How To Find A Great WordPress Theme (And What To Look For)

How To Find A Great WordPress Theme (And What To Look For)

If you have decided to take the leap and are moving to a self-hosted blog, congratulations! You are making the right decision. Sure, nothing beats free, but when it comes to hosting your own site, you get to be in the driver’s seat.

WordPress.com and Blogger are great if just want to test the waters with blogging, but for some it is just not an option. If you want to build a brand, you need brandability — and that means losing the restrictions that come with using a hosted blogging platform.

Why WordPress.com Is A Bad Idea

You are not in control. Bottom line, when it comes to your website that is unacceptable. Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) reserves the right to display advertising on every site hosted on their platform. While this might not be a big deal to some, the reality is you are putting in all the hard work and the ads placed on your site don’t benefit you. In fact, these ads will probably be siphoning at least some of your visitors away. Not good.

Why You Should Choose A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

You are in control. See the dynamic change? When you host your own site you are not bound by the terms and conditions of any free service. This means no ads, no limitations on the content. You can do as you wish and build the site you want.

Of course, there still is the whole website issue. You’re going to need one, and if a custom solution is not in the budget then you are going to want to pick out a theme for your new site.

How to Find the Perfect WordPress Theme

Fortunately, there are quite a few places to find the perfect theme, but the one you decide on depends on what your goals are for your site.

The most popular theme marketplaces are: (put screenshots of marketplaces here)

Themeforest

Themeforest

WooThemes

Woothemes

StudioPress

StudioPress

What to Watch Out for When Choosing A WordPress Theme

Just because a theme looks great doesn’t mean it will have the greatest functionality. You want a theme that not only looks good, but performs just as well. The code should be clean and well-organized. But above all, the theme you choose should follow best practices for SEO.

Here are a few quick pointers:

1. Choose the right developer.

The most important thing you can do is choose a theme from a developer that offers ongoing product support and updates. The last thing you want to do is invest your time in a theme that is not being actively updated.

2. Make sure you’ll have support.

Most developers will have some level of support for their themes. Look for a theme that has a strong development team behind it with plenty of resources and tutorials on getting started.

3. Read the reviews.

Nearly every theme marketplace has individual reviews for each product. A theme with little or no reviews has not been tested in a production environment. You want to choose a theme that has plenty of positive reviews.

4. Double check for SEO support.

SEO is obviously a biggie. While it does take some work, you should check the demo theme and make sure Title tags display correctly, and every page has an H1 tag. If possible, crawl your website with Moz or Raven Tools. Alternatively, you can use a free tool called Screaming Frog.

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Post Written by
Greg Middlesworth is the owner of URLjet.

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