How To Choose A WordPress Theme: A Beginner-Friendly Guide (2020)

How to Choose a WordPress Theme
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  • Which WordPress theme should I use?
  • What features I should definitely have in my theme?
  • What Criteria I should pay attention to while picking a theme and blog design?
  • Will I be able to manage the theme settings and adding ads?

These are a few of many questions every blogger faces in his blogging career. If you are in the same space, where all these questions are making you worry, well you should be happy because you are now one step away from facing the biggest dilemma of a blogger.

Just like you, When I started blogging, I used to change the blog theme every now & then which was really bad for branding as well as good user experience.

None the less, I wasted countless hours configuring the theme, adding ads & eventually ended up replacing it with another theme.

If you are also experiencing something similar:

I suggest spending quality time hunting the theme which fits your blog, your personality & then set it up. Once done, then focus only on what you are best at; i.e content creation.

Over time, you can optimize a few things like ad placement, CTR buttons and more advanced stuff which would help you get better user experience.

Also, make sure you start using a page builder like Elementor which works with any WordPress theme and let you design beautiful pages. This has become a new standard and you should definitely start using it as soon as possible.

The blog design matters a lot for branding and a good user experience. Moreover, once you have selected a blog theme or your website theme which makes you happy, you will have a much better connection with your blog. 

If you will notice, all popular WordPress blogs or Websites around, take good care of their blog theme.

And make a goal for yourself that, within the next 1-2 weeks, you will select a theme and move ahead in your career. 

I will do my best to help you choose a blog theme or you if you building a company or other kind of website, I will also help you with that. 

So grab a cup of coffee and let’s start with one of the most exciting parts of your online career.

We all know that there are many free and Premium theme clubs out there, and you will be bombarded with 1000’s of options for a WordPress theme. Some of them will be free, and many of them will be premium.

When you are choosing a WordPress theme for your blog or website, along with the look and design, you should focus on many other aspects like the speed, coding quality, support, upgrade and ease of customization.

I can definitely help you with a few options on this post or in future posts. 

For now,   I will be sharing a few tips that will help you select an idle WordPress theme for your blog or website. 

You can always go for a free theme, but with time I have learned, premium themes are usually better as they are constantly updated with time and the support saves us a lot of headaches in the future.

However, you should read my earlier guides on:

How I selected my WordPress theme?

For me, a few factors are the most important and one of them is:

  • SEO: The theme has to have clean code and should be compatible with all popular plugins. Now, a lot of us would not be able to know in advance if the theme is SEO friendly or not, and that’s why It is recommended to skip that new and great looking theme and focus on aspects such as SEO and Speed. 
  • Reputation: The company reputation also matters, as theme selection is more like buying a phone, which requires regular updates as we get on our phone (OS updates). A well-reputed company or developer will ensure that their end-users are always well taken care of.
  • Ease of use: This is another factor that will be really helpful in time to come.

At this moment I’m using Genesis theme but in the coming months, I will be moving ShoutMeLoud to Astra theme + Elementor. Genesis was pretty slow in the development until recently, WPEngine acquired the company and now they are rapidly releasing the new updates.

However, the codebase of Genesis is still tad old and that’s why I decided to move to something which is modern, faster and futuristic.  

Before Genesis, I was using a theme framework called Thesis which was best in its time but later on the founder lost the perspective and many users like me were stuck with a theme that was not being updated, and it was pretty rough phase. And after I learned it hard way, I became very picky about the theme that I select and I suggest you do the same.

Now, for the Bloggers, who are not really great with the customization and need to choose a Blog theme, here are few things which I’m pointing out which will help you to determine the best theme for your Blog.

There are many premium WordPress theme club out there, which will help you to download pre-designed themes for cheaper price and it will give your blog a professional look.

For example, have a look at Astra theme or MyThemeshop, and you will be amazed to see the beautiful theme for as low as 50$.

Unless your content is absolutely killer and often even then, the theme of your blog will play a crucial role in converting every visitor into a regular reader.

Choosing a blog theme can be really confusing when facing so many choices!  Here are some tips to make choosing a blog theme easier.

The Ultimate Guide for selecting a Perfect WordPress Theme:-

With that, let’s learn the art of selecting a WordPress theme.

1. Matches your blog type and your personality

The very first criteria you should consider is the type of your blog. If you have a tech blog, look for tech blog themes. If you have a fashion blog, look for fashion blog themes.

This helps you to narrow down your search & you end up picking the theme which matches your blog type & will set the perfect mood for your readers.

For example: If your blog is only about fish, then you can choose a fish blog theme with an underwater image for a header or animated fish widget on the sidebar.

Thus, it is important that you select your theme according to your niche. If your blog is about fashion, motivation, finance technology, they prefer to select a professional niche theme.

Similarly, if you are creating a real estate website on WordPress, there are a few companies that create a theme just for this purpose.

In summary, the first way to narrow down your search is by finding a theme that resonates with your niche.

Also, check out:

2. Outstanding navigation

Themes are available in different layouts, the number of columns but the select theme that provides easy navigation. Visitors should find it easy to navigate, subscribe to your blog and find it easy to search articles they are interested in.

A theme with good navigation always helps you to reduce bounce rate. Moreover, focus on a theme that is clutter-free and focus is mostly on the content.

3. Easy Customization

WordPress theme should be easy to customize. There are many customizable themes available which are easy to modify according to your requirements and you even don’t have to learn the lot of PHP coding or CSS for same.

