Although there are zillions of available WordPress themes, when you are looking for the one you often end up empty-handed and nervous because you were attached to your laptop for hours and still nothing caught your attention.

Maybe you are just doing it wrong – when you go on a theme hunt, you must have a plan.

When you are shopping for clothes, it’s easier when you know exactly what you need, because you will be more effective, right? Or guys, when you are buying a new car, you probably know in detail what you need: a family car, a van, sports car…

It’s the same with WordPress themes actually.

Avoid multipurpose themes, even when you are out of ideas

I always thought multipurpose was the way to go, because you can use the theme for anything: after all it is multipurpose. In the past few months, I have drastically changed my point of view, not just because ProteusThemes is developing niched themes, but because I had quite a challenge with one of the best-selling multipurpose themes myself – which is a long story for another time.

Anyway, this article is not about discrediting multipurpose themes and their authors, but to give you some quick and useful advice on how to find the right theme for you. When you do, you will literally set up and run your website in 30 minutes, otherwise … well, it could take days or even weeks.

To buy or not to buy? Free or premium WordPress themes?

I’m sure you can find some great free WordPress themes but I’d like to emphasize that when your main goal is the professional presentation of your business (including blogging for money) or a fully functional e-shop, you should always go with a premium theme. Why? Because you can rely on their support, updates and good documentation, at least in most cases (and check the terms and conditions before you buy anything!). Moreover, the design will somehow be more unique compared to free themes and you really don’t want to be mixed up with your competition 🙂 The code will usually be well written and you won’t have problems with any additional plugins. At least it should be like that. And with premium themes you can customize a lot of things, without any knowledge of coding or design, although I kindly recommend that for any bigger changes you hire a good web designer and developer. They know their job, so trust them.

The only con you can get with a premium theme is along with the great design, updates and (free) support you may get a load of unwanted items, such as plugins, sliders and shortcodes that you will never ever use in a million years. Not only can these features slow your website down, but it’s never OK to have too many options; this is a scientific fact 🙂 In the end, you will have problems making a decision: should I use this or that, but hey, I could use this slider instead of that… A total waste of your time and it could result in complete chaos.

To avoid this you need to look deeper and always search for premium themes that are somehow related to your purpose, business or industry.

Before you buy a theme, ask yourself…

1. What kind of business do you want to put online?

Is this a hair salon or a car repair workshop? Maybe it’s an online shop selling healthy food? These business have different purposes, audiences and needs. That’s why they need different features, specialized for their field.

2. Why do you need a website?

Are you looking for something that will give you a good online presence, something like a CV or portfolio? Or does your business need a corporate website?

Let’s go back to our car example: you don’t need a Hummer if you only need a car when you go shopping for food, right?

3. Who is your target market?

And by that I mean thoroughly knowing everything about your target audience.

You know for sure that you website is meant for your audience and not for you, but do you know your target audience? How old are they? What are their preferences and hobbies? How will they benefit from shopping at your place? Your website must be made for your target audience. That’s why you need to put their needs and expectations in front of yours.

You won’t sell a brand new sports car as a family car, right? Families have different needs from young fans of Fast & Furious.

Only when you have answered these three questions honestly, will it be time for theme hunting. Suddenly you will notice that the repertoire of a few thousand themes has been narrowed down to a few dozen or less. The choice is now easier, isn’t it?

So, if I have to narrow this post down to three tips, I would say that when you are buying a WordPress theme…

Choose something that is closely related to your industry and purpose.
Don’t look for themes with lots of features. You probably won’t need half of them.
Make sure you know your main goals. It will be easier to achieve the final result.

And these are basically all the main secrets you need to know!

Do you agree or disagree? What are your tips and tricks when buying a WordPress theme?

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About the Author
After I graduated in Comparative Literature I decided it's time to go with more useful stuff. And what's better than WordPress? When I'm not on-line I'm probably sewing another pair of jeans, walking my dog or eating chocolate.