Whether you’re trying to launch your site going self-hosted or on a free platform (ummm, take a minute and consider if going self-hosted is right for you) you will ultimately consider the look and feel of your site. That means it’s time to buy a theme – but are you asking yourself the right questions before buying a WordPress theme?
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Buying a theme is a lot of fun but it can get overwhelming really quickly because there are so many options. Sooooooo many options.
You know the saying there’s an app for that, well the same can be said for websites and blogs. There is a theme for anything you want to create and if you can’t achieve it with the theme itself, there’s a plugin to help.
Before you commit to spending hours online looking for a theme only to realize it’s not the one here are a few things you should consider first.
Are the theme options right for you?
Some themes come with a ton of options, some come with a limited amount. It doesn’t matter how many it has what matters is if what’s available is right for your needs.
Think about what you want your site to look like and the purpose it will have on the internet. Can the theme give you the look and feel you want and provide the experience you want?
Related post alert:
- 5 Things You Ask Before Starting A Blog – these questions will help you start your journey.
- 5 Mistakes I Made As A New Blogger – get ready to learn from my fail!
- The 3 Critical Reasons Why You Need A Self Hosted Blog – if you’re buying a theme that means you’re going self hosted, learn why I recommend all bloggers go the self-hosted route
SEO friendly is more than trendy
SEO used to be a buzzword a few years back but now it’s an integral part of the process. If your new theme doesn’t offer SEO capabilities, it’s not worth it.
Most blogs have SEO capabilities built in and if it’s not mentioned anywhere in the description for said theme, flee.
Is the theme blogger friendly?
There are some themes that are not built with bloggers in mind. Even if a theme says it offers blog capabilities, be sure to view a few demos that show how those blogs look.
The theme for The Coco Creativ (it’s called Oshine in case you’re wondering) was not built specifically for blogging; but I wanted more options and that’s why I purchased it.
Some beautiful blogger friendly WordPress themes:
Oleander is a fresh-faced Blog & Shop WordPress theme. Let Oleander’s clean vibe and arresting design elements elevate your content to its fullest potential.
Grazie is a feminine, modern and beautiful Genesis Child Theme for WordPress.org designed for lifestyle bloggers & small shops in mind.
Instantly look legit with Analogue, a minimalist WordPress theme crafted for influencers and infopreneurs.
Read the reviews
Take the time to see what others have to say before you purchase. Most themes receive pretty decent ratings and reviews so if you see one that has a lot of negative remarks, it’s fair to stay away.
Is support provided?
Most developers will offer help or a guide for installing and customizing and that’s usually called your documentation.
I have bought themes where there was no documentation, no help at all. Even the best blogger will have issues with getting something to work and if there’s no support that sucks.
Responsiveness is an absolute must
If your theme is not responsive (meaning it can adjust to any device format) it’s a waste of money. People are not stuck behind a desktop or laptop anymore.
You will lose out on opportunities if you cannot give your readers the experience they deserve on the device they chose.
Can your theme support monetization?
If you want to make money from your blog I think that’s great (don’t let anyone discourage you from it) but if your new theme can’t support ads what’s the point?
This ties into the earlier thought about the options being right for you. If monetization is a must, be sure you see some ad choices on the demo site (the theme example) that indicates the possibility for you to make money from your blog in the future.
At the minimum be able to some ads in a sidebar!
More things to consider when buying a WordPress theme:
Think for the future – always think a year into what you want your blog to be. Can this theme adapt and grow with your vision? Do you have the money to purchase a new theme? If not, what you get now needs to work for the long haul.
Go beyond the demo sites – really try to utilize the options that are available and customize your theme as much as possible. A lot of bloggers just PLOP the theme and move on. Be creativ.
WordPress themes work on self-hosted blogs – these themes are not created for your average WordPress.com blog or blogs created with Blogger. Going self-hosted is easier than you think. I share how to start a self-hosted blog in this blog.
Budget – if you need a heavy duty website loaded with heavy duty options you will pay for that. For the typical blog, there is no reason you should pay more than £/$60.
Free isn’t always best – I’m not opposed to using a free theme, especially if your needs are limited, but if a free theme doesn’t tick your basic boxes it’s not worth using it. This is one area where you will see a return on your investment.
Good luck and congrats on taking this big step!!