Using WordPress Themes

What you should know before moving your WordPress website

Just Starting Out

The word Patience springs to mind. You have just had a fresh install of WordPress and you are eager to get started. You want your website to be out there as soon as possible. That’s perfectly understandable but beware. Please don’t just click on the ‘Add New’ button when selecting a theme. There are a few things you should know before you just dive in.

So have you heard about Gutenberg? Pardon the pun, but it’s the ‘new boy on the block’. WordPress used to provide you with just a plain Text Editor which was great for adding paragraphs, images, links and so forth. After that came the more interesting and stylish block system called Gutenberg. It would serve you well to learn more about Gutenberg here. When you’ve had a look at Gutenberg pop over to YouTube and see how easy it is to use.

You can still use the old Text Editor if you prefer. However, you’ll probably find that you won’t need to, given the added bonuses of using the new block system.

This website uses a very basic theme with absolutely no frills and all the pages and posts are built using Gutenberg blocks.

Do I Need To Use A Theme?

The short answer to this is yes. For the moment the way the WordPress core is set up, it requires you to use a theme. The theme obviously provides you with some styling to make your website.

If it’s possible to set up a mock website on your local computer using something like Laragon or Local by Flywheel this is a great way to test not only your theme but your plugins too. You need to make sure that your plugins work well with your chosen theme.
Something to look out for is the simplicity of a theme. Many themes come with lots and bells and whistles but you have to ask yourself is that really necessary. The more there is on a theme then the more there is to go wrong.

Another aspect of themes is to consider future-proofing. For the moment you may only want to have a few pages on your website. However, you may have bigger plans for later, like selling your products/services online. If that’s the case then make sure your theme can cope with that.

If you go through the WordPress Admin to install your theme you will find a small amount of detail and have a chance to see a preview. The preview, however, doesn’t always do it justice. If you search for the theme that you are interested in using Google you are very often likely to find a live demo of the theme. Always check out the live demo if there’s is one available. This way you get an insight on the look and feel of the theme before you decide to go for it.

Cost should be a factor too. Whilst there are many free themes to choose from, you should also consider the option of purchasing a theme. Just like plugins, you will often have the choice to go with the functionality of a free version. Or chose to pay for added functionality.
Also, check out browser compatibility. Test the pages load correctly on as many browsers as possible. Then check it out on as many devices as you can.

If you are planning on going international you may want to have pages on your website translated into other languages. If this is the case then you should make sure that your theme is multilingual ready.

Additionally, you should be guided by the Ratings and Reviews available on your intended theme. If there are no ratings available then it might be an idea to reconsider.

So when choosing a theme be aware of the following to make sure that everything works for you in a positive way.

  • My theme is compatible with Gutenberg
  • It’s also compatible with the version of WordPress I’m using
  • My theme is responsive
  • My theme provides guidance on how to use and install it
  • The plugins I want to use work well with my theme

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