How to Choose a WordPress Theme


There is no shortage of WordPress themes, that’s for sure. Themes can determine not only how your site is laid out and the overall look, as mentioned earlier, some even come equipped with plugins. You can find themes created specifically for classified ads, homes and cars for sale, photography, even a social network using the WordPress plugin called BuddyPress.

Things to Look For When Choosing a Theme

Support and Price

The price that you pay for a theme can vary greatly, generally between $30 and $70. Some are more, some are less. You may be able to choose to pay more or less for a theme and get 1 month support, 3 month support, 12 month support, etc..  Support is usually provided through the use of online forums. Once you have purchased your theme, you can search the forums for any question that you might have, as your question may have already been asked and answered.

You can also find lots of free themes. You’ll have to check and see if there’s any support though. And be careful if you Google ‘free WordPress themes’. Some sites are shown by McAfee to be malicious. Be sure to check out the sectioned that tells you where you can find both free and premium WordPress themes.

Overall Layout

When it comes time for you to choose a theme for your own website, you need to really sit down and decide how you wish to display your content. If a theme has more sections than you plan on being able to use, you ask the person who created the theme if those sections can be easily left off. If you have a logo, make sure there’s enough room for it. If not, make sure you’re able to change the size of that area to accommodate you. On the main page, make sure that the content there is appropriate for your website.


Look at where widgets can be placed. Also notice if the theme came with custom widgets, and if so, how they’ll look with the content you want to place in them. Banners in particular if you plan on adding banners. For instance, this theme came with a nice banner widget for displaying 125 x 125 banner ads in the right hand column.

Control Panel

Some themes are complete with control panels that help you control navigation, add Google Analytics (keeps track of your site’s traffic and helps with search engine optimization), add code before and/or after every post (great for Google Ads), and so on. These types of themes are ideal for beginners. Without a control panel, you would need to find and edit code to do one or more of these things. Generally the control panel for a theme can be found under Appearance > Theme Options.


Menu items are created automatically as you create pages and/or posts, and the theme that you choose will determine what the menu items will be. Some themes will list Pages, some will list Posts, others will list both. If the theme came with a control panel, you can check and see if some things can be removed from or added to the menu(s).

If you’re not happy with the default menu, check and see if the theme supports Custom Menus (WordPress version 3.0 and higher). If so, you’ll find this feature under Appearance > Menus. This screen will tell you how many menus the theme supports. Creating custom menus is quite simple. You can add pages, categories, and even custom URL’s.

If the theme does not support custom menus, and if you’re willing to edit some code, you can follow’s instructions for incorporating menu support into the theme.

Whether or not a theme supports custom menus, additional custom menus can also be added widgets.

Extras, like shortcodes, Google Analytic integration, etc.

Being able to quickly add Google Analytics to your site through a theme’s option panel is always a plus. Some themes will come with an easy way to add things like code before and/or after the content of posts. A great way to add Google Ads or a banner ad.

Some themes will also come with what are called short codes. They’ll little snippets of code that add special features, like being to add tabbed content, drop down boxes, etc.. Nice themes with short codes will place buttons in the editor that you can simply click on and add the shortcode.

The next page will tell you where you can find both free and premium WordPress themes.

Let’s take a quick look at the theme below.

In the image below, you’ll see:

  • Where the logo is placed. Notice the size of the area. If you have a large logo, make sure that the theme that you choose has a large enough area for it.
  • The main menu. Think about what you want on your main menu. How many links, if you want a drop down menu, etc.
  • Where and how posts or pages will be displayed. Some themes will display an entire post, some will list a bunch of posts with an excerpt.
  • Widgets.  This could be a list of  website links, a custom menu for your website, a list of your most recent blog posts, and so forth.

wordpress theme structure