4 Steps to Choose the Perfect WordPress Theme

Not sure where to begin to find the right theme for your new WordPress powered blog or website? Find it with these four steps.

Step One: Know Your Blog’s Purpose & Audience

Think about what you’re going to be blogging about and why. Are you creating a personal journal? Blogging to share your business? Building your personal brand? What type of information will you be sharing? Your personal life? Fitness tips? Health information? Business related tips? Technical tutorials? What audience do you want to reach? Pet owners? Parents? Business owners? Entrepreneurs?

What do you need your blog or website to do for you? Would you like spots for AdSense ads? Places to run banner advertisements? Do you want a template that prominently features your new blog posts? Or one that gives you a way to showcase your photography or YouTube videos?

Take time to brainstorm exactly what you want from your WordPress website so that you can choose the right template to meet your needs and fit the style you want to project.

Step Two: Research Similar Blogs

Do some research. Start at Google and look for blogs similar to what you have planned for yours. Are they using one, two, or three column layouts? What features do you see? Consider whether some of those would be important for your blog, too.

What colors and styles are popular? You want your blog to be unique, but also usable so don’t get too crazy with your layout and confuse readers. As you surf, add to your brainstorming notes when you see a feature or something you like.

Step Three: Make a List of Your Needs

Next take your notes and begin to make a list of exactly what you want. Your list might include:

  • Number of columns in the layout
  • Flexible layout (where you can choose how many columns are on a page, and switch it depending on the page)
  • Color scheme
  • Overall style (trendy, professional, grunge, nature, cutesy, artistic, etc)
  • Showcase your… blog? photos? videos? store items?

Step Four: Begin Searching for Your Theme

There are thousands of free and premium (paid) themes to choose from. If you see a blog theme you love, check the footer and you may find the theme it’s using or the designer who created it. For free themes, I recommend searching on the WordPress site itself first. The themes there have all been scanned for any viruses or malicious code so you can use them safely.

Down the road you may decide to invest in a premium theme or custom theme. It’s an easy change when your site is powered by WordPress. For premium themes, check out StudioPress, Woo Themes, iThemes, Elegant Themes, or Thesis. And if you’re feeling ambitious and want to build your own theme, you might like the program Artisteer.

Remember, you can easily change your theme anytime with WordPress so it’s okay to test out several before you decide which one you like. Upload a half dozen or so themes and see what they look like with your content in them.

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8 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle. I am just now working with a client who is selecting a wordpress theme and will direct her to your post.
    Jeannette Koczela recently posted… How can you use the universal laws of attraction to create good luckMy Profile

  2. Thanks Michelle,Just in time, I’m getting ready to change my theme as well as branding my name.
    Love what you’ve done to your site!
    Tina
    Tina recently posted… Affiliate Marketing for NursesMy Profile

    1. Glad it was good timing, Tina. :) And thank you.

  3. Pretty simple steps.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that you want to keep your blog usable. Keeping your reader in mind is a must.
    Sheila Atwood recently posted… Do Article Marketing And Football Have Something In CommonMy Profile

    1. Yes, that’s definitely the key!

  4. Great tips, Michelle, and I agree with Sheila’s comment that keeping your readers in mind is the primary consideration. What speaks to them and their wants and needs? What will resonate with them and make them feel welcome? What will make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? What will allow them to interact easily?

    1. Great questions, thank you Leanne!

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