How to Select the Right WordPress Theme for You

How to Select the Right WordPress Theme for You

The theme of a WordPress site is the overall design. It includes your basic layout, header, footer, etc.  As you may know by now, there are a gazillion choices available.  Following are tips to help you determine which themes will work well for you:   

What is Your Blog’s Purpose + Audience?

Think about what you will be blogging about and why. 
Are you producing a personal journal?
Blogging to share your business?
Making a personal branding statement? 
What type of information will you be sharing?
  • Your personal life?
  • Fitness tips?
  • Health information?
  • Business related tips?
  • Technical tutorials? 
What audience do you want to influence?
  • Entrepreneurs?
  • Parents?
  • Small businesses? 
  • Animal lovers? 
What do you need your blog or website to accomplish?
Do you need space for AdSense ads or banner advertisements?
Do you want a template that showcases your photography, videos or latest blog posts? 
Take time to brainstorm exactly what you need from your WordPress website so that you can select the template that meets those needs.  Some things to consider: 
  • Do I only want a blog? 
  • Do I only want a wordpress website? 
  • Do I want a blog and a website? 
  • Do I want a magazine style theme? 
  • Do I want a professional look? 
  • Do I want an amateur or more personal look? 
  • Can I invest in a paid theme? 
  • Do I prefer a free theme? 
  • Do I require customization? 
  • What colors palette do I want to use? 
  • Do I want two columns or three? 
  • Do I want a right side column? 
  • Do I want a left side column? 

View Similar Blogs 

Do some investigating. Look for blogs that are set up similar to what you envision for yours. Are they using a one, two, or three column layout? What features are used?  

What colors and styles are trending? Your blog should be unique but it also should be functional; therefore,  so do not get carried away with your layout and confuse your site visitors. As you are scrutinizing other sites, make notes of the things you like.   

Make a List of Your Needs 

Now it is time to create a list of the features you want. Your list might include: 
  • Number of layout columns
  • Layout flexibility from page to page 
  • Color scheme 
  • Style (trendy, minimalist, professional, nature, artistic, etc) 
  •   Ability to showcase photos, products, videos, etc. 
Many people are now using the internet from hand-held devices; consequently, you want to select a theme that has mobile responsiveness.  Click here and enter your site's URL to view how it will will appear on various screen sizes.

Begin Searching for Your Theme 

There are thousands of both free and paid themes from which you can select. If you see a theme you love during your research, check the footer for its theme name and/or web designer. I suggest only selecting free themes from WordPress'site itself because all have been scanned for viruses or malicious code.  For premium themes, refer to StudioPress, Thesis, Woo Themes, iThemes, and Elegant Themes.

It is simple to switch your themes at  any time with WordPress.  Feel free to test several before making a decision. 
About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Sojourner

    I remember when I was first building my blog. It took me days to determine which theme I wanted to use. Even after comparing other sites and experimenting with themes, I changed my mind once or twice. That’s part of the fun of WordPress though. You can always improve your blog and play around with the different themes. I currently use Portfolio which is probably my tenth blog theme.
    Sojourner recently posted…Thank-you (Guest Post)My Profile

  2. Thanks for showing me all I should have considered before I chose my blog’s wordpress theme.
    Luckily, I am still happy with my choice and know I can change if I later have a need!
    Sharyn recently posted…Transformational Mentoring (15th in the series)My Profile

  3. Hi Rachel, Great advice on choosing the right theme for WordPress. I had my WP theme customized to fit my needs and I really love it. Now I”m adding additional updates since my business is evolving and I love how WordPress is so easy to change and adapt to your needs and its user friendly too!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…Cherry Chia Raw Macaroon CookiesMy Profile

    • Hi Shelley,

      I, too, love how easy it is to make changed in WordPress..  My present theme was also customized; however, I am now working with a branding coach which means that my business is evolving too. 

  4. Hi Rachel,

    Good post. Your suggestions on what to look for in deciding on a blog theme is great. I tried many and changed my mind so many times before I decided on the one I have now. I’m going to do my best not to change it in the future.

    Have a Happy New Year. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Make 2014 Your Best Year – No ExcusesMy Profile

  5. Hi Rachel,

    These are wonderful questions we have to ask ourselves BEFORE we set up our WordPress Theme.

