• Control the layout structure, look and feel
● Child themes allow for customization without
worrying about breaking things or updates
• Commercial themes often come packaged with
● Page builders* – be very careful here
● Other “must-have” plugins
• Thousands and thousands available
• The more you have planned ahead of time, the
• Things you should know:
● Who are your customers or Audience?
● What do you want your customers to do?Call to
call to action
● How will this site solve your customers’
• Brochure - Basic static pages, simple form
● What kinds of layouts are available?
• Informational - Regularly Updated
● Do you need something different for Posts vs.
● Look for themes that are built for shopping and
have WooCommerce compatibility
• Things you should have an idea about:
• Visual interface to ‘set tone/expectations’, based
on your audience and corporate culture
• Logo, Colors, Look and Feel
• Focus on good design, not clutter
● Content (Message or ‘Pitch’)
• Written copy (Optimized for Search Engines Humans
• Product photos or other images
• Video or Audio
● Flow chart of content =
• What links to what
• How pages are
categorized (Do you
sort by color or style?)
● What you love (functionality, color, style, etc.)
● What you hate
• What you NEED now, what would be nice later
● Sites can be built in stages, as long as it’s planned for
• Whew! I just wanted to pick a theme!
• Picking a theme without knowing your content is
like buying a house without knowing how much
room you need.
FINDING A THEME IS HARD
• Start here: wordpress.org/themes
● You can do this from the Appearance>Themes as well
● Pick a free one, add some content, take if for a test drive
• Many themes are designed around a business type
or a blog style
• IGNORE the images and content in the demo
• LOOK at the structure instead
• SEPARATE form from function – that’s what
plugins are for
BACK TO YOUR CONTENT
• Do you have giant images for the hero area or slider?
• Do you need separate areas to highlight different
• Will your logo work in the space provided?
• Does the main menu work in space/structure
• Do you have the skills/software needed to edit photos
• Do the colors work for you?
• Are the fonts easy to read?
FEATURES TO LOOK FOR
• Fully responsive
• Layout options that you need:
● Full width, with sidebar etc.
• Can you change colors or fonts? (Do you need to?)
• WooCommerce ready?
• SOON - ‘Gutenberg ready’
• Beware of too much!
• A lot of themes use this to control your home
layout and many other aspects of your site
• Divi, Visual Composer, WP Bakery, Beaver Builder,
• Can you change the theme and keep the content?
PLUNGE IN AND TEST
• Test for free first if possible
• “Premium” is really about support and features.
● Hard to test, but asking “pre-sales” questions is a
good way to start.
• Understand where the files are: ALL themes
(and plugins)live in wp-content.
Recommended to me by others, not an endorsement.
• Divi - by Elegant Themes, Visual page builder
• Avada - by Themefusion, Fusion page builder, many (too many?) options
• Astra - Choice of Elementor or Beaver Builder
• X-theme - by Themeco, Cornerstone page builder
• Beaver Builder - Beaver page builder
• StoreFront - The base WooCommerce theme with child options, no page
builder, ecommerce forward
critical-review/ Read this before commiting to a page builder