How to Choose a WordPress Template for Your Website

You’ve decided to develop a website and have selected WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System). Congrats! Now it’s time to design the perfect template to represent your brand.

You’ve been reading the blog posts on WordPress for years and decided to build your site using their incredible platform. You’re excited about the prospect of adding more value to the online community by creating a successful website using their tools. Sweet!

But before you start modifying the code of a default WordPress install, it’s important to understand a few key details about WordPress templates.

What Is a WordPress Template?

A WordPress template is a completely configured and designed HTML/CSS template for your site. It is essentially a blank canvas upon which you can layer your content and design your site however you like. Some prefer to build their entire website within the confines of the template while others might prefer to tinker with the code a bit and get creative.

WordPress templates are used to build websites because they’re so easy to customize. Themes offer a wide variety of beautiful designs and layouts to choose from. Designers and developers can also tweak the look and feel of a WordPress template to fit their precise needs. There are hundreds of free and premium WordPress templates available online. If you can find a design that suits your needs, you can download it and get to work.

The Downsides Of Using A Template

While the convenience of using a template is unquestionable, there are a couple of things you need to be wary of.

The first downside is that a template precludes you from using custom HTML and CSS code. This is not a problem if you’re happy for your site to look a certain way or if you want to keep things simple. But if you’re a developer who wants to make your site look unique and fantastic, you’ll have to go through the hassle of learning HTML and CSS if you decide to build your site from the ground up.

The second downside is that templates are usually made for a specific screen size and device. Unless you know your audience very well and are certain that they’ll only access your site from the kind of device and screen size you’ve chosen, it’s usually a good idea to look for a mobile-friendly, retina-display-optimized version of the template. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bunch of squinted-and-gazed-at-screens frustrating your readers.

The last downside is that you can’t really go back once you’ve published your content. If you decide that you don’t like a certain element of the template (a header for example) you’ll have to go through the trouble of changing it yourself. Or if you want to add another blog to your site (or another section under it), you’ll have to start from scratch again. Designing a WordPress template is a fun and rewarding process, but it’s definitely not the most efficient way of doing things.

Choosing A Theme

Before you start designing your perfect website, you need to choose a theme. This is the unique style that will dictate the look and feel of your site. You have a variety of themes to choose from and it’s important to find one that suits your needs.

There are hundreds of free and premium WordPress themes out there. As a general rule of thumb, look for simple, clean, minimalistic, and light-themed templates. If you’re looking for unique and artistic designs, you’ll have to pay for them. Most themes offer a variety of demos (a pre-made website with all the necessary content and features already in place). This is a great way to get a feel for the style of a certain theme before you decide to invest in it.


When you’re choosing a theme for your website, be sure to check out its features. What sorts of things can you customize? Can you change the color scheme? Are there any unique gadgets or tools the theme offers to make your site stand out?

Some themes offer a drag-and-drop tool that makes it easy to build a website. If you’re not familiar, all you do is simply click on any part of the screen (usually the header) and a box will appear with all the content you need. Just drop in the elements (text, images, videos, and so on) you need and the theme will do the rest.

Other features may include a custom-made welcome mat, blog icons, and a featured button that appears in the header of your site. The more you know about a certain theme, the better. This way, you’ll make an informed decision about which one to go for.

Responsive Design

Another thing to check for when choosing a theme is its responsive design. If your target audience is mobile users, you’ll want to make sure the theme is mobile-friendly and adjusts its layout efficiently on all screens.

There are many different types of responsive design, but generally, it’s a layout that utilizes CSS3 media queries to determine the screen size and orientation the content should be displayed in. Most themes will have a responsive design enabled, so all you have to do is make sure your laptop, tablet, or phone is in portrait mode (in the landscape mode, the elements on the right side of the screen will be hidden by the keyboard as there is no keyboard in landscape mode).

Once you’ve established the correct screen size and orientation, the theme will automatically fit the content exactly as you see it on the webpage.

By adding a few lines of code to your text editor (usually the Coding button in WordPress), you can easily try out the responsive design of any theme by simply entering some content into the editor and then clicking the Preview button. This will show you how the theme is going to look like when your website is loaded into a browser.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a key component to having a successful website. When potential visitors search for your product or service on search engines like Google, they usually land on a page containing information about your product or service. This is usually the product page (for example, if you’re selling shoes, the product page will be about shoes).

Each product page will likely have a number of attributes that make it stand out from the rest (categories, sizes, colors, materials, and so on). Keeping all these attributes in mind while designing your website will make it easier to choose the right keywords and ensure your website shows up when potential customers search for your product.


Last but not least, we have security. Allowing visitors to view your site is a great way to gain credibility and establish trust. However, this comes with a cost. If someone cracks your website and steals your content, it can severely damage your online reputation. You should always take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your website.

Some of the more popular plugins used to protect websites are WooCommerce security, WordPress security, and W3 Total Security. Keep in mind that you can always find free alternatives if these don’t work for you.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to choose a WordPress template that suits your needs.