A Thoughtful Guide to Picking the Perfect Themes and Plugins for Your WordPress Site

20 May

First impressions are everything. And when it comes to your online “home” making a great first impression can make all the difference between your website being a total success or a complete failure.

It’s only natural that choosing the right theme and the plugins to go with it, are crucial parts of establishing your brand.

But choosing the right theme can be a daunting task. Considering the number of themes available, you can easily become overwhelmed and making a choice quickly turns into mission impossible.

In this article, I’ll shed light on how to choose the right theme for your website. I’ll also cover how to choose the right plugins to compliment your new theme by covering all aspects related to this decision-making process.

So, What Makes a Good Theme, Anyways?

When it comes to selecting a theme for your WordPress website, there are a number of things you need to consider. Your choice shouldn’t be based solely on the looks of theme. Let’s check out the things you need to keep in mind when to choosing the right theme for your website.

The Price

Usually, the first thing many people think about when considering a WordPress theme is the price. There are plenty of free and premium themes available for WordPress so going with a free theme might seem like a no-brainer. After all, why would you spend extra money on something if you can get if for free? To answer that question, let’s briefly outline the differences between free and premium themes:

Free WordPress Themes

  • Simple designs
  • You obviously don’t have to pay anything
  • Customization options, such as changing fonts and colors, are usually limited
  • The theme author might stop updating the theme
  • Support is usually limited or non-existent

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How To Choose A WordPress Theme For Your Blog

12 May

Today, you’ll learn how to choose a WordPress theme for your blog.

You see, when you launch a new self-hosted WordPress blog, it comes in a bland default interface like this:

It’s like buying a brand new phone. It will come with some generic, pre-installed applications. That situation presents two problems:

  1. First, it gives you a bland blog lacking a cozy aesthetic look.
  2. Second, the new blog looks like every other new WordPress blog out there. There’s nothing unique in its appearance.

Just imagine. The default Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme has been downloaded 1+ million times as of Dec 2016.

That’s over a million other WordPress blogs sharing the default look with your site. That’s not what you want. It’s not what you deserve either.

This is your blog we’re talking about. A blog you love. One you want to be proud to show off to your friends and relatives.

A blog that will go places and change lives. So how do you make your blog look attractive and unique? I have you covered.

You need to learn how to choose a WordPress theme for your blog.

It’s the theme that determines the appearance of your blog – from the background color, font type, font color and font size to the margin size and widget positions.

How to Choose a WordPress Theme for Your Blog

I’ll guide you through the process of finding a theme that’s just perfect for you, and then installing it on your self-hosted WordPress blog. Here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. Decide whether you want a free or premium theme based on your:
    • blog’s purpose
    • desired features
    • budget
  2. The best free easy-to-use WordPress themes for beginners
  3. How to install a free WordPress theme
  4. Checking the security of the free WordPress theme
  5. The best premium WordPress themes
  6. How to install a premium WordPress theme


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How to Choose The Best WordPress Theme for Your Business

2 May

If you decided on WordPress for your business website or professional blog, well…you’re a genius. Not only is WordPress supported by a huge community with seemingly infinite resources for customizing  your WordPress site, it’s open source and free. No wonder almost half of all new websites run on WordPress.

But once you begin searching for the best WordPress theme for your business, realize popularity comes with a price: There are thousands upon thousands of themes to choose from. 3,018 themes at WordPress.org. 4,968 themes at the gargantuan ThemeForest. That’s without even mentioning hundreds of small foundries and other marketplaces like Mojo Marketplace and CreativeMarket.

Niche themes, do-it-all themes, free themes, premium themes. It’s a paradox of choice and can be flat-out overwhelming.

We know it can be exhausting so we compiled a few tips to make choosing a WordPress theme less intimidating.

Know Thyself (and Thy Business)

It’s tempting to charge ahead, find the first theme that looks awesome and call it a day. But if you choose a theme that doesn’t align with your business goals, trying to customize the theme can be a costly headache.

Before you set out to choose a business WordPress theme, it’s a very good idea to complete a discovery of your business. Just a few of the things you’ll want to think about:

  • What are your business goals and how well does the theme match up with them?
  • What’s your brand and how will it be displayed in the theme?
  • Who’s your competition and how will this theme help you destroy them? (yeah!)

