to choose a WordPress theme/template [52/365]

The longer you’ve been here, in WordPress … the more you’ve learnt … the harder it gets to choose.

Now, that statement goes perhaps only for me, but I think a few others will agree.

There are 378 themes (all links will open in a new tab), and counting, to choose from — 193 of those are free. The other night, when I guided my friend through the sign-up process, I noticed they asked “what will your blog be about?”. I think the reason for that was they’d be able to suggest a fitting theme if you’d answered, say … ‘photography’.

When you have a ‘no-niche-blog’, like I do, but are interested in the look and feel of it, it gets difficult because they can do different things. You’d have to focus on what it really is you want.

A proud bird

For example; some themes support something called ‘featured image header’. This means that if you, in one post, set one of your images to be “featured” … when the reader brings up the post, this image will come up big … like the whole header/banner. My current theme, Toujours, doesn’t do that but oodles of others do … this one, for example. In this post, I’ve put this fine mallard as a ‘featured image’, so he shows up on top.


Nowadays, they’re all, what they call «responsive», which means they’ll look good, regardless of what device you’re using. You can even preview, in your browser, how it will look on the iPad or iPhone or whatever device.

what-matters-most-in-life-is-not-how-much-money-you-have-its-about-quotes-and-stuff-that-tell-you-what-life-is-really-all-about-and-here-is-a-picture-of-a-catSome support something called Post Formats. If you post a lot of quotes, for example, they’ll show up in a special format and look really nice.

All this said, WordPress has made it easier for us to choose. On the themes page, there’s a blue button FIND A THEME. This will bring up styles, features, colour so you can select what you want, and all the themes, supporting what you want, will be revealed. I just tried it — I selected five features I’d like [featured image header, white, post formats, minimal style and infinite scroll] which left me with 9 themes to choose from. Strangely … my favourite themes didn’t show up in that selection as they should’ve.

The one I’m using right now [Toujours], I think I chose because I liked the name! My other favourites would be, Scrawl, Button and Independent Publisher, in no special order. The Button theme is really cute, and Scrawl is so nice and clean — I love it.  There are many more I like, and even more that I loathe.

39 Replies to “to choose a WordPress theme/template [52/365]”

  1. Your post got me thinking.
    The more I look at it, the more I like the TwentySixteen theme. I am using it on a self-hosted site and I notice that unlike the version there is no section for ‘fonts’ in the Customiser.

    1. They never have that in the self-hosted … not any theme. One just has to do the plugin thing.

      The Twenty Sixteen, I find alright now too, when I get rid of the black.

      1. I agree about getting rid of the black – In fact, how did they ever think it was a good default colour? It must put off some people who don’t realise it can be changed.

  2. Wow, does anyone besides me remember that feeling (Nostalgia Alert!) The one where you’re going to the record store to see if you can find “that song” you’ve been hearing on the radio – the song that’s been playing in your head all day – and then, as you walk through the doors, you’re bombarded with whatever’s playing on the in-house audio system and that song you had been hearing, evaporates as suddenly as though it never existed… ):
    Well, THAT’s the feeling I get when I’m looking at themes. I have a vague idea of what I want – I can almost SEE it – but then, I open the laptop to look at that page of WordPress themes, and “Poof!” There it was, gone!!😣
    And then, as you’ve just said, the search feature isn’t totally reliable to help thin things out, either… sigh

    1. It can be quite overwhelming, yes …

      When you browse around blogs, and you see something you like, there’s always the opportunity to click the three dots in the Customize button [right bottom].

        1. I went back and checked that search feature. Noticed, when I DE-selected ‘white’ and chose ‘light’ instead … they all showed up, the ones I expected 🙂

  3. Love that duck!! Such beautiful creatures.

    My perspective on the themes is not so nice, to be very honest. Most of them stink. There are tons that should be removed simply for being ugly as sin. The purchase themes are a step up as they should be, but some of those are not too sweet either. Honestly, for a platform as large and popular as and WP in general which now powers twenty-something percent of sites on the web, I expect better quality themes from them.

