How To Choose A WordPress Blog Theme

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Did you know that your blog’s overall design in WordPress — how it looks and functions — is greatly determined by the theme you choose?

When you first install WordPress in your hosting (I’m talking about a self-hosted wordpress site install) a basic default theme is automatically installed, but most people want to customize their design… to make it unique, stunning and the best design for their needs!

Today, I’m going to walk you through the steps on how to choose a WordPress blog theme, as well as my recommendations.

How To Choose A WordPress Blog Theme

There are so many choices out there, so many in fact that it’s really quite overwhelming. So let’s start with the key steps…

Step 1: Look at site designs that you LOVE. What is it that you love about them? Are they easy to navigate? Are they clean looking? Etc.

You might also love certain layout features on the homepage such as:

-a large main image on the homepage (one image or a slideshow of images)
-has an optin email form
-blog posts are on the homepage (an overview of recent blog posts or a blog roll)
-the homepage has a sidebar (or doesn’t have a sidebar)

A Tip from my ebook How To Start A Blog: Look around at other blogs in your niche (+ outside of your niche) and write down what appeals to you and what doesn’t. Then look for those things that you like when choosing your own theme.

Step 2: Preview some themes. I always suggest that you preview the theme’s demo to get a good idea of the look, layout and function of the design. Does the theme have the look, feel and functionality of a site that you love (step 1 above).

Step 3: Read the themes description of features and functionality. By reading the themes short description, you will have a good idea if the theme is customizable and matches your needs.

Step 4: The theme MUST be mobile responsive. A responsive theme adjusts its design to fit beautifully on a desktop, tablet/iPad, and mobile devices. Most newer themes are responsive, but it’s always smart to double-check and make sure that it is! If you want traffic from Google, a responsive site is a must!

Step 5: Does the theme offer support? If you’re going to DIY your own blog design, then choosing a theme that offers support is a huge benefit. Note: If you’re outsourcing your design, step 5 isn’t necessary.

Your Marketing BFF theme recommendations

Hands down, I recommend a child theme built on the Genesis theme framework – it’s what I use for Your Marketing BFF and it’s THE BEST for SEO (search engine optimization) and site speed.

What is Genesis?

Genesis is built on a 2-part framework foundation system – with the main “parent” theme underneath and the “child” theme on top. The parent theme provides the functionality of the site and the child theme allows customization without touching (and screwing up) the parent underneath. Note: You purchase the Genesis Framework ‘parent theme’ and the child theme separately.

What does this really mean to you?

-You can update without losing your customization’s
-You will have a ton of features and dedicated plugins
-The possibilities are endless
-The framework is consistently updated to reflect best practices for coding and is always compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

The child theme I am currently using for Your Marketing BFF is the Market Theme by Restored 316 Designs. I’ve created several RESTYLE SITE DESIGNS for clients using the Market Theme, here’s just a few:

Addisons Wonderland | Randi Garrett Design | Cambridge Home Company

Which child theme should you choose?

You’re going to go through the steps 1-5 stated earlier in this post, but I also want you to look past the images, colors and fonts of the demo child theme – these are things that are easier to change and require less coding!

Instead choose a child theme with a layout that you like. Focus on the elements on the home page – the header, main content area, sidebars, footer, etc. Don’t forget to check on the internal pages too – a key one for us bloggers is how the category pages look!

Here’s what I would do…

Sketch out a basic layout of your desired design on a piece of paper. Use other sites as your inspiration (remember those sites that you love in step 1). Decide where you want things located. If you want a sidebar on your homepage draw one in. Want blog posts? Draw those in.  It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it will give you a great road map to follow when you’re deciding on which child theme you should choose.

And to really make your life easier, you can find my favorite Genesis child themes here:

Restored 316 Designs
Hello You Designs
Bella Creative Studios

I hope this gives you some great ideas on how to choose a wordpress blog theme. Try not to overthink it. Review the steps I’ve outlined, sketch out a rough design, go see if one of my favorite child themes perfectly suits you!

Here’s my post that explains how to install a WordPress theme on your own.

Also, if you want someone to choose a theme for you + make it all your own, we can do it for you… and give it that extra WOW, BRANDED factor! Note: you won’t have to pre-purchase the Genesis Framework or the Child Theme, it’s included in our RESTYLE SITE DESIGN package, which you can purchase here.


*The main image blog featured above is of our sweet client 1111lightlane.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. I am recommending them because they are helpful and are businesses that I use and/or trust.

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