Even if you are not a genius in customizing theme then also you can play with themes if the theme provides you easy customization.

4. Advanced features

There are many themes that provide you useful features like managing advertisements, different comment styles, customize the dashboard, customized error pages and so on.

Or if they don’t have these features in the theme, as many companies like to keep the theme code as minimalistic as possible, they will have a list of selected plugins that add these features.

Such features are available in free as well as in premium themes, you can select one that suits your requirements. You can always achieve many of these tasks with the help of WordPress plugins. So, you may ignore these particular features.

5. Support

Always prefer to have a theme by a developer who is active when it comes to the support part. Make sure that developer updates the theme on a regular basis according to WordPress latest version and it must support the new features of updated version like widgets, tags, etc.

6. Responsive & mobile-friendly:

I saved the best reason for last & in 2020 & in coming years, don’t buy a WordPress theme if it’s not responsive.

A Responsive theme will ensure your content is readable on all screen size (Mobile, tablets or desktop). This is one of those features that you can’t compromise with & the good news is; all the modern WordPress theme are responsive.

To make your WordPress theme selection process easier, our team have done the research to find the best WordPress themes in various niches.

You can browse our WordPress theme catalog to find WordPress themes in various niches.

Be ready to spend 40-90$ in the theme and $100 or so in various add-ons. Let me know if you have any questions regarding choosing the WordPress theme.

Best of luck!

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

28 thoughts on “How To Choose A WordPress Theme: A Beginner-Friendly Guide (2020)”

  1. selecting a theme is always a though decision.
    for me a theme should have good typography, nice looking navigation, support and easy to customize like thesis or genesis
    thanks for offering such great tutorials on thesis.
    could i expect some more tutorials on thesis like
    > adding tabbed widgets in sidebar
    > how to create static site using wordpress conditional tags (liek wpfreesetup and thesiscustomizationservice)
    ???

    1. Thanks for your comment Vivek. I agree with Typography, it is one of the important factor to consider while selecting a WP theme. Typography should be look professional. And we will surely come up with more tutorials soon.

  2. nice tips..but it would be a bettr post if you have given the best themes under every section i.e. like some themes having good navigation etc. anyway useful info..

    1. Thanks Sumanth, but I don’t want to clutter too much. I will come up with more posts related to WP themes so that it can give readers better idea.

  3. I think Thesis and Genesis are two the best choice for bloggers when they help us SEO better than any else. Of course these two themes is not best as you might think at the first look. I have ever wondered why tons of blogger are passionate with them.

    PS: When will my comment be approved automatically Whiztechy ? I hate that manual approval!

    1. Thesis is all time best because it provides you lots of features and it’s easy to customize. If anyone is a professional blogger than it is always recommended to use a Thesis theme.
      And about commenting part Voung, it’s quite tough be even few regular commentators do spamming and which is not acceptable thus we prefer to moderated comments manually.

  4. Jojo Mathews @Around Social

    Nice Tips, one important thing to add, check the theme first with plugins like wp antivirus, because there is so much infected themes available today…

    1. Thanks Jojo for adding one more important tip. I agree there are many themes available which have virus and can harm your blog.

  5. I would also consider the uniqueness of the theme. There are quite a number of blog that has the exact look and feel of SML, with just a different logo.

  6. Walter Pinem

    I tried to find a theme that uses feature slide and often ignore the seo things inside the theme. Thanks to this post for making me realize and I already changed my theme from arras to swift

  7. Sagar nandwani

    I will definitely keep all these points in my mind for new theme selection for my upcoming blogs. Thanks for your guide.

  8. Great post you really mentioned all the basic things to consider in a theme and for me what i like to have in a theme is good content font size and simplicity, i don’t even like too much designed site i love it when it’s looks simple and easy navigated.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Tushar
      I agree with your point on “Good content font and simplicity”.. The purpose of a theme is to first focus on readability and good user-expereince in the form of speed and navigation… Once that is there, rest a good eye-catching design will be like icing on the cake…

  9. Harsh ,
    in this post you said you will change to Genesis,but currently your theme Thesis framework,as there is no dates for this post ,is the the new post ,why you not changed to Genesis,please reply

  10. Hello Harsh Today i purchased Genesis Framework under your affiliate Link 😀 , hope it tracked under you .
    I have a doubt that “for how many domains can i use the Genesis Framework” ,only one or more ?if more then it will be great.Waiting for your reply…………..

  11. Hi,

    I want a ecommerce wordpress theme for Fashionable products which provides Clothes only on Rent.
    So theme must include booking, pickup and return back dates selection on the single product page.
    Can you please suggest WordPress Ecommerce premium Themes.

  12. I am a newbie and looking for a suitable theme with simple features, tried many but could not find suitable one, please suggest me right theme for me.

    1. It should be free theme (if it is successful, I can look at buy option also)
    2. I will use PAGES only, (Posts – will not be used)
    3. Want to disable side bar, if any (left / right)
    4. Comments at the bottom of each PAGE, Login not required for comments (I enabled

    comments from Settings / Discussion, but most of the themes not showing any box to write

    comments; perhaps they support comments on POSTS only).
    5. Search bar required.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Sridhar
      To use the pages or posts feature, that is your choice. Based on your requirement, I would suggest pick a design from MyThemeshop. If you are creative type & want to customize your pages more, then simply grab Divi theme from ElegantThemes. They both are paid but complete value for money.

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