Knowing your business, audience, competition and the context around your website will inform every decision you make about your website:

  • What content will delight my audience and support my business goals?
  • What site structure will support my content?
  • How will visitors flow through the site?

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How To Choose A WordPress Theme (And What I Use)

24 Apr

Updated January 12, 2017

In WordPress, your blog’s overall look (design) is determined by the theme you choose. When you first install WordPress, your self-hosted site uses a basic default theme which comes prepackaged with WordPress, but most people want to customize their design to make it their own.

In this post, I will share how I chose my theme, which theme I use and tips to help you choose one for your own blog or website.

My referral links are included in this post for products I have personally bought. Using these links is at no cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Free themes vs. paid-for themes

Should you use a free theme or a premium theme?

I used free themes for many years and taught myself how to customize them. Free themes are great for those on a budget, but here are some common problems with them:

  • Many are not updated regularly.
  • Many are abandoned completely.
  • There is no support for most of them.
  • The quality of the coding is not always ideal.

For these reasons, I switched to a paid-for theme.

If you have the cash to spare, I would highly recommend you do the same. If not, read on for my recommendations for the best free themes.

The WordPress theme I use

Currently, I use Genesis (built by StudioPress) and the child theme I use is a customized version of Parallax Pro.

But let me be honest. I’m a theme junkie and have a tendency to change my mind regularly. A while back, I bought all the Genesis themes so I can use any of them forever. (Here’s why that was an excellent investment for me.)

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Free WordPress Themes: How to Choose the Perfect Theme for You

18 Mar

The volume of free quality themes available for WordPress boggles the mind.

With nearly 3,000 themes available on WordPress.org at the time of writing, we’re certainly spoilt for choice.

However, that choice comes with a dilemma: how to separate the relatively low percentage of high-quality themes from the rest. And, unfortunately, the “rest” aren’t that great.

With that in mind, in this article I want to show you how to separate the WordPress wheat from the chaff, so to speak. We’ll cover every aspect of what you need to consider when choosing a free theme for your WordPress website.

Why Choose a Free WordPress Theme Over Premium Options?

This article is going to focus on how to pick a free theme, but I do want to briefly touch upon the free versus premium debate first, mainly because it gives me an opportunity to link to Raelene Wilson’s excellent article on free WordPress themes.

In short, most free WordPress themes are free for a reason: they’re not as good as their premium counterparts.

However, there is a big overlap between the two. Many free themes are better than lower quality premium offerings, and it could well be that you do not need a premium theme; that a free theme will do the job perfectly well for you.

To hammer my point home, here are a selection of free themes available on WordPress.org right now that I consider top quality:

  • Celebrate
  • Fine
  • Hemingway
  • Ignite
  • Zerif Lite

There’s plenty more where that came from — trust me.

Ultimately it’s up to you, but we’re going to proceed on the assumption that you want to find a free theme for your site and are willing to put a little time into finding the best option for you.

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Choosing A WordPress Theme: 12 Things To Look For

12 Feb

WordPress powers millions of websites and blogs worldwide. More than 60 million in fact, according to Wikipedia. And this number is constantly growing.

‘What makes it so popular?’ you may ask. Well, the answer is simple – WordPress is easy to setup and use. This CMS allows users to build almost any type of website – from blogs to multipage websites, online portfolios and even eCommerce websites.

One more thing to mention is the wide variety of WP themes available. As you know, a WP theme is a fast and easy way to “dress” your site, so it is not such a bad thing that the web is flooded with millions of free and premium WordPress themes, developed to serve multiple purposes.

Below we offer you an overview of the 12 essential components to which one should pay special attention when choosing a WordPress theme. Consider these elements and build a website that will set you apart from the rest.

12 Things To Look For When Choosing A WordPress Theme

In this section you may consider 9 basic elements that most popular WordPress templates boast. Making use of them, you can not only save time and effort on site development and management, but also start a project that will be in demand among the online audience. So, read on and remember these suggestions.

1. Responsive Design

This is one of the indispensable features any website struggling to gain customer loyalty should incorporate. It’s no secret that modern users are shifting from desktop to handheld devices, so targeting mobile shoppers is the win-win solution.

Think about this for a moment – would you stay on a page that doesn’t display content properly on your smart device? I really doubt that. When choosing a responsive WordPress theme you may feel secure your blog or website will adapt to any screen size, showing all elements the way you intended.

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