8 Steps To Breaking Choice Paralysis When Choosing A WordPress Theme

Has choice paralysis gotten the best of you? Let me guess, you’re looking for the best theme for your new website but after spending DAYS researching and scouring the internet you’ve come up with way too many to count and now you don’t know what to do.

Today I’m going to help you break out of your choice paralysis with these 8 simple steps.

8 Steps To Breaking Choice Paralysis When Choosing A WordPress Theme

1. Set An Alarm

The most important part of this process if giving yourself a set time to do things. If you don’t set an alarm then you will let yourself search for forever and you will become stuck in an overwhelming loop of new themes. I usually recommend 5 hours for my clients. That doesn’t mean you have to search for the entire 5 hours, but that does mean you won’t let yourself search for any longer than that time. 1-3 hours is usually too short, you are just getting into the grove of figuring out what you even like and anything over 5 is just way too long. 5 hours give you a good 2-3 hours of actually searching in the niche that you like.

2. Create A Wholesale Dumping List

When you’re finding these themes, you’re not trying to do anything other than recognize themes you like and saving them for later. There is no need for an intense spreadsheet with pros and cons or any other details than the link back to the theme. All you need to do is create a Google Doc and list of ALL the themes that you find that you like. Wholesale dump them all there. Don’t second guess at this point, just remember, if you like it add it!

3. Take A Break

This is probably the MOST important part of this process. When your alarm goes off, take a break. Don’t look at any more themes, don’t let yourself look at other sites to see if you like their themes, honestly take a little digital break if possible. Your brain is fatigued. You’ve looked at a million and 1 themes. Your eyes are tired and you need to step away. Taking this time away will allow your brain to 1) forget everything you just looked at so that when you come back you’ll have fresh eyes and 2) will allow you to come out of the rabbit hole you’ve been deep in for the past 5 hours to maybe eat, interact with others, and get your body moving. I recommend taking at least 5 hours, if not longer before jumping back in. If you have the time, I would put off step 4 until tomorrow. If not, just make sure that you’ve given yourself adequate time to step away.

4. Open It All Up

How was your break? Feeling refreshed? Ready to hit the ground running? Brain fog cleared and ready to make decisions? Awesome!! This is a super basic step, but I’ve noticed that it has helped me and a lot of my clients and makes for an easier process during the next few steps. Open up your Google Doc in a new window (because honestly, if you’re anything like me, you have a MILLION tabs currently open in this one) and open each theme that you saved before in a new tab. You may feel overwhelmed with how many tabs are being opened – it’s fine! They won’t all be open for long. PROMISE!

5. Fresh Eyes

Once all the themes are open, go through each tab 1-by-1. Either close the tab or leave it open based on your INITIAL reaction. That’s the first 3 seconds. Don’t let yourself look at the theme for a long amount of time – just what’s your quick, gut reaction to the theme. Do you LOVE it? Leave it open. Hate it now? Close it FAST. Need some more time to think about it? CLOSE IT – if you don’t love it the second you see it, you don’t need to use that theme. This is the time to be RUTHLESS – if you don’t jump up and down when you see the theme – you don’t want to use it. If you don’t love your website when it’s complete, you won’t want to share it. That’s why it’s so important to be cutthroat at this point in the process.

Check-in time…

How are you feeling? Do you think you’re starting to break out of the choice paralysis loop? Awesome! Now it’s time for the last few steps!

6. Focus On Features

If you’re at step 6, that should mean that you have closed a BUNCH of the themes. Now it’s time to check out the actual features of the themes you have left. What does your site NEED? E-Commerce? If the theme doesn’t support it, close it! Is your site going to be blog-centric? Make sure the theme has the blog on the front page. Are you a photographer? Close any theme that isn’t image-heavy. Anything that you HAVE to have on your site should be supported by the theme that you’re choosing. If it’s not, be aware that you will have to work with a developer to ensure that the theme does everything that you need.

7. Recruit Help

If you’re not down to just 1 theme at this point, it’s time to reach out to 1 or 2 CLOSE people and ask their first initial reaction to the themes you have left. Don’t give them qualifying information like “Well if I change this…” or “If I customize that…” just let them share with you honestly. When choosing the people you’re going to share with – choose others in a similar industry. Sharing with a significant other/best friend/family member may seem like a good idea, but unless they understand your target market – they’re not going to give the best advice. If you’re part of a networking group or have some close colleagues I would recommend asking them first.

8. Celebrate

You’ve done it – you’ve gotten it down to ONE TAB OPEN! It’s time to celebrate! So purchase that theme, grab a glass of rose or your favorite snack, turn on your favorite JAM and have a mini party. You deserve it! You honestly just did one of the hardest parts of getting your new website up (or updated) and you are glowing!


P.S. Choice paralysis exists in other business decisions too – let’s say you’re choosing a business name or brand colors, or you’re trying to decide on a tool to use, this framework (with small changes) will help you SO much. Take it, remember it, use it, love it!


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