A few months ago, I was looking for a new template to change the look of my WordPress blog. Since it was my first purchase of this kind, I was a bit lost when it came to making the right decision. There are so many WordPress templates available on the market, so how was I supposed to know if I was choosing the right one? As a student, the money invested was a considerable amount, so I knew I was going to have to make a decision for a long-term theme. I had no desire to regret my choice.
Of course, I made some mistakes (like not verifying if my theme was WPML compatible)! In this article, I will explain step by step what I did and what I should have done to avoid these errors. I will also guide you on the right criteria to look at so that you choose to buy the one that suits you the most!
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How to find a theme for your WordPress Blog
Step 1: Test the waters
The first step towards selecting a theme is to browse other blogs similar to yours and clearly identify what you like, what you dislike, what is missing, and so on. I advise you to create a folder in your bookmarks. When you come across a blog that you like, save it in this folder and come back later when you’re on the hunt for a WP theme!
Once it’s done, it is now time to move on to something a little more serious!
Step 2: Browse WordPress Templates
Have fun with the search criteria on these two sites. Particularly on ThemeForest, you can easily view the results by popularity, the number of sales, and several other highly relevant criteria. You can also do a very accurate search on the characteristics of the desired design. This should be easily feasible since, in step 1, you already identify some “features” you want!
When you find a theme you love, put it in your favorites. We’ll come back to it later!
Once you’ve seen a lot of themes (maybe 30?), wait a few days or even a week. This will allow you to rest a little, forget all of them, and make a much more informed choice.
Step 3: Establish a list of essential criteria sought
After completing the first two steps, you should now know what you want in your design. Set a clear list of desired criteria.
To give you an example, here is what my list looked like when I bought the template Soledad:
- Sticky menu on the top
- Slideshow with images of articles on the top (but not landscape) (slideshow)
- Categories displayed very well so we can see them at first sight on the homepage
- Full-width articles
- Instagram Widget in the footer
- No forced scroll
- Great possibilities of customization – in other words, to be able to completely change the visual look of the blog without changing the theme (I want a profitable investment!)
Once you’ve completed your list, return to your list of favorited themes on ThemeForest. Browse the list, and remove from all the ones that do not meet your standards. When you find one that will meet everything on your criteria list, you will be one step closer to finding the right theme for you.
Reduce your choice of favorited WordPress templates to 3, approximately.
Step 4: Collect information on these WP templates
You should not rely solely on the beauty of a design. You need to find more information about the author, SEO, speed, and so on.
Check out the ratings and reviews from those who have purchased the theme before you. Pay attention to how the creator of the theme responds to people’s comments because it says a lot about their customer support service. Also, go to the support forum and see how long it takes for people to get a support response. Also, very important, take a look at the documentation of the theme. The bigger, the better! You will probably need it at some point.
Now compare this information to your remaining three favorite templates, and make a final decision!
I have to mention PenciDesign, the creators of my design Soledad, who answered me several times in as little as 2 minutes! What an excellent service, right?
Also to be considered
Why you should pay for your theme
I’m not an expert at all on premium themes, but I think that the overall quality of paid ones is way better than the free ones. As soon as I changed my theme, my bounce rated decreased, and my visitors stay for a longer duration on my blog. This could happen in any change of design, paid or not, but I’m confident enough to say that quality, functionality, security, frequent updates and excellent support will all be better with a paid WordPress template. ManageWP has a great post about this.
Do you have a multilingual website?
If so, then I strongly suggest you check with the translation plugin if the theme is considered to be 100% compatible with your plugin. I just changed from qTranslate-X to WPML, so for WPML, you can verify whether or not your template is compatible. If not, you can ask WPML‘s team to add it in this form.
If it isn’t compatible, you can still use it, but you might face undesirable situations where certain text cannot be translated. You have to be aware of it!
If you follow the tips mentioned above, I’m sure everything will be just fine in your hunt for your next theme! Tell me how your first template purchase was! Did everything go well? 😉 I want to know!