Step 9 – Choose your Theme
One of the many advantages to WordPress is the fact that you can choose a theme and then customize it. Your theme is essentially a template for you website, and using one of the WordPress themes means you get a professional looking website, without having to hire a designer.
Whether you decide to go with a free blog or a website that’s hosted, you can choose a theme that works for you. Many WordPress themes are free, or you can choose to pay for one that offers you the extras you need.
What to look for when you choose a theme
There are so many themes available, that it may seem impossible to choose just one one. Look for something that will appeal to you and your audience, while showcasing your content. If you’re a photographer, use a theme that highlights your images. If you’re conveying lots of information, choose one with the focus on the text, such as one that offers various formats to keep your copy easy-to-read and fun to browse.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Ensure your theme is responsive, meaning it will adjust it’s size to automatically fit the screen. In other words, if someone is using a mobile device the theme will adjust for this.
- Keep it simple. Overcomplicated themes may make your site slower or more difficult to navigate, or give you issues down the line.
- Look at how much support you’ll get. Free options don’t always come with much (if any) support. But paid themes may not only offer support but also tutorials.
- Choose an effective design. this doesn’t only include the layout – look at the typography, the color schemes, and other stylistic elements. And check how these elements look on the different page layouts, such as the blog or contact page.
- Choose a theme that allows for easy customization. You’ll need to make it your own, especially if you’re using a free theme – free themes are likely to be used more often. But you don’t want to spend hours figuring out how to do this.
- Try to avoid themes that come with built-in plugins. If you try to change themes at any stage, these plugins aren’t going to work with the new theme.
- Check out the reviews. This is always a good indicator of how well anything works. As WordPress has such a community focus, the reviews are always a good place to start. This is no different when it comes to choosing a theme.
- Also look at when the theme was published and when it was last updated. A theme that hasn’t been updated for a few years may not perform as well as you would like. Support may be another issue.
Installing and customising your theme
To install, go to your dashboard, appearance, add theme, upload from the zip file, install and activate. You can then modify the colours, fonts and other features. You can also add your logo, work with your branding and add your images.
Logos are great for branding and for building a brand image, but they can be expensive to have designed. If you don't yet have the budget to have your own logo designed, take a look at design tools like Canva.