The idea of actually building a website can be very frustrating, especially for beginners. This article will give you information on how to choose a WordPress theme as well as offer solutions and examples that will help you get started. It is easier than ever to build a website with the help of WordPress.

WordPress comes pre-built right “out of the box.” All you have to do is install it, configure a few settings, add some content and you have a website. It’s very user friendly. When you install WordPress for the first time it comes with a default theme. So you can stop right there and start working on your website. Or you can choose another theme.

Before you get started, the following should already be in place:

Setting up a WordPress Site – Testing The WordPress Blog Theme

You may be perfectly happy with the default theme. What you want to do is set up your WordPress site with some skeletal information and text to get an idea of what your site might look like. You are also testing the theme for functionality. To find out, create a test page and a test post. Add a header, fill in the General information under Settings. See if you can do what you need to do such as adding a sidebar, check menu locations, footer information, text styling, formatting, image sizing, customizing colors, etc.

If you are not happy with the default theme, it’s wise to change your theme BEFORE you start creating your website. It gets more complicated to change your theme after you have already configured it, added content to your site and customized it with added plugins, etc.

Most people starting out with WordPress websites immediately get caught up in choosing a WordPress theme. And it’s very understandable. There are literally thousands to choose from. When I first started using WordPress, it was very exciting. So many themes to choose from! Made my head spin! You could spend hours and days checking them all out!

Whether you have an idea of what you want your site to look like or no ideas at all, it would be wise to jot down a few key features you want your theme to have. Features such as: flexible header, custom sidebar, slider, feature image, even colors.

What if you don’t know what features you want or need?

Start getting ideas by looking at other sites in your chosen niche. Get to know the features of websites by clicking on links on websites
you like. Jot down what you like about the sites and use that as your guide. Don’t worry about things like colors and backgrounds. Most themes allow you to customize those things.

 

how to choose a wordpress theme
Next, you want to find a theme that closely matches the criteria from the list you created. To check out the free WordPress themes, follow these steps:
  • Log into your site as the administrator
  • Go into your WordPress Dashboard
  • Scroll down and click on  Appearance/Theme
  • Click on the Add New button at the top of the page

You can search by the different categories at the top of the page including:

  • Featured
  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Favorites
  • Feature Filter

You can also perform your own search by typing in a few keywords in the search bar on the right side of the screen. You can search by things like photography, recipes, news, etc.

Using the Feature Filter Option

By using the Feature Filter option, you can customize the type of theme you need by simply clicking on the different features available. Then click Apply Filters and the resulting themes  will appear.

how to choose a wordpress theme
Narrowing your search by having a list of features can save you a lot of time. It’s very easy to get caught up in looking at all the different features of a theme. Yet there is nothing worse than installing a theme that you think will work perfectly only to find out it is missing a crucial feature that you need. I have a lot of experience in this area. I get an idea in my head of what I want my site to look like. Then I start customizing a theme that I thought was perfect, only to find out it would not allow me to put an image in a sidebar! Very frustrating!

WordPress Theme Ratings

So now you think you have found your perfect theme. Before you click the download button, be sure to check the ratings for your chosen theme. Also, check how many people have downloaded that particular theme. This is another indication of how well a theme performs based on its use.

Theme Support

Make sure that there is at least an email account you can write to if you encounter problems with your new theme. I have notified a few developers in the past. Some wrote back and helped me right away. Others did not. The theme ratings should help you decide.

Google is Your Friend

Another way to find out more about your chosen theme is to Google it. Take a look at what people are saying about the theme.

  • What do users like about it?
  • What problems are they running into with that particular theme?
  • Are users getting their theme problems solved?
  • Are the developers responding to problems with their themes?

Paid themes

The answer I found to my theme problem was to purchase a theme. Purchasing a theme may not be the answer for everyone but it certainly worked for me. I had changed themes a number of times on one of my sites. Each time I fixed one theme problem, I was met with a new theme problem. I really needed flexibility and lots of it! I was afraid to purchase a theme for fear of running into the same problem and then having the added problem of asking for a refund if the theme didn’t work out.

After researching many paid theme products, I settled on the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. It does everything I was looking for. I
chose the Divi theme because it came highly recommended to me. The other reasons are:

  • There are many other themes to chose from. You are not buying just one theme.
  • The customer support is great!
  • Great documentation with step-by-step instructions on how to customize your chosen theme.
  • Videos that provide step-by-step instructions.
  • Great refund policy. You can test it out for a full 30 days and if it doesn’t work for you, you can request a refund. This applies regardless of the theme you use within the suite of themes available at Elegant Themes.
I love the way the Divi theme works. I can customize each page or post by using different types of modules making it a very versatile and flexible theme. If I don’t like the layout of the post or page I can rearrange it easily without having to redesign the whole post because it uses modules. I can move the modules around making each post consistent but different.
The Divi Theme is one of many themes to choose from within the Elegant Themes suite of themes. There are over 80 to choose from. Check them out and let me know what you think.

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