WordPress Themes are Easy to Install
Not all Themes are Up to Date
Not All Themes are Responsive
Not All Themes Have the Features You Want
Learn to Find a Good WordPress Theme
Get the Features and Functions
WordPress has a library of free themes in their database that is accessible from inside a WordPress installation. Many of these themes are quite nice and provide you with a good user experience. Others of these have not been kept up to date and won’t work well with the current version of WordPress. How can you tell if you have chosen one of the good themes or one of the bad.
This tutorial will walk you through the process of how to find a good WordPress theme that will do what you want and not conflict with the background software that keeps WordPress running.
How To Reach The Add Themes Page
On the side menu in WordPress, once you have logged in to your site, you will see a menu item that says “Appearance”.
If you hover over this menu item a submenu will appear that includes “themes”. Click on this and a new page will open that shows the various themes available from WordPress.org. You can also reach this page outside of the WordPress environment by going to http://WordPress.org/Themes .
Each of these will show you the themes that are available from WordPress. WordPress is not the only place to find free themes though. There are many free themes available from Theme Forest and other vendors as well. I would recommend that you stay with a theme company that you trust. There are many free themes available that may have features operating in the background that are borderline black hat and these will hurt your overall chances to rank your website.
The Themes available from WordPress and Theme Forest are checked for bad code in the background so these are places where you can trust the themes. Often themes are available as a free option and when there are features that you want, they will provide a paid (Premium) option to get these additional functions. I view this as bait and switch and will not use a theme that has this business model unless I can have the features I need in the free version.
Navigating the WordPress Theme Directory
The WordPress theme directory is a page that shows the available themes. It is divided up into Featured Themes, Popular Themes, Latest, and Favorites. The final item is a feature filter that allows you to filter the themes to deliver the themes that meet certain criteria.
As you can see, there are 15 Featured Themes. The Popular Themes are currently 2226 themes. The Latest Themes section has over 4000 themes listed. This can be quite difficult to isolate a theme that you like that has the features you want. The final two choices in this menu are designed to make the process easier.
The Favorites menu item will save themes that you like and provide a way for you to access them each time you create a new website. If you make a lot of websites, this can be a time-saving feature. If you create sites for clients, you may have several themes that have different looks for the various types of clients you service. To use the favorites feature, you will need to create a free account at WordPress.org.
The final menu item is the Feature Filter. If you know what features you would like to have in your theme, you can narrow down the available themes by using this feature. There are 3 sets of criteria that you can select. The first is the general layout of the site, the second the features you wish to include and the third filters by type of site.
If you have a site that you wish to have a Right sidebar, a Custom Header and Custom Menu and a full-width template, you can check all of these boxes on the theme filter.
You can see that this will narrow down the number of themes to roughly 200 themes. Still a pretty large number but a bit more manageable. Click on the Apply Filters button to view the available themes.
You can scroll through the themes and click on one to get the details for that theme. Return to the list and view as many as you like. You can add the ones you like to the favorites list if you like to make selection easier in the future.
I do recommend that you qualify the themes. There is a certain set of criteria that I use to identify if a theme should be used or if it should not be used. Let’s take a look at the things that I use to determine if a theme should be used.
View a Video Tutorial
Qualifying A Free WordPress Theme
There are certain things that need to be checked before you use a free theme. These not only will protect your site from unwanted intrusions but will ensure that the theme you have chosen will continue to be a good choice in the future.
- Has the Theme been kept up to date?
- Does the Theme have the features that you need without adding a huge amount of plugins or making you upgrade to a Pro version? If you need the Pro version, is it affordable and can you justify the expense?
- What do other people say about the theme and are they credible complaints or from someone that is new to WordPress?
- Is there documentation on how to use the Theme?
To check these items, go to the Theme details. This is reached from the side menu, Appearance>>Themes and click on the theme details box that shows when you hover over a theme. Most themes will allow you to go to the main theme page where you can check the last date updated, there is usually a set of reviews, and a support thread.
With the WordPress.org themes, you will need to navigate to WordPress.org/themes where you can find the theme details.
I will usually check the 1 and 2-star reviews to see the complaints and then scan the support thread to see if the owners of the theme have been responsive to problems that people are having. Often you will need to identify if the user is new to WordPress and are just having problems with WordPress or if the problem is theme related.
You should also look for documentation on the theme. Often there will be YouTube tutorials on a theme so don’t neglect a quick YouTube search for the theme name.
I hope this has been a useful tutorial for you. There is a large volume of resources available on Wealthy Affiliate to help you to sort out any problems that you are having with your WordPress site. The community is also well versed in WordPress related problems and solutions so if you are in need of help, feel free to join as a free or Premium member and ask any questions that you have.
Here are the features that you will find inside Wealthy Affiliate.