A checklist for choosing a WordPress theme

Checklist

Which WordPress theme should I choose, X or Y? Answering this sort of question is harder than it may seem. Why? Because theme selection is never just a matter of personal taste. It goes right to the heart of your website’s purpose.

In order to know which theme to choose, you first need to know what you want your site to achieve. What’s your plan? This means sitting down with a pen and paper and drafting a list of requirements that can be applied to your theme selection. After that it’s a question of testing the theme, checking for known issues and then taking the plunge.

For the remainder of this post, I thought I would break down the theme selection process into a detailed checklist: things to think about before buying a WordPress theme.

1. Your Website

  •  What is the main purpose of your site?
    E.g.: To sell a product; to provide a service; to showcase a skill etc.
  •  What will the main media on your site be?
    E.g.: Text, video, audio, photo etc.

2. Design

  •  Which existing website designs do you aspire to?
    E.g.: I like abc.com, dfg.net and xyz.com etc.
  •  Which specific features would you take away from those sites?
    E.g.: I like the color scheme of abc.com; I like the content layout of xyz.com etc.

3. Layout

  •  What sort of layout do you want for your site?
    (E.g.: One column, two columns, three columns, four columns, left sidebar, right sidebar, no sidebar. Here are some examples of standard grid based layouts.)
  •  What type of theme are you looking for?
    (E.g.: Blog, Magazine, Portfolio, Video/Photo blog etc.)

4. Templates and Widgets

  •  Do you need any specific post or page templates?
    (E.g.: Contact form template, archives template, sitemap template, resume template, about template, full width post or page template etc.)
  •  Do you need any specific widgets
    (E.g.: Mailing list widget, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter widgets, etc. )

5. Social Interaction Features

  •  What sort of social features do you need?
    (E.g.: Social media icon widget, social media icons in the menu, social share buttons in the content etc.)
  •  What type of comment system do you need?
    (E.g.: Standard WordPress comments, Facebook / Twitter based comments, disqus or other comment service)

6. Price and Support

  •  What is your budget?
    (E.g.: Free theme: $0, premium theme: $30 – $100, bespoke theme: upwards of $200.)
  •  How reliant will you be on developer support?
    (E.g.: I need standard support to help with basic troubleshooting; I need someone to walk me through installation and general use; I want someone to do it all for me.)
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