    Digging around the web for just that purpose you will find developers who specialize in WP themes and build some beautiful themes that just work beautifully on all devices. A user should not have to enable the Mobile version of their theme, they should all [themes] be ready right out of the box, as is, for proper rendering on all devices.

    This, along with the two versions of the Admin area being rammed together are two big items that I can never understand why WP simply won’t fix. Apparently they are blind to and don’t seem to care, they won’t listen to those who use the software and run their websites most days of the week. Hey Matt, are you tuned in?

    1. Thank you [about the duck 🙂 ].
      I think they stink more in the self-hosted place. I’m amazed over how much crap is being let in. Most of them just want you to sign up for the paid version. In the ‘ad’ they state the theme supports this and that, then it turns out that’s in the premium version. That pees me off, royally.

      In the .com version; about the premium ones: I’m curious about what is IS that determines how they set the price of them. This may be only me, but I’d expect more features, the more expensive it is, but that’s not at all the case.

      The admin area … don’t get me going again 🙂 For the last, few days, I’ve tried to use the new, exclusively, to see if it was possible. To me: it isn’t. Just to name one example: I want my pictures to be clickable, and open in a new tab. In order for that to work, I have to go back to the old. Secondly … if I want to link to an old post of mine, same thing. Bleh. I think they’re working on it, though, even if I don’t understand what’s taking such a long time. Must have been two years or more.

      1. Cripes, they have been diddling this for years. So stupid. Glad you agree with me, and I have read elsewhere about people being very disappointed that WP has allowed so many poor theme developers into the fold. WP just can’t see beyond what they want to see.

        1. I just don’t know what’s going on there.

          If they’d decided to upgrade the interface, and just put out a finished product … I wouldn’t have said a beep. They wanted user feedback on this, but now they have ceased to respond to it. To new users, the wp-admin link is gone too.

  4. Themes are my favourite subject! I’m choosy, so there are about three themes a year that I like. Which is good, otherwise I’d be switching themes more often – and it always requires a substantial redoing when you switch theme. Some of the themes I don’t get at all – but I see people using them, so I guess it’s a matter of taste.

    1. I love it too! I think the ones I listed at the end are my all-time favourites for now. Saga is nice too.

      And yes, it must be about taste. Sometimes I just don’t get it.

      It takes quite a bit of ‘re-doing’ … featured images, in particular!

  5. Underbart foto! Håller med dig helt och hållet. Jag satt länge och tittade, jämförde och funderade innan jag valde. Jag har inte ens vågat kolla på allt nytt eftersom jag förmodligen skulle tappa fattningen helt. Byta, inte byta och i så fall till vad?

    1. Många tack! 🙂

      De brukar släppa ut nya teman på torsdagar. Ibland, när jag ser nå’t jag gillar blir jag så sugen att byta … och ofta gör jag det också. Egentligen skulle jag bara prova nya på nå’n testsida, i stället för regelrätta bloggen … folk kanske blir förvirrade 🙂

  6. last year I decided I was going to go for a new look on the blog. I ended up so overwhelmed with all the options and tools that, within a couple of hours, I reverted back to the theme I’d been using and now I think I will just stay with it forever!

    1. Hi Joss same here! I wanted to update the blog look to reflect Siddhartha Henry’s personality. So I tried different themes but they did not ‘work’ the way Bouquet theme works nor did many of the other themes have the Widgets I can more or less use. So like you, I went back to my original theme & just changed the profile pic & the background & added a few more Widgets on the right side. I am not good with techie things; unlike Rebby! She is the Master! 😉

    2. … and that’s alright too! We’re all different people, and I love that type of stuff! Most of the time, I guess I just do it for myself — because it’s fun.

  7. Wonderful duck photo!! I usually have a hard time to find a theme but now I have been stuck with mine for a long time, haven’t bothered to change. I like that name Toujours as well! 😀

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