How To Select The Best WordPress Theme And How To Install It

Written by Melanie

June 30, 2020

How To Choose The Best WordPress Theme And How To Install a WordPress theme
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Have you gone to a WordPress theme marketplace and gotten stuck on how to select the best WordPress theme?

There are thousands of WordPress themes that make it very difficult to choose a specific theme.

Each theme claims to do the job better than the other.

Before I settled on Divi Theme, I had a really tough time finding the right WordPress theme.

Selecting a WordPress theme can be one of the most overwhelming tasks for a new blogger after selecting the right web host.

With the countless number of both free and paid options, the situation can get dire very fast.

Each theme looks better than the other, and each time you look, your preference seems to change.

So how do you find a theme that checks all the boxes? How do you pick the right theme for your blog?

Before we get to that, here’s another very common scenario.

You buy a theme, install it, and realize that it’s not what you wanted because it doesn’t look the way you wanted it to or it doesn’t function the way you expected it to.

So what should you do?

Well, you should always start by selecting the right theme for your website. And you can do that by doing some research before actually purchasing a theme.

Luckily, this detailed guide will help you pick the perfect WordPress theme for your blog.

Also read: 16 The Best WordPress Themes for Blogs and Websites

Do you have to use a theme in WordPress?

Yes, you have to have a theme when using WordPress. It can be a free theme or a paid one. But you must have a theme.

There are default WordPress themes and premium WordPress themes.

Why do I need a theme?

Themes are incredibly powerful tools. They are more than just color and layout. In addition to being beautiful, the best themes enhance engagement with your website’s content.

You need a theme for many reasons:

  • A theme displays content wherever you want it displayed.
  • The theme specifies whichever devices or actions that will make your content visible.
  • To customize your website design and typography.

In summary, WordPress themes provide:

  • page layouts (or templates)
  • the overall design or style of your site
  • font styling
  • colours
  • styles for blog posts and archives
  • widget locations
  • extra stylistic details

Is it worth buying a WordPress theme?

Free themes are okay, but they can’t do half the things a premium theme can do. So yes, it is worth buying a WordPress theme.

Premium themes come with many benefits like customer support, options to build your email list, and so on. And the beauty of these themes is that they don’t actually cost much.

Most of them range between $30-$100 a year. This is a small price to pay for the amazing benefits you will get.

Why Choosing a WordPress Theme Should Be Done Carefully

The theme you choose should complement your website’s content.

For instance, if the blog you are starting focuses on social issues, then you should go for a theme that enhances readability and reader engagement.

If it’s a recipe/food blog, then you should pick a picture oriented theme like the Julia theme.

It is also important to note that WordPress themes are fully customizable.

However, if there are flaws and inconsistencies in the code, these options can be a nightmare, making it near-impossible for you to use WordPress plugins or change themes.

Faulty codes will lock you into that particular theme forcing you to bear the extra cost of paying a developer to help you fix the issue.

Although some WordPress themes make your website look great, they can also make your website load incredibly slowly.

Slow websites are the worst. Google particularly loathes them and prefers to rank slower websites lower. This means that a bad theme can hurt your SEO efforts.

Remember that your theme is more than just the face of your blog.

Having cleared all that up, let’s now look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best WordPress theme for your blog.

Related:  BEST CHEAP WEB HOSTING SERVICES: COMPARE WEB HOSTING

Here are 9 things you need to consider when shopping for the best WordPress theme.

How to Select the best WordPress theme

1. Always go for a theme that is responsive.

A responsive theme is one which has the capability to adjust its layout according to the different devices and screen sizes it will be used on.

Mobile and other handheld devices generate a significant amount of web traffic. This figure can go higher than 40% of your traffic depending on your website’s main topics.

Mobile-friendly websites rank highest in Google’s search results. So always go for a theme that is mobile friendly.

A majority of WordPress themes are responsive. However, some theme vendors still sell fixed-width layouts that are mobile-unfriendly.

Before choosing a theme, check to ensure it is mobile-friendly.

How to check for a theme’s mobile-friendliness

Testing your theme’s mobile-friendliness is easy.

All you have to do is resize your browser screen. The theme’s layout should adjust itself to the screen width as you do this.

If your theme does not do this, it means that you’ve got the wrong one.

Nevertheless, there is a more accurate test you can employ.

Just copy the theme’s URL on the demo page and paste it in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page.

2. Always go for themes with good ratings and reviews.

When I was choosing a theme, I was torn between Divi and Avada themes because they both have very many 5 star reviews.

Avada had 23K 5-star reviews and Divi was number one on all review sites.

This helped me narrow down to these two after which I went comparing everything until I decided that Divi was well suited for me.

User feedback provides a good indicator of a WordPress theme’s quality.

If you want to purchase a theme on a third-party marketplace like Elegant Themes, Pixelgrade or Themeforest, you should first check what other users have to say about that theme.

If its free WordPress themes you are interested in, you should be able to find the review section just after the download button.

