21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 5: Choosing a Theme

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build a WordPress blog.

There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. I recommend that you start looking in the WordPress Theme Directory. Not only are many of the themes free, but they’re very easy to install and it’s a snap to try out different ones to get an idea of what will work for you. 

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Most pros are probably going to want advanced themes and site features that aren’t available in free themes—but you can get them in Premium themes. Premium themes are usually sold or distributed by theme directories or the developers who created them. My favorite WordPress theme company is Themify—they build beautiful, reliable and highly customizable themes. I also like Elegant Themes and WooThemes

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Whether you’re looking through the WordPress theme directory or browsing a premium theme directory like Theme Forest, you’re able to preview or demo the theme you’re considering. This gives you an opportunity to preview the theme as if it was a live site with content. 

Some of the things you want to consider when picking a theme are site features, functionality, fonts and color schemes. You probably have an idea of what you want your new site to look like. Try to make a must-have list of features you’re looking for, such as a large photo gallery on the homepage, different internal page layouts (better known as page templates) or a responsive layout. Be sure the theme works in all modern browsers and is still supported by older ones.

Responsive WordPress themes are becoming more widely available and more sophisticated. Responsive web design refers to websites that adapt to fit any device used to view it—it’s optimized for desktop computers, smartphones, tablets. More people than ever are using smartphones to access the web, and it’s only likely to continue to increase.

Many times you can Google specific topics or industries to better locate themes made for you or your business. Search for phrases like “portfolio WordPress themes” to help you find ones developed for specific purposes.

When you’ve found the one you like, make a note of its name if it’s a WordPress theme or purchase and download it if it’s a third-party theme. 

Tomorrow: Installing your theme

Learn more about making a WordPress website with our great design resources. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts in this series? Download the whole guide to build a WordPress site now.