If you’re planning to start a WordPress website, it’s important to learn about WordPress themes. So let’s take a look at WordPress themes for starters: how do they work & how to choose the best one?!
Let me start with something really important that not enough people are saying: getting your website set up on WordPress is hard. HOWEVER. It’s absolutely possible to do it all on your own. You’ll just need a bit of time.
Don’t believe the “website in 5 minutes” solutions. They do help you to set up the site but explains nothing about the actual setup and design.
This WordPress themes for starters post will give you a VERY BASIC insight into WordPress themes. If you’ve already managed to understand how WordPress themes work, here are some further articles you might find useful:
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a website creation platform and most of the bloggers and creative business owners are using it for their websites. Meaning, if you’re into creative business and you’re checking the field masters, most likely, you’re seeing a website made on WordPress.
WordPress is accessible to everyone – you don’t have to be rich, famous or a smart-ass developer to make your website happen.
There are 2 different types of WordPress websites: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is for the free hobby blogs while WordPress.org is for the self-hosted WordPress websites.
There are several reasons why you should always opt-in for a self-hosted WordPress website. The most important one: it gives you all the freedom to build your website in whatever way you want AND do with it whatever is on your mind.
To start a self-hosted website, make sure to get my free eBook Blog Creation Simplified.
What you need to know about WordPress themes
Each WordPress website has a theme. Whether it’s the basic, free option or a purchased variation.
But what the hell is a theme???
WordPress theme is the basic design your website will have. You can call it a website design template if you like.
A theme will form your website, give you some nice features.
Good news, anyone can set up and adjust their own theme. WordPress themes do not require any development knowledge.
There are free and paid WordPress themes, plenty to choose from. There are also many different sources to get your themes from. For example, these unique WordPress theme shops!
Purchasing a WordPress theme doesn’t mean that your website will be ready in 5 minutes. Each theme requires a setup (simple installation) and then adjustments. The amount of design work you’ll need to do absolutely depends on the theme.
Free vs Paid WordPress themes
Free WordPress themes
Free WordPress themes can be found on any WordPress. However, there are also plenty of free themes you can find online.
If you opt-in for using a theme offered by WordPress, you can instantly preview and activate it without any further steps. However, most of the WordPress offered themes are really hard to manage and generally are not suggested as the best option.
If you’re downloading a theme from another source, you’ll have to upload a ZIP file to your WordPress.
Keep in mind!
Free WordPress themes usually are pretty simple yet effective for some blogs. WordPress offers a variety of free themes for different kinds of websites: blogs, portfolio sites, e-commerce websites, etc. What’s really important: unless you’re keeping everything really simple, it’s super hard to create a professional-looking website with a free WordPress theme. Not impossible but definitely hard for starters.
Suggestion: Use a free theme if you’re just starting and you’re not so sure where your website is going. You can also use a free WordPress theme if you want to explore the options WordPress offer, learn to tweak it on your own. And yet another way to go – choose a free theme if you’ve found one that you love oh so much and you’re not interested in changing it. That was the case with the theme you see on this website, by the way!
Things to remember about free themes:
- Free WordPress themes usually look good on the preview but look like total crap when you Install it. Why? Because you have to tweak the details to make it look like it was in the preview and usually it’s hard to figure them out on your own…
- They rarely have any documentation with them so there will be no information on how to work with the website;
- Many free themes come with additional information on plugins you should add to your blog. Add them right away because additional plugins can make a big difference!
Paid WordPress themes
Paid WordPress themes can be purchased from plenty of theme markets and solopreneurs creating and selling themes.
Some of them offer separate themes (fully ready to use) while others offer full WordPress Framework/Builder – you get a theme AND the option to fully customize, or even build a completely new website out of it.
The average cost of a paid theme is $40 – $60 but it depends on its features, it can also be as high as $150. Mostly, it’s a one time purchase you have to make and then you get the ZIP folder with all the files you need.
The set-up is just as easy – you just have to upload this ZIP folder you got! For some themes, it will be necessary to register purchase code but you’ll have all guidelines on how to do that right away.
Here’s where you have to be careful with paid WordPress themes. Basically, you never know what it actually does until you really have it. Most of the paid WP theme ads are really specific and they look gorgeous – they offer you options to drag&drop your content, fully manage everything, use demo content. But it takes a lot of tryouts, fails and learning to actually do it. It’s rarely really that easy as they advertise.
Things to remember about paid themes:
- Each paid theme is set up differently. Meaning, if you purchase one and learn how to work with it, you’ll have to learn all from zero with another purchased theme. Very often, same features hide under different names, they have another navigation system etc.
- Paid themes come with documentation. There you can find a lot of useful information that will help you to set everything up!
- They also offer so-called “Demo content”. This will be the content you saw in their design preview before making your purchase. By installing demo content, you’ll be able to see how your website would look like. Later on, you can work on all demo content details and just change them. It’s always a great way to start a completely new design since mostly everything is already set up!
- Purchased themes very often need additional plugins and you’ll find a list of them added to the documentation. One other reason to definitely check it out! Very often, plugins make all the difference.
- Sometimes more expensive themes give you more freedom but it’s not always the case!
- Try to stick with drag&drop themes. They’ll be easier to manage!
Paid WordPress themes I especially love & suggest:
- VICTORIA // The perfect fit for bloggers, coaches and online entrepreneurs
- ISABELLE // An amazing theme for those who offer various services and cover several topics
- SALT & PEPPER // Especially great choice for all visual bloggers (food, fashion, arts)
- REFINED // An absolute charmer! Light, elegant, with wonderful features.
- FOODIE PRO THEME // Elegant & simple – wonderful for any blog!
- RELIVE // A stunning storytelling theme to stand out with!
- ESSENCE // One of my all-time favorites! Simple yet super effective and offering many beautiful variations.
Check out some of my favorite paid WordPress themes!
Before you go…
Remember that by taking on a free theme you won’t get the feeling of how WP works with a paid theme, drag & drop options and similar. Don’t run away if the first impression is not as you’d like it to be! It all takes a bit of time and there’s definitely a learning process you’ll have to work on.
What to do if you have no idea how to work with any of this?! Here are a few ideas:
– Choose another website creation platform. You can take the easiest route and choose another platform. It won’t offer as much of the flexibility and will be more expensive in the long run but can be worth your sanity.
– Give yourself some time to learn your way around WP. Start with a free theme, do some research for paid themes and purchase one. At first, they always seem like mission impossible but don’t try to rush things!
– Hire someone who can help you! If you have no time and nerves to go in there, it’s definitely a good solution.
Good luck and let me know if you need any help!