Choosing Your WordPress LMS Theme

laptop-computerOne of the hardest decisions anyone makes when setting up their WordPress LMS is which theme to use.

With so many themes out there (many of which look fantastic), searching for the “best” one can become overwhelming.

What often happens is that people will choose one WordPress theme, then switch to another as they start to encounter an issue.

As they say, “the grass always seems greener on the other side”.

This “shiny object” syndrome runs wild in the WordPress industry and is easy to get caught up in it.

Nonetheless, theme selection is a critical component to any online course program so it is important to get it right the first time so as to avoid massive changes in the future.

Establish Criteria, Then Search

It’s so easy to jump to Google and begin looking for themes. Heck, it’s even pretty fun!

But not so productive.

Prior to theme hunting you would be best served by writing out the key characteristics you are looking for in your WordPress theme. This includes core features, but also other components.

This will help you make a practical decision rather than an emotional one.

For example, a feature requirement could be “BuddyPress support”, but another requirement may be “in business for at least three years”.

The BuddyPress requirement checks a box, while the business requirement is one piece of evidence that the company is still dedicated to their product and customers.

Also, here’s a tip: whenever you choose a theme always look at the changelog.

This will give you an idea of how often updates are being made. Don’t just look at the changelog of the theme you’re interested in, but look at the changelogs of all that author’s themes.

Do they give up on development and maintenance after releasing a new theme? If so, run the other way!

Once you get your preliminary list of must-have features for your WordPress LMS theme you can start your search. Stick to your core requirements and don’t get sucked into the fancy demonstrations or feature overload.

Remember, this theme is meant to enhance your learning content, not distract from it.

I have found that the best approach for theme selection is to keep it simple.

Find something that you know is properly coded and supported. Features can be added at a later date. Let the support and code quality be your foundation to build upon.

If you’re you have an online learning program but still are wondering about themes, send us a note and we can share a few that work well with LearnDash (and look pretty good too)!

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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