Choosing a WordPress Theme for Your Website

Too many WordPress users choose a theme based on how it looks and not how it functions.  For instance, someone who wants to create a magazine may chose a theme that looks great, but is really meant for a photographer. Or a photographer might choose a beautiful theme that lacks any ecommerce capabilities and then find it harder to sell prints. The problem is if you want to create an online magazine, you probably need an easy way to organize stories into sections and subsections, but if you’re a photographer may be more interested in find out how to upload a folder full of images and quickly turn it into a slide show. I’ll show you how you can get these different kinds of features from different themes, or by adding plugins to themes.

The challenge is that until you study a theme behind the scenes, it can be hard to assess whether it will have all of the functionality you need. In my course, I’ll try to help you make that assessment by introducing you to the many different kinds of themes that are available and why you might choose one over another.

I also encourage you to take the time to plan what you want to put on your site and gather together the text, images, and other elements you’ll want to include in your site before you dive into Dreamweaver. In the beginning of the course, I’ll walk you through five steps to planning a site. It’s a key first step that too many web designer skip, but it’s important not only for organizing your thoughts and your message, it’s important because it can help you make a more informed decision when you choose a theme and plugins and start building your site.

The last thing you want to do is get halfway through building your site and then discover that the theme you chose won’t work. That can be a huge waste of time (and money), and one that can be avoided with a little planning. Start by taking the time to consider any special features you want, such as an ecommerce shopping cart or video, and make sure that the theme you choose is designed to handle that type of content and functionality.

In the course, I’ll show you the back-end features as well as the front end of a few different themes because not all themes offer the same features and options. Some themes include frameworks that make them easier to customize, some work better with plugins. As you explore themes, you want to consider how easy it is to change the colors, fonts, and other design elements. As a general rule, you either want a theme that is exactly the design you want from the start, or you want one that is easy to customize.


Janine Warner

Janine Warner's best-selling books and videos about the Internet have won her an international following and earned her speaking and consulting engagements around the world. Her skills as a “techy translator” helped her land the deal for her first book in 1996. Since then, she’s written or coauthored more than 25 books about the Internet, including Web Sites For Dummies, Mobile Web Design For Dummies, and every edition of Dreamweaver For Dummies. She’s also created more than 50 hours of training videos about web design and Internet marketing for leading online learning companies,, and KelbyTraining. She is the founder of, a full-service interactive design and training agency that offers web and mobile design, content strategy, and internet marketing services. Janine has taught courses at the University of Miami and the University of Southern California. She's also been a guest lecturer at more than 20 other universities in the U.S. and Latin America, and she helped create an Internet Literacy program for high school students in Central America. She is a member of the TV Academy's Interactive Media Peer Group and has served as a judge in the Interactive Emmy Awards, the Knight News Challenge, and the Arroba de Oro Latin American Internet Awards. Learn more at htt://