For WordPress users, the problem is not to find a very nice free theme. In fact, there are already more than 6000 available at WordPress alone. No. No. The difficulty lies in looking for and finding a theme that meets certain criteria without spending days or even weeks on it.

One day when I was looking for a theme to present photos in portrait format, here’s how I did it:

1. List the criteria to be met by this theme

  • It must be (for example)
    • Nice and elegant
    • Easy to use and easy to set up
    • Free and minimalist but complete
    • Suitable for portrait images
    • Compatible with Polylang extension (multi-lingual)
  • It must (for example)
    • Have a home page showing as many images as possible
    • Have a column (right or left) for a list of pages or categories or tag cloud etc.
    • Use featured page images as a presentation on the home page and in the article
    • Offer the choice of background color

2. Choose 5 to 10 themes to evaluate

  1. From your dashboard, go to Appearance – Theme and click Add
  2. Search themes by one or more keywords
  3. Review them
  4. Preview those you like
  5. If there is a demo, view it
  6. Finally download those for which you have a crush (5-10 max)

3. Evaluate them on an existing test site

This is the most interesting but also the most time consuming moment. This is the time when you will test one after the other, these 5 to 10 themes.

During this evaluation, note down your impressions as you go along, what you liked (+) and what you didn’t like (-).

Don’t hesitate to eliminate a theme if it doesn’t suit you. This does not mean that the theme is bad, but just that it is not appropriate today, in its present form.

4. List eliminated themes

It may seem absurd to keep the names of the themes evaluated. For my part, I don’t count the number of times I downloaded and re-downloaded a theme because I liked it and then I finally remembered that I had already tested it once and it still didn’t meet my criteria.

By keeping a list of the themes evaluated, you can save yourself time. Below are two examples with the information I keep.

 Name I did like
 I didn’t like

(child of BasePress)

  • Tested : 09.11.2017
  • Version : 1.1.3
  • Featured images, landscape very well presented
  • 3 pics in width on screenview
  • No number limited in height, on-the-fly unlimited
  • Possible to use only featured image on the front page. It is also displayed in the article in landscape format, full width
  • Header space too big
  • Landscape image only
  • Need more space for the image title
  • No footer

  • Tested: 09.11.2017
  • Version : 1.1.2
  • Choice of background color, font and secondary color
  • Displays the last 10 articles (images in front page) on the home page
  • Slider (choice of number of images) in 1st page – only landscape format)
  • Annoying animation of  title when the mouse is hovering over the title
  • Picture presented in landscape only
  • Displays in the article only the images included in the article
  • Displays the front page only featured image

5. There’s only one or two themes left.

Then get started and use one to create your site and test its limits. Isn’t that perfect? That’s normal! But you can still change along the way.

The important thing now is to create content and get started. Good luck with that.