How To Choose A WordPress Theme, 7 Questions To Ask

by Adam @ WPCrafter   |   Last Updated: July 17, 2019
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With so many WordPress themes available to choose from, how do you choose the best WordPress theme for you?

It's a tough choice because you have just as many people making different recommendations.

So how do you choose the best WordPress theme? Here are the 7 questions you need to ask when choosing a WordPress theme.

Ground Rules

  • Not picking on any 1 theme – (don’t flame me)
  • People love their theme, that’s ok
  • If you disagree with me, that’s ok
  • The questions are together, not separate

Technology Changes

It's undeniable that technology changes at a very fast rate.

How many mobile phones have you owned in the past 6 years? How many computers have you owned in the past 6 years?

Ask yourself, today would you choose to use the phone or computer you used 6 years ago? Sure it will work, but is it the best tool for the job any longer?

Most likely not!

Question 1: Who Is The Developer?

When choosing a theme, you want to consider the commitment that the developer or company behind the theme, has.

Let's face it, most WordPress themes and plugins are developed by hobbyists, so you want to make sure you use a theme from a committed developer that has a business model behind their product and will continue to provide support and improvements for 2 – 3 years.

One great indication is how many active installs the theme has. Or how any sales it has.

But keep in mind that this is just the first question, and taken by itself.

Lot's of sales does not equal a good theme!

Question 2: Is The Theme Bloated?

A great rule of thumb when choosing a theme is that “Less Is More”!

You want a fast website that will be a joy to use and it starts by using a theme that isn't loaded with a ton of crap that you are never going to use.

Yes, I am talking about those themes that require a bunch of plugins to be installed when you activate it.

Also, themes that add a bunch of custom post types like, portfolio's or FAQ's that you are not going to use yet. Even worse if you do use them and later want to change themes, say goodby to all that content.

Question 3: Is It Bundled With a Page Builder? Even Worse, a Back-end Page Builder?

Back-end page builder are very slow to develop websites with.

It's better to choose a theme that is not bundled with a page builder because they usually are outdated. This way you can use a best in class page builder like Beaver Builder or Elementor.

Question 4: Where Are The Theme Options?

Themes, where all the options are in a back-end settings panel, are very slow to develop websites with.

A modern theme will have all the theme options in the customizer which is much faster to develop websites with.

Question 5: Does The Theme Have Integrations That You Need?

Are you going to want e-commerce features? How about online courses?

If so, you want to choose a theme that already has these integrations.

This is one of the reasons I love the Astra Theme, because it has integrations with WooComemrce and learning management systems like LearnDash and LifterLMS.

Question 6: Are The Demo's Practical & Useable?

Not all website demos are created equal. Many times they are mostly made up of highly photoshopped images and are not that simple to use.

Make sure, if you are wanting to use a demo as a starting point, that you take into consideration how much of the demo are you realistically going to be able to change.

Question 7: What Is The TTI?

You may be asking what the heck is TTI? If you haven't heard of that before, you are not alone.

It’s a very recent measurement which stands for Time To Interaction.

It is one of the most important measurements of any website. It means how long do you have to wait before you can interact with a website.

It's very easy for a theme developer to game the pointless GTMetrix scores, but they can't game TTI.

When someone visits your website different parts of your website start to load. Usually, these interactive elements are the very last thing.

Wrap Up

At the end of the day, much like my earlier example, a 6-year-old mobile phone can make phone calls just like a modern smartphone can.

They both get the job done.

But one is faster, smarter, easier to use.

Video Transcript

Adam @ WPCrafter

Adam @ WPCrafter

My passion is making the best quality video tutorial online, for non-techies. When I am not behind the camera, I am usually helping out one of my YouTube subscribers.

18 thoughts on “How To Choose A WordPress Theme, 7 Questions To Ask”

  1. Hi Adam- Thank you for creating all of this great content! I am new to building wordpress sites and your video’s have been great. I am currently planning out an LMS site with LearnDash. I am looking at using the eLumine Theme from wisdmlabs, but saw you use Astra for many of your videos. My site will be fairly simple. It will be only annual memberships (recurring billing annually) to all content. Each course will be a live webinar with a recording inserted into the course afterwards. Once the video is watched you take a quiz and receive a certificate you can submit for Continuing Education Credit to your Certifying organization. So a user will watch a video, take a quiz, get a certificate…course complete. I want to make sure I am keeping this site lightweight since it won’t need much heavy customization from an LMS standpoint. Do you have any opinions on eLumine vs Astra or any other theme specifically used for LearnDash?

