WordPress Themes | Which is the Best for Your Needs

WordPress Themes

Are you ready to be overwhelmed?

Picking a theme for your WordPress site is so hard to do. When I first started blogging I would change out my theme once a month and it took me over a year to find one I was happy with. Will this happen to you? Probably not but be prepared that before you go investing money into a premium theme (recommended over a free theme) that you may want to wait until you have enough content on your site so you can use it to help design the look and feel for your readers.

WordPress Themes

FREE VS PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEMES

Now, let’s delve into the difference between free vs premium WordPress themes:

Let’s use the analogy of a theme to a car and below are your options:

CAR #1 (aka FREE theme)

  • Looks great on the outside – no dings or dents
  • The interior appears to be okay with no real concerns
  • You really don’t know the model or the manufacturer
  • The price on the windshield says FREE

CAR #2 (aka PREMIUM theme)

  • The paint is perfect and shiny
  • The interior in soft cushy leather
  • It’s an Audi R8 (probably poor for this analogy but one of my favorite cars)
  • The price on the windshield is more than you want to pay

You go with car #1 and guess what!

  1. Since you are not a mechanic (ie coder) you didn’t look under the hood and see that most of the parts are missing and those that are there are put together by “band-aids.”
  2. The interior (admin dashboard) that looked okay actually is uncomfortable and hard to sit on (ie, navigate).
  3. The manufacturer (ie developer of theme) is no longer in business and therefore doesn’t maintain the theme which translates to bugs and hackers
  4. Free is what you wanted but was it what you needed?

While we always want to save money skimping on your theme is not what I recommend. Your theme will not work with plug-ins, it will be hard for you to customize and it will not perform well with the search engines. These are some of the most important reasons not to use a free theme.

Bottomline — in my opinion, “free is not for me” when it comes to WordPress themes. I would recommend that you start with the 2016 theme by WordPress that comes with your installation to work with while you add your pages and first posts. Then, before you officially launch the site you will be able to pick a theme that you feel best delivers your content to your readers.

ELEMENTS OF A GOOD THEME

  • User-friendly. Navigation of your site should be quick and easy for visitors.
  • Clean and Simple. Pleasing design that pops, but doesn’t hurt your eyes with an overload of color.
  • Mobile Responsive. I cannot stress this part enough. Your site needs to look great on mobile devices. Don’t forget, Google has a tool you can use to check. A non-responsive site is killer for your rankings and your user experience.
  • Clean Coding. Make sure it doesn’t have too much coding or poorly written code that slows your site down
  • Maintained. Ensure that the theme is regularly updated and maintained. There is nothing worse than spending money on a theme only to learn that the developer no longer maintains the theme to keep up with core WordPress updates.

My recommended progression for themes for your site:

  1. PRIOR TO LAUNCH: 2016 FREE theme to use while loading content on your site, which will be the recommended plugins, pages, and your first posts.
  2. RIGHT BEFORE LAUNCH: Find a PREMIUM theme that fits the way you want your content to be delivered that is easy to customize by yourself.
  3. 6 – 12 MONTHS AFTER LAUNCH: Wait until your site is making money and you are more comfortable with WordPress and hire somebody to do a custom theme (or tweak your current theme) for the look you want.

RECOMMENDED THEME DEVELOPERS

You can use Professor Google to look at all the WordPress themes that are out there but there are really only a few that I recommend and of those two we HIGHLY recommend one.

There are several premium WordPress themes out there and I own and have tested almost everyone of them out there and hands down, StudioPress is my favorite {yes I am extremely biased towards StudioPress and their kick butt WordPress themes.}

Premium themes may cost you $30 – $500 and up and that is BEFORE you pay a designer to customize it for you if you do not want to attempt to do it yourself.

  • StudioPress: Our favorite for many years. Genesis Framework is $59.95 by itself or you can buy a child theme for $79.95 and it includes the framework. (You will use both in tandem to run your site – sounds complicated but it’s not… trust us!)

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