them to everyone I know:
- Elegant Themes | Elegant Themes is one of the most popular choices for many who are looking for WordPress themes. They’ve recently released Divi to their theme collection, a drag and drop theme that allows you to almost fully customize your theme with no coding knowledge.
- Tesla Themes | The Tesla Themes WordPress shop has a large and extremely diverse theme selection; no two themes look alike. I’ve used and tested many of their themes and like the choices and support that they offer.
- WPEKa | WPEKa has a solid selection of themes (plugins too) and support for all those who buy into their club. They have everything from themes optimized for Google Adsense to themes for putting a mobile device app on display. They have a great selection and great team of people that I've had the great pleasure of working with.
- WooThemes | WooThemes believes in big, bold, and beautiful — and boy, do they mean it! They tend to be more expensive than most other theme shops around, but you’ll be getting a solid and truly beautiful theme that is just unique enough to stand above the rest. Plus, if you need an e-commerce site, almost all the themes they have for sale are WooCommerce ready.
Making Your Choice
Finding that perfect theme for your website is going to take time, but it's time well spent. Doing what you can to research both free and premium themes available is going to really pay off.f you're not sure what you want to do just yet, then try sticking with a free theme until you have a more concrete idea of what you'd like to go with.
Overall, the part for choosing a WordPress theme which is right for you is fun .IIf you're looking for inspiration as far as what you'd like your site to look like, you can try looking at a site like this one to help you find something that you like. Either way, best of luck in your hunt and may the odds be ever in your favor (*wink*).