According to W3Techs, WordPress is the most popular content management system out there, powering more than 30% of the world’s websites. Part of WordPress’s popularity is due to how many themes there are to choose from, and how easily you can change the look of your site without needing help from a developer.
Jetpack takes this ease of use a step further by offering everyone more than 150 free themes, and more than 200 premium themes to Professional plan subscribers. This not only allows you to preview each one, but you can even search for themes with specific features.
But with so many great themes available, it can be hard — sometimes really hard — to pick just one. How do you choose the one that’s best for your site?
Today, we’ll review what you should look for in a theme when picking from the very best that the world of WordPress has to offer.
Why your WordPress theme matters
Have you ever visited a company’s website and been deterred by its outdated look? If so, you’ve witnessed a poor theme choice in action. Your site’s appearance is the catalyst for a visitor’s initial judgments of your site and its content.
Most of the themes available from Jetpack can be considered attractive and modern, but you should still try a few on for size before picking one. For one thing, there are certain features that are only available with certain themes.
Would your site visitors benefit from a sidebar? Do you want a large, bold background image to capture people’s attention? Should your blog posts be visible on your homepage? Depending on what you want to accomplish with your site, certain themes will be more helpful than others.
The color scheme and layout are also important. They tell your visitors something about you before even reading a word on your site. Are you serious and academic? Fun and quirky? Bold and creative? These characteristics can be communicated through your site’s theme.
Here are a few guidelines for choosing a theme that’s technically and visually perfect for your site.
Technical elements to consider when choosing a theme
Whatever theme you choose should be built with performance in mind. This means that it’s designed for fast page loads and is optimized for use on mobile devices.
The themes available through Jetpack are all quality controlled, so you don’t need to worry about it causing slow page load times, or looking jumbled on a smartphone screen. But if you’re looking for themes elsewhere, make sure they’re mobile-friendly, or read a few reviews to find out what real users have to say about performance.
Beyond performance, you should keep an eye on a theme’s customization options.
Some themes only offer a handful of options that you can adjust, while others come with a slew of checkboxes and feature dropdowns for you to play with. If you want the freedom to completely tweak your theme, make sure you look for ones that allow for total customization.
All themes can be customized through the addition of custom CSS. So if you’re comfortable writing CSS, you don’t necessarily need to pick a theme with built-in customization options, as you can code them yourself.
Ease of use
Even if you like a theme, you should consider your visitors’ preferences as well. When selecting a theme, think about what your visitors might expect to learn or actions they might take on your site.
For example, if you’re searching for a theme for your restaurant’s website, consider one that allows you to feature clickable images of daily specials on the homepage and a menu page. This way, your customers can quickly find the information they’re most interested in when visiting your site.
Visual elements to consider when picking your new theme
Match with your logo
Does your business have a logo or other sort of branding? If so, be sure the theme you select properly reflects it.
For example, if you’re the owner of a dance studio with pink ballet shoes in its logo, pick a theme that incorporates pink in its color scheme or allows you to customize its colors to match. In this scenario, a theme that only offers dark color options wouldn’t accurately communicate your business’s identity.
No logo? No problem
If you don’t already have a logo or color scheme set, your options expand a bit.
That being said, think about what you’re trying to communicate to your audience, and try choosing a color scheme that sends the right message. If you run a blog about mindfulness and positive thinking, for example, somber colors might not be the right fit.
Also, think about what you’re communicating with your theme’s layout. That same mindfulness blog might benefit from a minimalist theme that makes visitors feel calm. The restaurant we mentioned earlier, though, would probably want to fill its site with bold, juicy images that make viewers hungry — so room for lots of galleries or sidebar images would be perfect.
Remember these tips and you’ll choose the perfect WordPress theme in no time
Your theme can help or hinder the success of your website. Having an attractive and user-friendly theme in place encourages visitors to stay on your site longer, and helps to make their experiences better.
Remember: with Jetpack, you’ll have access to more than 150 themes for free. And with a Professional plan, you get access to more than 200 premium themes for a fraction of the cost of a typical premium theme! You can take a look at them right now by opening the WordPress theme showcase.
If you have any other tips for picking the perfect theme, or have one in mind that you particularly love, share your thoughts with us below!
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