It should be showing the reviews and star-ratings given by users. Click on the star-ratings to see what kind of reviews were given and for what reason.

For instance, clicking on a 3-star review will display all the reviews that gave the particular theme 3 stars.

It is important to note that, you should read these reviews as objectively as you can. Remember that reviews are users’ personal views about the theme. Only pick the information you need.

All WordPress themes should get a few negative reviews. However, if that number is unusually high, I would steer clear of that theme.

3. Choose a theme that matches your niche

What is my website all about? What is your niche?

The answers to these questions should guide you on the type of theme to choose.

For instance, if you are starting an online store, then you should look for themes that are compatible with the WooCommerce plugins you are using.

If you are selling one product, then you should be interested in sales page themes.

Other aspects to think about include; the essential WordPress plugins to use on your website, your content marketing plan, and your lead generation strategy.

Writing these down will keep your blog post presentations focused.

4. Always go for simplicity.

Don’t go for a theme that will make your site look crowded.

It is usually tempting to go for themes that have flashy colors, intricate layouts, and extravagant animations.

Design, just like art, is subjective. What you think looks great may put off other people.

To shield yourself from this bias’ negative effects, you should go for simple, neutral design elements. You don’t need too much jazz to make your website look cool.

A good theme should help you bring out the best of both worlds: simplicity and sophistication.

Choose a design layout that will help you further your goals. It must be attractive without affecting simplicity and utility.

The theme’s presentation style need not be overly complicated. The whole purpose of design is to assist users to find the information they need while helping the site owners to achieve their goals simultaneously.

5. Always check for browser compatibility.

We all have our preferences when it comes to the browsers we use. This being the case, it is only right to assume that your users will be visiting your site using different browsers.

Your theme’s browser compatibility is, therefore, an important factor to consider.

It should work well on most, if not all of the mainstream browsers.

You should pick a theme that has been rigorously tested by its developers by using advanced browser compatibility-testing tools.

Most developers indicate this information on their websites, however, some do not. If this is the case, you will have to run this test on your own.

Don’t worry! It’s a simple, basic test.

All you have to do is check your theme’s performance using different browsers like  Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and so on.

Related:  The Best WordPress Themes For Blogs in 2020

6. Your theme should be translation and multilingual ready.

If you have plans to create a multilingual WordPress site, you should make sure that the theme you are getting is translation-ready and is able to support multilingual WordPress plugins.

To widen your reader base, why do posts in only one language?

If this is the kind of thinking you have, then make sure the theme you end up going for has this feature.

7. Choose a theme that comes with a commonly-used page builder plugin.

These are WordPress plugins that allow you to use the drag-and-drop user interface to create page layouts.

Paid WordPress themes come with page builders already installed.

However, some page builders are designed to be used by a single theme developer only.

A lot of unwanted code can be generated by using such a page builder to create landing pages. The problem will arise when you switch themes.

You should, therefore, choose a theme that ships with a commonly-used page builder plugin.

These page-builders can also be bought separately to be used on other themes as well.

8. Your theme should support the most important plugins.

WordPress Plugins are your site’s real source of power and versatility.

Using plugins, you can do all kinds of things on your site. They add functionality and life to your blog’s interface.

Plugins are in the excess of thousands so you want to make sure that you get the most essential ones first.

You’ll add more later on. Some must-have WordPress plugins for your website include Yoast SEO, WPForms, MonsterInsights, etc.

It is imperative that the theme you end up choosing supports all the popular plugins.

9. You should be able to get support whenever you need it.

The downside of getting a free WordPress theme is that you get no guaranteed support when you need it.

Some private developers provide support for their free themes, however, many free themes offer none.

If you mess up or something goes wrong, you will have to get through it on your own.

Again, you may have to pay a third-party developer to help you solve the tiniest of problems.

Save yourself the trouble by getting a theme that has support options and good documentation.

Premium WordPress themes are the way to go.

They have detailed documentation and also come with a year of email-based support.

10. Choose an SEO-Friendly theme

You should know that your WordPress theme is an important factor that contributes to your site’s SEO friendliness.

Sometimes good looking themes will not help this cause.

A theme that helps your SEO efforts should generate well-coded HTML.

The better the code it generates, the better your site will perform on search engines, which is good for you.

Beginners may find it difficult to analyze a theme’s source code without help. Many premium theme developers, therefore, let you know that their pages fully support SEO.

You should also use tools like W3C Markup Validation Service to check whether the page generates proper HTML5.

Also read: 16 The Best WordPress Themes for Blogs and Websites

Top WordPress Theme Marketplaces.

We discussed how to choose a theme. Now let’s talk about where to find these themes.

Here’s a list of the top WordPress theme marketplaces:

1. Elegant Themes

Elegant themes is home to some amazing WordPress themes. They include Divi, Extra, Bloom, an Monarch.

They have amazing products at affordable prices.

Their products have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can use their products risk free.

2. Themeforest

Themeforest offers an eclectic assortment of premium WordPress themes organized into categories for convenient searchability.

