Themespiration: How To Find The Perfect Theme Everytime

This post will talk you through exactly how to find the perfect theme for your own site or for your clients’ sites every single time, and have FUN doing it.

My inspiration for this post comes from my good friend Ori Bengal. In addition to being one of the most interesting people on the planet, Ori is the creator of Make WordPress Easy, the best (also the funnest, funniest, and easiest) WordPress training course out there. I train myself as well as everyone on my team with Make WordPress easy. If you find some value in this post, I recommend checking out the entire course.

Themespiration - How To Have Fun Finding The Best WordPress Theme For Your Site

If you are building a site for yourself or a client, don’t rush into the building phase right away. First ask yourself or your client some specific questions. Then, based on these questions, you can narrow your focus on choosing the right theme or template for the site, so it comes out right the first time around.

The look and feel of the site MUST match up with the mission and purpose, and make sure that it meets or exceeds the industry standards for that particular field.

Questions To Ask

Before you even start searching for a theme, ask these questions to start, either to yourself or to your client:

  1. What is the purpose of this new site? What is it about? - Get as specific as possible here.
  2. What is the “industry” your website is in? (e.g. technology ecommerce, automotive, environmental, restaurant, speaker, etc)
  3. What is the site going to do?
  4. What are some websites you like in this industry? Why?
  5. What components of these sites do you like most?
  6. What are some websites (in general, not just in your industry) that you like? Why? What components?
  7. What are some websites you don’t like? Why?
  8. What are the brand’s colors?
  9. If there is already a logo or other branding material made - why does it have the colors and features it has?

Once you go through these questions, the next step is to look at some showcases of similar websites you like. The easiest way to do this is by searching “Best [your industry] websites” on Google or something along those lines. Usually, someone else has done the work for you and you will find blog posts with “Top 50 so-and-so websites.”

Keep in mind the date on these posts - what you can do now, especially with WordPress is radically different than what you could do in 2007 or 2008, and some of the top ranked posts you find might be aged. You can use this method along with questions 4 - 6 above to find some really great websites for modeling and inspiration.

Searching Through Themes

Now that you have some questions answered and some great model sites for inspiration, it’s time to search for the ideal theme. You can search for free themes and premium themes, but I strongly recommend premium themes. A good theme will generally cost you less than $40, and will save you hundreds of dollars and/or many hours in design work, and will always get you a better end result with more flexibility.

When searching for themes, you want to search based on your questions and example sites. While you can certainly run a Google Search for “[your industry] WordPress themes” and find some good specific themes, I’ve found my best ones using a different approach.

I personally go to ThemeForest and search through the categories, with my criteria in mind.

First, try your industry in the ThemeForest search bar. You might find a theme or two, but usually it’s hard to find much this way unless you are looking for something general like “restaurant” or “photography” for which there are a lot of themes.

What I like to do is look through the WordPress theme categories that might relate. If working with a small business of some kind, I usually look under corporate, then creative, theme categories.

I also have an ElegantThemes membership, where I get access to 60+ themes for $39. I usually check if I already own what I need here before going to buy another premium theme. This membership has probably saved me $200+ on theme purchases, and is really convenient when you’re personally building a lot of different sites.

I try and narrow my initial results to 5 - 7 great themes. This usually takes me scrolling through 100+ themes and really evaluating about a dozen. I evaluate them based on my criteria above, and also on flexibility. I don’t like to code much or mess around with CSS, so I try to find themes with built-in color pickers or multiple color schemes.

Once I find my 5 - 7, I generally narrow it down through a process of elimination to 3 themes or so. I’ll usually review these 3 themes with my client, and we pick one together. Sometimes I go with my gut and just choose one myself, but typically it’s best to have the client review them with you (if you are doing client work that is).

Use the process above and some industry research for inspiration. I can’t stress how important it is to work with the right theme for your site.

All The Difference

Choosing the right theme makes all the difference. You can avoid literally dozens of hours of frustration or hundreds, even thousands, of dollars of design work by starting out with the right theme. You’ll also have a much higher quality result, and not just some generic website, and you’ll be doing it with less effort and less money. Before you actually start building your site, make sure you flip through the theme’s documentation.

Most premium themes have a lot of built-in features, flexible theme options, and short-codes that help you avoid doing too much coding or even playing around with too many plugins. Definitely read the theme documentation before you start - that too can save you hours of frustration.

Like this post?

I hope you some great value out of this post. It’s the first in a series of many educational WordPress posts to improve your online brand with less effort and less money.

Again, if you really want to master WordPress (without being a techie at all) and have a lot of fun in the process, go pick up Ori’s course, Make WordPress Easy. Ori makes it so easy, a nine year old girl (with one hand) can do it. It costs about as much as two good themes, and will probably save you 500 times what you pay for it in time and money.

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