So many times, clients come to me with a WordPress website projects and have picked a theme they want to use. Usually a theme comes with some options where you might upload a logo or change colors. But when the website owner wants to change the layout or functionality, I ask “Why did you pick this theme”? Many themes have limitations, especially when you go beyond the designer’s intent. There are some themes that are extremely flexible and can be used to produce very different looking websites.
One of the best places for theme shopping is Theme Forest. Here you can search and sort in many different ways.
What to look for when shopping for a WordPress Theme
1. How Popular is it?
You can look at top 10 lists around the website or you can sort by popularity on sites like Theme Forest. While you may not want to use a theme that everyone else is using, popularity tells you there is a lot of love for this theme. It could be the flexibility as well as support. Some themes may be considered “Framework” themes which usually means you will have many options to make your site unique compared to others.
2. Review Support Questions
I like to review the support questions to determine what types of issues users are encountering. I can tell if the questions are from newbies or veteran WordPress Connoisseur with legitimate gripes. This also gives me a chance at seeing how well the developers deal with support issues. Are they fast and courteous? Make sure that you are looking at the most recent support questions.
3. When was the Last Update?
On Theme Forest or any place your are looking at, pay attention to dates. If the theme you are looking at hasn’t been updated for last 2 years, that doesn’t mean it was perfect at inception, it more than likely means that it has been abandoned. A more recent update date tells me the develop is still active with the theme.
4. Review the Features
I know, for some, the features are a bit long-haired and hard to understand. Here are some things that are important to consider; Is it Mobile Friendly? (Responsive), Does it combine Visual Composer and Revolution Slider? These are very powerful assets.
5. Look at the Demo (Live Preview)
When looking at the demo you will see samples of Home page and Blog layouts, take the time to click on them, they are usually in the drop downs of the main navigation bar. Also take a look at the many ways the photo galleries can be laid out. There may also be a short code sample page. These are gadgets that can be placed within the page content area.
Remember that the demos use high quality royalty free photos. If you are putting in your own photos, will they look as good?
Above all, don’t get married to theme you pick. There are many unknowns until you actually work with the theme. Some times things don’t work as advertized. Maybe it is too complicated or there isn’t enough flexibility. I’ve had disappointment in themes that I got excited about, but then I moved on and found a better ones. Themes at Theme Forest are usually $40 – $60 bucks. With that in mind it is easy not to get too attached.