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How to Choose a WordPress Theme for your Website

Are you in the beginning stages of creating a WordPress website? Do you need some help weeding through the countless WordPress themes? Well, you are not alone.

Once your domain name, web hosting, and WordPress install are taken care of, you will need to find a theme. If you have already done some searching for WordPress themes, you will quickly realize there is a lot to choose from, making finding a WordPress theme difficult.

In this guide, we will explain how to choose a WordPress theme for your website, what to look for when choosing a theme, and where to find WordPress themes– to help point you in the right direction. This will help eliminate junk themes, including ones that may not be a good fit for your plan.

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If you’d like to jump to the section you’re looking for, a hyperlinked table of contents is available.

What is a WordPress Theme?

Before we dive into how to choose a WordPress theme, let us first go through a brief overview of what a WordPress theme is.

In a non-technical way, a WordPress theme controls the look and feel of your website. It is responsible for content layout, fonts, and which colors get used. A WordPress theme is responsible for things like where your logo and navigation are located. And whether your website has one, two, or three columns.

Technical note: A WordPress theme is a folder with a collection of different files such as PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that work together to create a theme.

Now that you have a general understanding of what a WordPress theme is, we can begin learning how to choose a WordPress theme.

How to Choose a WordPress Theme

The best option will be to write down your website’s needs and select a WordPress theme according to your niche, business, or brand. You will want one that includes not only the design and features you want but should also be actively updated and maintained.

For instance, if you plan on selling products on your website, you will need a theme that supports the e-commerce plugin you have in mind. Maybe you have a part-time tutoring gig and want to turn it into something full-time online. Then you will need a theme that supports whichever LMS plugin you are thinking of using.

Think about the future of your website when you are reviewing the features the theme offers. Take your time and read reviews to see what others are saying. Trustpilot and SiteJabber are both great places to read reviews. Be sure to read all the information on the product page before making a purchase.

Read the terms of service and make sure you know what you are getting before making a purchase. Check to see if there is a refund policy. Sometimes unexpected things happen. If you need to cancel because you changed your mind or are unhappy with the service– having options is always a good plan.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to the theme creators and survey their response time. Changing your WordPress theme when you are trying to establish an online presence isn’t unheard of, but it could mean a loss in traffic and revenue if you already have a following.

Before you consider using a WordPress theme, check it against the following list to see if it is up to today’s standards.

  1. 100% Responsive & Mobile Friendly
  2. 100% SEO friendly
  3. 100% Accessibility Compliant
  4. Website builder / Page builder support
  5. Features to promote products & services
  6. Social media integration
  7. eCommerce support (Online Store)
  8. Compatible with popular WordPress plugins
  9. 100% Translation and RTL ready
  10. Optimized for speed and performance
  11. Actively Maintained (Version)
  12. Extensive Documentation
  13. Theme support (Customer Service)

Where to Find WordPress Themes

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes across the Internet to fit just about any budget and niche. With so many to choose from, attempting to organize reliable information on how to find the best WordPress themes can quickly become a nightmare.

There are three main places where you can find WordPress themes.

The WordPress Theme Directory

WordPress Theme Directory

Many individuals just starting will often need something budget-friendly. The WordPress Theme Directory (the official repository for free WordPress themes) is the best place to start looking. It contains thousands of free-to-get-started WordPress themes that will often have premium options to unlock more features.

It has a handy search feature with filter options to help in narrowing down your results to find the best theme for your website. You can access this by going directly to the WordPress Theme Directory’s website or via your WordPress Admin area.

Each WordPress theme in the directory goes through a review process and must meet specific standards (deemed by WordPress) to be listed. You can also access information about each theme to help you make an informed decision.

For example, you can see what features a theme includes, customer reviews and ratings, when it was last updated, its compatibility with the current version of WordPress, active installations, and more.

WordPress theme directory theme information

WordPress includes a feature in the WordPress Admin area which allows you to preview a theme before using it. Many will even have demo sites created to see them in action.

Now that we have explained how to find the best WordPress themes in the free WordPress.org directory, we can look at some commercial directories, otherwise known as theme marketplaces.

WordPress Theme Marketplaces

Marketplaces are a great place to search through a large number of WordPress themes. However, the downside is there tend to be a lot of low-quality ones, which can make searching more difficult.

To cut through the crud, you need to make use of the search filter option. First, select or search for responsive themes to immediately eliminate old and outdated ones. Then filter your search results by sales/customer ratings. This will give you the best-selling WordPress themes in the marketplace that people have purchased the most with the highest rating.

These best-sellers will have more sales, customers, and money, which will give them more resources to provide ongoing support for the theme. Finally, make sure to verify when it was last updated and read the reviews and comments.

ThemeForest – Envato Market

Themeforest - Envato Market Homepage

ThemeForest is an online marketplace for buying and selling HTML templates and themes for popular CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify.

With over 50,000+ WordPress themes, it is easily one of the largest marketplaces of its kind with a range of prices, from budget-friendly to more expensive ones. It also has some decent search filter options in the sidebar to help you filter out junk and find a great theme.

Creative Market

Creative Market Homepage

Creative Market is a digital marketplace for independent creators from around the world where you can buy and sell digital assets like photos, graphics, fonts, and web themes (more specifically WordPress themes.)

It has 3000+ WordPress themes from a variety of categories including, landing pages, blogs, magazines, business, and e-commerce. The themes offered here will typically have a higher price tag than the marketplace previously mentioned.


TemplateMonster Homapge

TemplateMonster is an online marketplace for buying and selling HTML templates and themes for popular CMS platforms like WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and more.

It has 2600+ WordPress themes from an assortment of niche categories including, business, fashion, sports, medical, education, pets, and more.

Independent WordPress Theme Shops

These types of shops are similar to mom-and-pop shops. It’s possible to find themes from these shops in the WordPress Theme Directory and even on the marketplaces mentioned.

With independent WordPress shops, there are a few things you should be aware of before making a purchase. Some independent shops have decent staff whereas others will be one or two-person operations. It’s imperative to pay attention to the support offered, active updates, and history.

  • Support: Do they offer support? Does their website look active? If you are new to creating a website, great support is a must.
  • Active updates: How often does the shop update its themes? Frequent updates show a commitment to improving quality and fixing bugs.
  • History: How long has the shop been in business? Is it a new shop, or have they been around for a while? There is nothing wrong with buying from a new shop, but you should understand the risks involved.

There are countless independent WordPress theme shops across the Internet. Instead of attempting to list them all, which would be crazy, here is a small list of shops that meet the criteria above.

Wrapping Up!

Hopefully, this guide helps you narrow down your search results by pointing out what to look for while shopping for WordPress themes.

For good measure, here is a quick recap.

  • Understand and identify your website’s needs.
  • Look for a theme that relates to your business or niche.
  • Read ratings and reviews thoroughly.
  • Check the theme creator’s history.
  • Look to see when it was last updated.
  • Is there any type of refund policy?
  • What support is offered, if any.
  • Read all information on the product page and about the theme before making a purchase.

If you need help installing a theme, see our guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at TarttWeb is a group of passionate people that love to help others, led by Jeff Tartt.

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