A WordPress theme is a collection of customizable template files that alter how your site is displayed without affecting its core features. With these templates, you can manipulate the way your content looks — from its typography to layout.
However, defining appearance isn’t the only thing a WordPress theme can do. It also affects the way users interact with your website, so you need to make sure that you pick the right one in terms of aesthetics and functions.
With so many options to consider, choosing the perfect theme for your WordPress site can get overwhelming. In this article, I will explain a few types of WordPress themes and how to choose the best one for your website. So keep on reading!
Types of WordPress Themes
Generally, they can be divided into these categories:
A WordPress theme can either be multipurpose or niche-specific.
As the name suggests, the first one is meant to be an all-rounder theme. It comes with a wide range of features and customization options so it can cater to any website regardless of its focus.
Meanwhile, the latter is tailored to fit a specific purpose or topic in mind. For instance, there are ecommerce, business, magazines, portfolios, or blog templates. As such, its features are not as extensive as its generic counterpart.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this category as neither is inherently better nor worse. Choose the one that fits your website’s requirements the most.
Much like the platform, a WordPress theme is also known for its high customizability. You can add or remove features by editing the files’ code, adding plugins, or inserting widgets.
However, the way you customize these themes depends on whether you pick a starter template or a framework theme.
A starter template is a “blank” template with minimalist functions, specifically designed for modifications. It’s not intended to be used as-is. As such, you can directly create your own theme on top of it.
On the other hand, a framework theme is ready to use right out of the box. But to edit it, you need to create a child theme first. Doing so ensures your tweaks won’t get overwritten the next time an update rolls out.
How to Choose a WordPress theme
A beautiful theme is useless if it isn’t functional. Therefore, when choosing one for your WordPress site, consider the following aspects:
- Design — this includes selections of colors, layouts, and fonts. It should also be easy to navigate and fits your site’s purpose. You can use this list as inspiration.
- Responsiveness — make sure your WordPress themes are displayed correctly across all devices and browsers.
- Security — some themes may expose your website to vulnerabilities. Run a security check on your theme’s code using an online theme checker or a plugin.
- Plugin-compatible — choose a theme that won’t clash with the plugins you currently have. Make sure to read the description to see whether it’s compatible with your plugins or not.
- Flexibility — consider whether a theme has a lock-in effect. It’s a situation when you’re too dependent on a theme that changing it to a new one breaks your site. You can avoid this by either using a theme that’s not too functionality-heavy and substitute the features with plugins instead.
- SEO-optimized — your choice of themes matters to your site’s SEO. Templates with bad HTML structure can confuse search engines and slow down your website. Test your site’s performance with tools like GTmetrix or Pingdom before and after using a theme.
Another way to tell the quality of a WordPress theme is by looking at the ratings and reading the reviews. Check the last time it’s updated too, as outdated codes are more vulnerable to compatibility issues and malware.
I also recommend paying attention to how responsive its developer is. That way, should any problems arise, you can immediately get the support you need.
After you find the perfect match, it’s time to use it. You can change your WordPress theme anytime by accessing Appearance -> Themes in the admin area.
If you want to know how to install a theme outside the default selections, check out this tutorial.
A WordPress theme is a component that changes the appearance of a WordPress website without compromising its core configuration.
Choosing the right theme for your WordPress is essential, as it affects web performance and how visitors interact with its elements.
I have explained several types of WordPress themes and ways to weed out your options. Hopefully, this article was useful the next time you need to revamp the look of your website.