    I appreciate any feedback you provide! Thank you!

  2. Hi Adam, thank you for great quality content!

    My favorite WordPress theme it’s Kallyas, it has included all-in-one solution for building a stunning beautiful website!

    All the best,
    Bogdan

  3. Hey, Adam, this was great and super helpful.

    I’m just coming off a $129 StudioPress theme (luckily I’m within the 30 day money back period) that I’ve struggled with for over a week. I am non techy and found the lack of customizing available in the Customizer to be hugely frustrating.

    Thanks to your video, I’ve decided to switch over to GeneratePress, an earlier consideration I’d abandoned due to the buzz about Genesis Framework and Gutenberg Optimization. I think I’ll have much easier time designing our site to suit us than I was having with StudioPress … and save money in the process!

    Really appreciate your time in creating these excellent and practical videos … and offering them free to help out us budget-stressed small businesses! Can’t wait to watch your others.

    Many thanks,

    Linda

  4. Suanlun Tonsing

    Not to be biased or anything but I used a premium theme from MTS and recently changed it to generate press. I am amazed how this free theme loads really fast, simple and clean and recommend other readers and bloggers as well. I just love it. One quick question, is the premium really worth it for a simple micro-niche blog? I like the free version already but also thought about the premium version. Comparing with newspaper and jannah, although these are news and magazine style, I love their layout.

    1. GeneratePress is a very lean and fast WordPress theme. It’s one of the 3 I always recommend to people. Regarding purchasing the pro version, it will unlock a ton more power and options, but if you are happy with the free version, then you can stick with that.

  5. Hi Adam, thanks for all your great work and help.
    Question: Can I make a reasonably good business site with the Astra free version alone? Without the help of Elementor?

  6. Hi Adam,

    Firstly, many thanks for all the great content you create. You are a reliable and trustworthy source of great information for me.

    I am hoping that you would clarify something for me. I want to build a multi-page business website. In the past I have used Thrive Architect and a Thrive theme. I found the theme somewhat frustrating to use. I then tried using TA with just a Thrive landing page template but this isn’t a particularly good solution for a multi-page site.

    I have watched some of your videos on the Astra theme and have since installed it on a fresh test WordPress site to try it out.

    I am a little confused about using a non-Thrive theme with TA. Am I best to use a Thrive template as a basis to a site…or is importing an Astra theme an okay option too? And will they “play nice” together?

    Any advice is appreciated!

    Thanks Adam.

    Greg

  7. Chandra Prakash

    Hi Adam,
    Sorry for posting a spam below by the name “psamcp so”.
    I did so as i am researching the methodology to reduce spam comments on my blog on WordPress comment functionality.
    As i am following you, so thought that you might be using something different to control this, but now i realized that you do it same way as i do (the old way) through moderation.
    You might not be getting more spams due to the age of your domain and your legitimate followers who are real serious about what you share, as i am.
    But i am facing this being new in this industry and moderation consumes lot of my time.
    But i am looking for something really simple, which is not a pain to my readers to comment (as i want my readers to comment) but i also want those comments to be more legitimate, as yours.
    Still stuck with lot of alternatives but unable to decide what to use, so thought to try something stupid (which was posting a spam) to check what my mentors are doing in this regards.
    Still would request you to please excuse my stupidity.
    I also want to ask one thing (don’t know how to propose this) but i want to work and earn with you. This might sound stupid as i don’t have great words to make it sound more delicious, but i am serious about this. If you can consider this as an option, then please suggest how can i be in touch with you.

    1. I do have moderation on my website but it’s not for that purpose. I have what is called a honeypot that detects bots, so I don’t get any automated spam like that. It’s a feature in iTheme Security.

  8. This is a great list you put together. It’s so true, technology does change and I want to always be using the best tools for the job.

  9. Hi Adam, forgot to ask this in previous comment, but can Elementor be used to create the transparent overlay at the bottom of an image? If so, how? Thanks!

  10. Hi Adam, I’m considering a theme for a new project and was wondering if you know if any of the themes you covered in your blog post allow you to easily add a transparent text overlay to the bottom of an image.

    https://avada.theme-fusion.com/university/events/ – this is an example of what I’m talking about. If you scroll down a bit below the main slider/hero image to the smaller square images on the left that say, “Student Fundraiser”, “English Seminar”, etc.

    Any feedback would be appreciated. Keep up the great work on your page/channel.

    Thanks!

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