    Because my blog is about 3 years old, I have been asking myself the same questions. I’ve changed over the past few years, and so has my blog.

    Great advice!

    Donna Merrill recently posted…How To Make New Year Resolutions WorkMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,

      Yes, I wish that I knew to ask those questions when I created my first blog.  I am surprised that I have only changed themes three times with all of the themes that are available.


  6. Yorinda Wanner :

    Hi Rachel,
    you are providing great questions which would be very helpful when choosing a theme.

    Considering these from the beginning certainly could set someone up with the kind of looks and functionalities required.
    It took me ages to find a theme that could do what I wanted, especially since I wanted one at no financial outlay.
    The theme I have may not be suited for some since it is a bit more technical to set up, which I enjoy.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…Feeling of Success when we keep a Promise to ourselvesMy Profile

  7. Thanks for all the advice and information Rachel. I am always trying different themes and still yet to find one that I really like. Thanks for sharing.
    Merle Gibbins recently posted…How To Create A Super Easy Collage !!My Profile

  8. Actually, some themes can go up to 5 columns; seems a waste to me but whatever people like right? I went for balance, which is my way, but after that I knew that I could modify things as I saw fit, which I’ve done. I guess that’s the one good thing to know, that no one is ever stuck if they decide they don’t like what they have.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Fourteen 2013 Posts Leading Us Into 2013My Profile

  9. There are so many themes nowadays and it is really hard to pick one. Personally, nowadays I always use one which is responsive and has a clean, user-friendly design. Sometimes, the less more. Anyway, I like Genesis very much, though it is hard to customize. It is well-coded and there are several great looking child themes.
    Robert Reed recently posted…All You Need to Know About WordPress Sitemap PluginsMy Profile

  10. Erika Mohssen-Beyk

    Sometimes it is really difficult to find the right theme ,
    the good thing is that we can change it
    and see what we like most .
    I like the ones who look open and clean .
    Thank you Rachel
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted…Do you have a dream?My Profile

  11. This is a great post. I remember when I started blogging , I picked a theme then changed it a million times. Finally I understood that a blog theme reflects not only who you are but what your message is as well. Taking the time to decide what you want is well worth it.
    Lesly Federici recently posted…Shine The Light On YouMy Profile

    • I learned that lesson the hard way Lesly. Just when I selected a theme that I love and has all of the functionality that I like, I find that I have to change it as I am branding myself.

  12. Dawn Smith

    I absolutely love your theme. And I agree… a theme is important to hold a reader’s attention. Great post.

  13. Leslie Denning

    Hi Rachel. I simply adore the new look of your blog. And what a topic! You have given a lot of food for thought on this subject.

    I went with Optimize Press several years ago because it is so versatile. It’s nice to have one platform where you can have a blog, sales pages, capture pages, and membership pages all in one. I try to not get too much going on, site-wise, because of hackers and the difficulty of keeping up with it all. But I know there are lots of great options out there, and you certainly are a go-to gal on that topic.

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning recently posted…GKCI Info-SUMMIT, Day Two, P.M.: Don Crowther and Kevin HillMy Profile

  14. Hello Mrs Lavern,

    Very useful tips. I studied it carefully. Let’s see the result:

    I will be blogging to share my business. I will share business related tips and technical tutorials.
    The audience is : small business startups.
    I want a template to showcase my photos, videos and latest posts. A blog is enough. No need for a site.
    The look of the blog must be professional and I must be able to customize the theme without coding.
    The color palette must be dominant blue. I would love three columns, if possible (two are good , too).
    I can invest in a paid theme. Finally, the theme must be responsive.
    According to all the above what type of theme would work?

    Choosing a theme is a difficult task. Let’s say I want to go to StudioPress. There I must buy Genesis framework. This is not enough and a child theme is needed. The theme must be responsive. They have, at least 40 responsive child themes available! Each theme has a demo but how thorough is that demo? How many features they present in a demo?

    Choosing a theme may be an overwhelming task. In my opinion, a person who really wants to make a good choice must need assistance form a qualified person (a web designer) in order to be able to choose.

    Have a wonderful weekend
    silviu recently posted…How to Display Your Most Popular Content From Your BlogMy Profile

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