How to Choose Templates in WordPress? 3 Truths that Nobody Tells You

When selecting a theme for WordPress there are several features that we must keep in mind to assess whether it is a template that meets the rules of WordPress or if instead behind a spectacular design we have a mix of poorly structured code.

As a starting point, keep in mind that the mission of a WordPress theme should be to manage the appearanceand design of a site,allowing the other options and functionality of WordPress to have a life on their own and not to turn your site into a slave of a theme or store templates. Let’s look at some of these points.

A WordPress theme should not invade the plugin territory

As we were saying, a WordPress theme should focus on managing the site design allowing one of the options that has turned WordPress into one of the most used and flexible CMS: theme switching.

This functionality allows in a click to change the theme without losing our contents, menus and general settings. But for this to be possible, WordPress themes must meet an indispensable requirement, not to invade the plugin territory.

Let us give an example. After installing your brand new template, you set up a slider on the cover, you add a portfolio section with your best works, and to write the content you use some interesting short codes to display the texts in two columns.

But time passes and design trends change. We are decided to change the theme, but we realize that the slider has disappeared, all texts and images in the portfolio section are gone and the columns generated by the shortcodes have disappeared. Where did all that content go?

What has happened here is a clear case of territory plugin invasion. All the options that are outside the related to the design must be managed by plugins so that the contents and configurations are always maintained regardless of the theme that is being used.

Therefore, instead of looking for themes that include options that we want, it is best to look for compatibility with the plugins we want to use, for example compatible themes for WooCommerce, the favourite plugin to create e-commerce projects with WordPress.


Therefore, the following options are considered as invasion of the plugin territory and should not be included in any theme:

– Analytics Scripts
SEO settings options (meta titles, meta descriptions…)
– Social sharing buttons and options
– Shortcodes for use within the contents of posts and articles.
– Custom Post Types
– Custom Taxonomies
– Modification or elimination of functions of the WordPress core that are not tied to the appearance
– Compression and Cache Options
– Elimination of the administration bar

Locating and translating a WordPress theme

WordPress themes are designed in Englishby default. However, if done correctly and taking care of location options, it can be translated into any language.

It is true that WordPress themes do not usually incorporate much text in the front end, but strings such as “Search” or error page “404”drink directly from the files and texts of the theme, so if they are not translated, it will be a little strange to have the site completely in Spanish and a “Search” instead of a “Buscar” in the search widget.


In order for this to not happen, templates for WordPress must be translation-ready and include the .pot files to have a base on which to translate the text strings they have. For the user it will only be necessary to use a translation program like Poedit or to perform the translations directly in the administration panel of WordPress with a plugin.

You know, if your site is not in English, you should look for themes that are translation-ready or prepared for translation. This has nothing to do with having a multilingual site, since as we said before the contents are managed by WordPress and not by the theme (although the text strings of the theme would be good to have them translated.)


WordPress templates that allow child themes

The child themes are one of the most powerful options of WordPress, as they allow to modify and customize the design and basic functions of a WordPress theme without needing to touch the parent theme, so you can keep updating the WordPress theme to be except for vulnerabilities without losing the modifications made.

In fact, it is one of the recommended ways to modify CSS in WordPress, since we simply need to create that child theme and copy the CSS modifications in the style.css file. For this we can help the inspector of our browser and follow these good practises when writing CSS.

Therefore, if we plan to have some future personalization it is good that we look for a WordPress theme that allows the use of child themes. To achieve this, theme developers must have followed basic settings to allow child theme options to override parent theme options.


Therefore, each and every function of the parent theme must be encompassed in a conditional that first checks if that function is already declared in the child theme, so that it is simple to overwrite it:

if ( ! function_exists( 'funcion_sobrescribible' ) ) {
function funcion_sobrescribible() {
// código de la función

Conclusion: more design and less options

WordPress themes should focus and work the web design with a clean code, instead of becoming a trunk container of hundreds of functions, plugins and shortcodes that make the user become a slave of that theme.

If you use a theme of this type and you want to stop using it for some reason (out of trend design, security vulnerabilities, not compatible with the new version of WordPress…) you should be aware that you will most likely lose content and therefore hours of Work and effort.

Think, analyse and choose well not only thinking about the short term, but also in the medium term and the previous cases. And remember, the success of your site depends fundamentally on its content. Without it, design has no value.

I hope you find these tips useful.

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