How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme for Your Site's Needs

By Erin H. | December 2015

A pre-built WordPress theme can be a great resource in many regards: you can save yourself from making decisions from scratch, spending too much money on a custom design, and wasting time laying out the site. However, you can’t just blindly choose a theme without considering all the nuanced ways in which it will affect your business. Let’s walk through seven aspects to contemplate in order to find the best WordPress theme for your needs:

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  1. Read reviews. What are people saying about the theme? Has their experience using the theme been positive? Be wary of themes with an abundance of negative reviews or those lacking in reviews of any kind...
  2. Check to see how often the theme is updated. WordPress is frequently updated with bug fixes, security patches, and new features. For the continued security and functioning of your site it is absolutely essential that your theme is kept up to date as well.
  3. Look into what technical support is offered. What happens if you run into an issue (e.g. you install a plugin and your whole site breaks)? Does the theme developer offer ongoing support? And if so, does it have a cost?
  4. Investigate the ways in which the theme can be customized. If you’re not careful, your site will end up looking exactly like the other thousand sites using the same theme. Make sure you have a handle on how the theme can be customized and how hard it is to implement those changes.
  5. Don’t get drawn in by misleading “staging.” Just as realtors stage homes, developers stage themes by filling them with eye-catching graphics and video. When evaluating a theme, make sure you’re not being seduced by content that will be removed from the site once your own content is uploaded.
  6. Don’t try to fit a round peg into a square hole. Just because a theme is slick and easy to use, with trendy features and advanced functionality, doesn’t mean it will work for your site. Themes are only customizable up to a point (without diving into the code). You will suffer a huge amount of frustration if you attempt to use a theme that doesn’t fit with your content.
  7. Plan and strategize! Just because you’re using a pre-built theme does not mean you can bypass the planning and strategy phase of a website redesign. Don’t start with a theme; start by establishing goals for your site and prioritizing the content. Determine how the website fits in with your business’ overall goals. Think about what your users are looking for and what kind of experience they expect on your site.The most beautiful, easiest-to-update site will do you no good if it isn’t serving the needs of your users and your business’ bottom line.

Not sure if a pre-built theme is right for you? We’re happy to help - we not only build custom WordPress sites from scratch, but we understand the ins and outs of a wide-array of WordPress options from our variety of past clients. Contact us at ArcStone and we’ll help ease the decision.

Topics: Design and Technology