Choosing a WordPress Theme? Start Here

When creating a WordPress website for a business, one of the first steps is to choose a free, purchased, or custom theme (aka template). A WordPress theme is the basic structure, layout, and functions of your site. The selected theme will affect the site’s functionality, appearance, flexibility, security, ease of use, and speed.

In our experience building and updating WordPress websites, custom themes are the best option for most businesses interested in a WordPress site.

Why Choose a CUSTOM Theme

When we build WordPress sites, we only use custom themes because they make the site “lightweight”. This means the site will be fast and uncomplicated to update and use, easy to customize, and easy to add features. Custom themes enable us to marry technology, design, and control of content:

  • Apply the needed technology and programming for the website to run well
  • Build the site to scale for growth and changing needs
  • Incorporate specific design preferences and branding requirements

While free and purchased themes may work well for some websites, we have found distinct disadvantages to them. Free themes can have security vulnerabilities and increase the chances of the website getting hacked. Purchased, pre-set themes may include non-removable features you do not want, which can cause the site to be “bloated” and run slowly. These themes can limit functionality and design, complicate updating, and restrict adding features down the road.

The Medium Well is a blog run by Harris Web Works, a full service digital agency located in New Haven, CT, USA. Harris Web Works builds and manages custom websites in WordPress, for a wide range of business sizes and types. Learn more about our WordPress services. 

Premium and Basic Themes

Premium themes offer advantages over free themes, such as:

  • While premium themes aren’t free, their low cost is still well worth their greater and more unique designs, which will help your site stand out and make a better first impression.
  • Their designs have been put through a number of tests by reputable firms and their customers, so you know most common issues have been found and fixed.
  • These themes are often more secure than free themes, and as we talked about in WordPress E-commerce Plugins, WordPress security is a bigger issue than many realize.
  • In case anything goes wrong or you have theme-specific questions, the design firm is there to offer support and answers for their themes.

If you’re looking for a pre-made premium theme, here are some galleries offering them:

www.studiopress.com/themes
www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/
themify.me/themes
graphpaperpress.com/
www.wpzoom.com/themes/
themetrust.com/themes
www.organicthemes.com/theme-collection/
mintthemes.com/themes/
www.woothemes.com/themes/
www.organizedthemes.com/themes/
colorlabsproject.com/themes/
www.frogsthemes.com/wordpress-themes
press75.com/
themeforest.net/
themeshift.com/themes/
www.mojo-themes.com/
themefit.com/responsive-wordpress-themes/
www.solostream.com/

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About The Author

Matthew Harris

Matthew began designing and building websites in 1995, and has since grown Harris Web Works (formerly Medium Well) into a full-service online marketing provider. He continuously adds expertise to become proficient in the evolving world of e-commerce, digital marketing, search engine optimization, mobile web, and more. Client work includes large corporate websites to comprehensive, customized services for small-to-medium sized businesses. He has worked as a designer, programmer, marketer and project manager. Matt is on the Board of Directors of Search Engine Marketing New England (SEMNE), and is a partner at Digital Media Sync in New Haven, CT.