Step 2: How To Choose a Theme In WordPress
Whenever you’re creating a new site using the WP CMS, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is to determine the theme you’ll be using. Of course, you can switch themes whenever you feel like it, but nevertheless, it’s easier to pick a theme you like and then stick to it. The theme really serves as the “base” of the design for your site, and the rest is more or less built on top of said base.
So, you really don’t want to rush this process… take the time you need to find the ideal theme. Since it’s so important, you want to give it its due consideration.
Determine What Design Your Site Will Need
There’re quite a few things you’re going to need to take into consideration for your site’s design. For example, what kind of site should it be? Are you going to be using it for split-testing landing pages? Is it going to be your personal blog? You really have to have a clear idea of what your needs are before you even get started. This will help you to decide on a theme.
You can’t use every theme for every site. In many cases, you need a very specific type of theme for a very specific type of site. You can’t use a theme made for membership sites, for example, if you’re creating a personal blog. So, once you’ve determined what your needs are, find themes created for that specific purpose.
Determine Whether or Not You’re Willing To Pay For a Theme
The next thing you’re going to have to figure out, is if you want to pay for a theme, or simply stick with a free one. Typically, the more the site means to you, and the more you plan to earn from it, the more likely it is that you’ll want to pay for a theme, rather than just use a freebie. Of course, if you’re building a portfolio of small micro-niche sites in order to earn passive income via virtual real estate, then each individual site isn’t going to need a special Premium theme, you can just use the free ones. Remember you can always change your theme down the line, but it’s not always easy to do so.
It’s always an option remember, to start with a freebie theme, and then switch to a paid theme later. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re short on cash at the moment.
Something else you should keep in mind, is the fee structure of various themes. Sometimes, you just have to pay once for a theme, and you’re good to go. In other cases, you’ll have to pay a yearly or possibly even monthly fee for your theme. There are pros and cons to each.
It may be tempting for you to want to get a Premium theme where you only have to pay once, but ElegantThemes will give you many wonderful themes for one very reasonable price of only $69 per year. This site’s running the Divi theme and I love it, personally. It’s extremely customizable. Aside from Divi, there are 85 other high quality WP themes you can choose from.
Customizable or Static?
This step is only for people who’re going with a Premium theme rather than a freebie. Customizable themes are always Premium. The free themes can still be customized reasonably well if you know how to code, but without coding knowledge, you won’t be able to do much in the way of customization.
Customizable themes, such as the Divi theme which I’m using here, can allow you to build virtually any type of theme you want, and can work for any sort of website. Sure, these themes are more time-consuming, but can also be more rewarding, as they can give you exactly what you need. They’re essentially a toolset which allows you to design your site however you want.
There are downsides to customizable themes as well, such as the fact that they’re more time-consuming to use. However, if your needs are a bit more refined, then a customizable theme can be the way to go. If you can’t find the ideal theme, then why not just build it yourself?
I’ve never had any issues getting the theme I need using ElegantThemes, but it’s your call. Your needs may be different than mine.
There’s More To a Theme Than Just Its Appearance
Keep in mind, there’s more to a theme than just the way it appears. You need to make sure for example, that the theme’s not been abandoned by its designers. Does it still get fairly regular updates? If not, then this can cause you problems down the road. This is especially true for whenever WordPress launches a new update. If WP is updated, but not your theme, this can cause problems and compatibility issues for you.
Last, but certainly not least, is there support offered by the theme’s creators? And does it have good support? It not, this can cause you some serious issues down the road, and may force you to hire a developer to fix certain issues which could’ve easily been fixed by your theme’s creator. These problems can cost you quite a bit of money as well, so make sure your theme has rock solid support, especially if you’re paying for it.
With the Divi theme you don’t have to worry about this, as it receives regular updates and the support is amazing.
Is Your Theme Responsive?
In today’s day and age, people aren’t just using PC’s and laptops… there are many other devices, including smartphones, and tablets. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon either. For this reason, you want to make sure your theme’s responsive to all sorts of devices, rather than just PC’s.
If your theme’s not responsive, it won’t look right when someone views your website from another device aside from PC, making your site very difficult (or nearly impossible) to navigate. If you plan on making money from your site, this is particularly important.
Again, if you decide to use the Divi theme, I can assure you that it is 100% responsive.
Install The New Theme
OK, so you’ve got your WP theme all picked out. Now what? Well, we have to install and activate it. First things first, download your theme to your PC and put it in a folder where you’ll remember it (or save it on your desktop). There’s more than one way to skin a cat here, but this is by far the simplest and fastest way to go about it. Where you save it isn’t important, so long as you remember where it is. After you’ve uploaded it, you won’t have to keep it saved on your computer, though you can if you want.
After it’s saved, simply go to your dashboard within WP, and click Appearance. Once that’s done, click on the Themes sub-tab, and you’ll see two sections you can click on, Manage Themes and Install Themes. Since we’re installing, just click on Install Themes. Once you’re there, you’ll see an Upload button, and you’re going to want to click on that.
Simply click on the button that’s called Choose File next, and then go to where you saved your theme, and double-click on it. After that, you’re pretty much done, you just have to click the Install Now button to install it.
Once it’s installed go back to the Manage Themes tab, find your new theme, and click Activate. That’s the final step, and if you’ve done it all correctly, you should see your new theme activated on your site. Just head to your site and see how it looks!
That’s all there is to it! You should now have no problem finding and installing the perfect theme for WP.
You can now continue to the third step of my tutorial: Set permalinks and install plugins