9 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a WordPress Theme
Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an existing website, choosing the right theme will make it easier to create a professional-looking site and achieve your online goals. But with hundreds of free and premium WordPress templates to choose from, picking one can be overwhelming. Here are a few ways to narrow down your options.
- Start with a Bluehost Certified Theme.
Bluehost Certified Themes meet all the recommendations laid out in this article: they’re Gutenberg compatible, current with WordPress, responsive, and built for quick load times. They come with support and include placeholder images.
Choosing a Certified Theme means you’re already on the right track. These high-quality themes meet our highest standards for support and functionality. Find them in the Bluehost Marketplace under Website Themes.
- Make sure it’s compatible with Gutenberg.
Gutenberg is WordPress’s block-based content editor. It lets you change text and images without writing custom code. Because Gutenberg compatibility is so important to building a successful site, most Theme Sellers create themes that integrate seamlessly with Gutenberg. You’ll find a large selection of compatible themes in the Bluehost Marketplace.
- Check for current WordPress updates.
Check the item page to make sure the theme you’re considering is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. If you are browsing through our Bluehost Marketplace themes, go to the theme item page, and look for “Last Update” to make sure the theme is current. If you have questions about WordPress version compatibility, you can also ask the theme author via the theme support forum on the item page.
- Select a theme that is responsive. Web traffic is increasingly driven through mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. To capture that traffic, you’ll need a theme that is compatible with different web browsers, screen sizes, and devices. Testing a theme’s mobile responsiveness is easy; load the theme’s live demo, then shrink and enlarge your web browser to see how the theme looks in different-sized windows.
- Avoid bloated themes.
A few factors affect your site’s performance: your hosting plan, the number of plugins you’re running, what tasks those plugins are performing, the file size of images and video, and the size of your theme. Themes with a lot of flashy functions have to run more code and can take more time to load. Think carefully about the features and media you want to include and balance that against site performance.
- Make sure it comes with support.
The themes you see in the Marketplace are all created by members of our theme seller community. Some theme sellers manage support forums or even have personal subscription-based support, which means you can get assistance from the person who created the theme. Read reviews on the theme seller to get an understanding of how they offer support. Only themes with sellers who respond to support requests in under 48 hours qualify for Bluehost certification.
- Look for themes with placeholder images.
Placeholder images are generic images that help you visualize where your images will go so you can get a clear idea of how your final design will look. They’re also a great way to get an understanding of the relationship between images and text while you’re building so your final design is more cohesive and user-friendly.
- Look for themes with a live demo or one-click demo.
Themes give you a framework to build, but the options for what you create with that framework are almost unlimited. So, duplicating exactly what you see in the Theme Seller’s example might be tricky. Check the Theme Seller Support Forum or the reviews to get an idea of how the theme might come to life for your site. Themes that include a live demo make it easier to visualize an existing site with a new theme. For easier installation, look for a theme that offers One-Click Demo Import.
- Build for the future.
Think about the future of your website. Maybe you only need a blog right now, but your long-term plan includes a storefront. Pick a theme that will serve your needs now and a year from now.
To summarize, remember that there are a lot of themes out there — you’ll absolutely find one that works your vision. Make sure you pick a theme that’s up-to-date, that’s compatible with WordPress, and that will meet your needs without adding extra features you won’t use. Finally, consider starting with a Bluehost Certified Theme.