Some of their themes like the Avada and Bridge themes are among the all-time best-selling WordPress themes.

You can easily read user reviews, theme ratings, and see the developer portfolio before making a purchase.

All themes go through a rigorous reviewing and testing stage to ensure the best code quality standards.

The premium theme market is very competitive, therefore you’ll get themes with freebies and tons of features included to attract buyers customers.

3. Pixelgrade

Pixelgrade hosts some of the best themes. It huge names like the Felt and Julia theme.

Pixelgrade has variety, and a tonne of themes. It basically has something for everyone.

4. MOJO Marketplace

This is another huge marketplace where you’ll find WordPress themes, services, and plugins.

They claim to have 7900+ items on sale, plus more than 900 premium themes.

Their WordPress services are also offered by mainstream WordPress hosting providers like Bluehost.

Every theme at their marketplace undergoes a manual submission process. Their review experts then examine the submitted themes carefully to check for quality coding standards.

The site is aesthetically organized into categories and topics using a filterable search feature which allows anyone to easily find themes made for specific industries or categories.

Sellers provide the required support for all third-party themes. All items have their support forums where you review past threads or requests for support.

Related:  14 Important Things to Do Before You Launch Your Blog

5. CSSIgniter

CSSIgniter offers an extensive collection of premium WordPress themes for different websites.

They have been attending to the needs of website owners and WordPress developers since 2010 with a range of more than 80 premium themes.

They offer some of the best WordPress themes for restaurants, hotels, magazines, and other business in the market.

All their themes are beginner-friendly. They also have flexible features and simpler customization options.

Their themes are organized by categories featuring detailed screenshots, live demos, and descriptions. Their themes also have detailed documentation you’ll find under the support tab.

At $69/year, you can get all their themes, or pay $199 to get lifetime access complete with support and updates.

6. WordPress.org Theme Directory.

They offer free themes. It is a vast collection of over 4500 WordPress themes.

One of the advantages of getting a theme from here is that the themes included must undergo a rigorous review process before being enlisted in the directory.

These themes, therefore, strictly abide by the WordPress theme directory guidelines.

However, most of these free themes do not have features that you would normally get on premium themes. Nevertheless, if you have just started and don’t require too many high-end features, then you should have some cool options there.

My Recommendations

There are thousands of amazing WordPress themes to choose from, and it can get really confusing especially if you are a beginner.

That’s why I came up with a list of the best WordPress themes (opens on a new tab). You can check that out and see what works for you.

You can head back here to learn how to Install your WordPress theme.

How to install a WordPress Theme

I’m assuming that you have gotten your WordPress theme by now.

Now we can move on to the installation part.

The installation part is very simple. All you need is a few minutes.

First, download the the theme’s zip file to your computer.

Next, go to your blog’s admin area and click on Appearance, followed by themes.

On the theme’s page, click Add new.

Then click on Upload theme if you have already downloaded the theme you want to install.

If you don’t have a theme yet, you can browse that page for the available themes.

In our case, we have already gotten the theme we like and downloaded it to our computer. We just want to install it now. So we are going to click on the Upload theme button.

You will see the upload box where you will click on Choose file.

Next, go ahead and select the zip file you downloaded to your computer and upload it by clicking Install now.

The theme will be uploaded from your computer to your website.

When it’s done, you will see a message that reads ‘Theme has been installed successfully.’

You can either choose to preview the theme if you are not ready to start using it right away or to activate it.

If you activate it, the theme will go live on your site.

Final Thoughts on How To Choose The Best WordPress Theme And How To Install it

I hope this post has helped you choose the best WordPress theme for your blog. I struggled to get a good WordPress theme and to install it, that’s why I came up with this post to help someone else.

If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends!

And happy blogging!

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16 Comments

  1. Edith

    Hello there! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My weblog looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to fund a theme
    or plugin that might be able too fix this issue. If you
    hhave any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Melanie A

      Hello,

      I have found that mobile-friendliness has a lot to do with the WP theme that you use and the type of hosting that you have. Cheaper shared hosting options can make your site load slowly on mobile and desktop. Check out my post on web hosting for more info.

      Get a simple theme (like the ones in this post) that is optimized for loading speeds. Finally, install the amp plugin. It will make your entire site load better on mobile by placing a hierarchy on your page elements (headings, then regular text, then pictures). Search engines also love amp sites, so it’s a win-win.

      I hope this helped! Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Bill Truman

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

    Reply
    • Melanie A

      Yes, there are lots of WP Security plugins. Jetpack and Sucuri are pretty famous and really easy to get started with, so that’s a good place to start. If you need even more protection a quick Google search will yield even more options.

      Apart from installing security plugins, I have found that simply using stronger passwords and limiting login attempts can do wonders for your security. You should also regularly update your plugins and themes and set up a backup system for your files. Be careful about the user roles you create for your site’s users and enable your website’s firewall. I hope this helped!

      Thanks!

      Reply
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