More to Consider than Price, When Choosing a Theme

With thousands and thousands of free themes out there, choosing one is probably going to be one of the toughest decisions you make as you setup your Web site. The theme provides the user experience and lets face it, people do tend to judge a book by its cover. However the beauty of WordPress is that you try out many themes and find the right one for your Website with a few clicks of the mouse (see the video on How to Install and Manage Themes within WordPress). With just about 2,000 free themes available on WordPress.org and an uncountable number to found via a simple search, there is more to consider than price when picking a free WordPress Theme.

What this Video Covers

  • Where to search for free themes
  • What to consider regarding the theme provider
  • Support and security issues of free themes
  • How to ensure your aren’t in for a redesign before your are ready.

Video Transcript

So you’ve installed WordPress and probably one of the first things you want to do is figure out what your website or blog is going to look like.

In WordPress, how you control the way it looks, feels, and acts is through a theme. The theme controls the graphical user interface that your visitors are going to see and click through.

Now there are a lot of themes out there, an uncountable number of themes out there, and they basically range from free through quite expensive, or you can even hire a designer and developer to custom design your own WordPress theme.

So you’re not locked into any one set of things, which is great. And one of the beauties about WordPress is the pure size of the community that’s involved. It is the world’s most popular content management system, and being open-sourced, there are a lot of people working on it at any given time.

So we’re going to talk about free themes for WordPress. Now, there is no shortage of free WordPress themes out there. In fact, if you do a search on Google, you can go pages and pages and pages, finding all kinds of galleries of free WordPress themes you can download from, blog articles about great WordPress themes that are free, and so on. In fact, if you go to WordPress.org., there’s 1,974 themes here alone at the time of this video, and that’s just counting what’s on their official site. That’s not counting the thousands, upon thousands of designers and developers who have posted their themes elsewhere.

And if you’re just looking around, you can find various sites that basically list out many, many free themes. And picking one is hard because you got to find one that fits the goal of your website. You can do some modifications. It really depends on how comfortable you are working within WordPress and if you plan to customize any of these things or if you plan to use them straight out of the box.

But you can see here, again, there is absolutely no shortage of free WordPress themes.

However, let’s talk about what you should look for in a free theme. Basically, the simple rule is make sure you download from a reliable source, one that you know. If you’re doing a search on Google and you find a site with a bunch of listed free themes, check it. Make sure that it looks like a reputable site. Make sure the site itself is well designed. And the reason you want to do this is, the main reason is security. Now there has been a history whereby some free themes have come with security exploits loaded into them. Now I don’t know if the developers and designers did this themselves or if this was done after the fact by some other folks who had ill intent, but regardless, there is a security risk when you’re downloading and installing themes. Themes do interact with the WordPress core. They do interact with the database. And they push scripts to the browser. So there are a lot of places where security risks can come up. So again, make sure you’re downloading from a reliable source. Check out WordPress.org first, and if you’re not finding what you’re looking for there, then go ahead and do some searches.

Personally, what I like to do is find where popular bloggers have listed out a few of their favorites and so on, and I think that’s a good place to start.

The other reason that you want to be careful where you get your free theme from is, support. You want to make sure that the developer and designer who built that theme are available for support. Now granted, they’re giving that work out for free. It may be limited, but you want to make sure that if something were to come up, such as a security risk, they’re going to provide an update to that theme.

The other thing is, is you want to make sure that you have a good feeling that they’re going to be around awhile, because as new versions of WordPress are released, and new plug-ins are released, and so on, themes can become out of date or incompatible with other features and functions on your website. So if you spend a lot of time setting up your website, and you’re good about updating the WordPress core and the plug-ins that you use, which you should be, you may find yourself having to find a new theme down the road, which is basically the equivalent of a redesign. And you don’t want to be there too soon.

And regardless of what the cost of the theme is, you really do want to find a theme that is mobile-ready. The keyword here is responsive. Responsive means that it will re-size to the screen that it’s on. So it’s going to re-
size for a mobile phone. It’s going to re-size for a tablet. And then it’s going to re-size for a normal desktop browser.

Now most folks are developing themes that are responsive, and today, just as a word of advice, you want to lead with mobile. Now mobile traffic might not account for the majority of traffic on your website, but I can promise you it’s only going to grow. And if you’re going to invest time into building a website today, you might as well do it right and make sure that you’re downloading and installing a responsive theme.

And beyond that, go ahead and go out there, find some free themes. Install them. The beauty is, you can install themes, uninstall them, see how they work within your site. Installing and activating a theme is incredibly easy and we have a video on that.

And that’s it.