How Frequently Should You Change Your WordPress Theme?

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So how often should you change your WordPress theme? Every year or every other year. There are people who keeps changing their themes in every 6 months or so.

Daniel Socco has been publishing great content for 3+ years; the quality of the articles is always top notch but one thing I have noticed that DailyBlogTips has the same 3 column design since 2008.

And there are blogs like WPSquare, WPShout who keeps changing their design in every few months.

Making small design changes is one thing and completely changing the design is another. I do make small design changes from time to time like recently I added search box in the header and improved the footer part a bit.

I guess you have your own opinion on this topic and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Reasons to change your WordPress theme

Big sites like Tech Crunch and TheNextWeb change their designs in every 2 years or so.

Small or medium sized sites, changes the theme too often. Why? Because they like to follow what top guys are doing in the industry. Do you remember how everyone switched to Genesis theme, when Darren Rowse made the switch to Genesis!

Over the course of 2 years, I changed the design of this blog 3 times. The first design was just a premium theme from themeforest, than I had thesis with marketer’s design theme.

The current one is built on Genesis theme framework with custom child theme.

Few reasons to change your WordPress theme:

  • The theme is outdated or doesn’t support some of the newest features in WordPress.
  • Your current design is too old and looks visually outdated.
  • The framework or base script has not been updated in the years. If you’re using a theme framework like Thesis or Genesis, than it’s not going to happen anytime soon!
  • You are currently using a free theme and want to take your blog to next level by getting a premium theme.
  • You want to add new subscribe & call to action elements.

There are ton of reasons to change your WordPress theme, but it ultimately comes to you. You are the one who’s going to decide when to change the blog theme. Every time you change the WordPress theme, you should be improving the functionality of your website.

There’s no reason to change your theme, if it doesn’t improve or add any new functionality to your website.

Your Thoughts

Now, I invite you to share your opinion. What’s the perfect time to switch to another theme & how often do you change your WordPress theme? Please let us know in the comments below.

12 comments… add one
  1. Richard says

    Nice post-thanks.
    One of my New Years resolutions is to update my WordPress theme in the WordPress directory. Soon after making the theme I changed several parts (eg increased width, changed fonts, added header social icons etc) which improved it but that was around 2 years ago-time flies! In the WP directory my theme has the ugly warning”This theme has not been updated in over 2 years & may not be compatible with latest WordPress”.
    It seems to me that after making a theme you need to use it regularly yourself to find where improvements can be made and then it should be regularly reviewed & updated. I hope early 2013 will see me update my theme for the WP directory…

    • Devesh says

      Hi Richard,

      Glad you liked the post. Whenever I see a warning like that I try not to use the theme and I think a lot of people do the same. It would be great to see you updating your theme this year, Richard. Would you mind sharing the link?

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

      -Dev

  2. Kim Doyal - The WordPress Chick says

    Hi Devesh,

    Great post! I’m always surprised when I go to sites that still look like they’re stuck somewhere in the mid-90′s… not that it’s a dig at anyone, but WordPress makes it so easy to keep things fresh & current.

    I’ve been through 4 (or 5?) site re-designs since I launched my site in 08. First it was a custom site, then I found StudioPress and started with the Church theme, then moved to Magazine. Then Genesis came out. ;-)
    My last re-design was because I felt like I needed the site to ‘mature’ a bit (for lack of a better word) and I retired my ‘chick’.

    One benefit of updating a site design is it generates new interest & traffic. People are more than happy to give you their opinion if you ask. By posting colors, screenshots, new logo possibilities people become invested in the outcome (and you can run a contest for the ‘reveal’).

    Great points!

    • Devesh says

      Hi Kim,

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. There are ton of sites that still look same as they did in 2001. I think one should change their blog design in every 2 or 3 years.

      Sites like Mashable & The Next Web update their design in every 2-3 years, not just the design, but the “whole” functionality.

      One thing I have noticed when ever a big authority site updates the design, everyone starts doing the same.

      Just to let you know, I have been following your site for last few months and love the current theme. Looks clean and sharp.

      Totally agree with that one. When I updated the design of this blog, I got a few backlinks & traffic from some authority sites. This is just one of the many benefits of updating the site design.

      Thanks so much for coming over here and leaving a thoughtful comment, Kim. Have a great week ahead.

      P.S Congratulations on getting started with podcasting, Kim ;). I included that post in the recent community links roundup.

  3. Madonna Robinson says

    That’s something I never thought of, but it makes sense. It’s been hard enough for me to master one theme.

    • Devesh says

      Hi Madonna,

      May be this year, you should update your design. Every theme has same basic structure, so you just need to master one theme.

      Which theme you’re using currently?

  4. Carolyn says

    Hi Devesh, Very interesting. Last year I switched to Thesis and I am very delighted with them. Making changes to the look of my site is very easy with them. I am using a skin that I like too, Chronicl.

    Thesis upgraded in December but from what I’m reading it’s not quite ready yet for the general user. When it’s time to upgrade Thesis then it will be time to look for a new skin I guess.

    With the popularity of Pinterest now, the current design trend seems to be cleaner is better. I now find it jarring to arrive at sites cluttered with images and graphics. Your site is nice and clean, Devesh!

    • Devesh says

      Hey Carolyn,

      I was previously running on Thesis and really liked how easy it was to customize anything from the front-end.

      The latest version of thesis is still robust but the thing is that, it’s not ready for normal or every day users. You would need to spend at least a few hours to learn how Thesis 2.0 works.

      Thanks so much for the awesome words, Carolyn. I really appreciate your great support.

  5. mike1040 says

    Your article raises some timely questions for me. I’m thinking about a major upgrade from free to a premium theme. If you had to name two or three what would they be. If you can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated

    • Devesh says

      If you’re someone who don’t want to spend much time or money on the design, than I would say go with StudioPress Themes(aff. link).

      There are ton of premium themes available but it really depends on what type of blog you are running.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  6. Miroslav Glavic says

    One thing I don’t like, one of your sections above makes it look like premium themes are better and free themes are crap.

    Just because you pay for a theme or it has “premium” on it, doesn’t make it better.

    So many of the websites I manage, have free themes. So many of them, I went to their author’s websites and clicked the donate button. average donation is $85-$100.

    I am personally in the belief that it should be up to the client/consumer and not the theme author.

    If everyone is paying $50 for the theme, you won’t learn. Think Pay-what-it-is-worth.

  7. roscabgdn says

    i prefer the free ones, i can download and then customize them in the way i want.
    I could also pay for a premium theme and in couple of months the author will retire and the theme will get stuck.
    So, free themes if you like coding in wordpress and you want to learn something.
    About changing my wordpress themes… hmm lets say one wp theme at a year. By that i mean full change, because in a year i make a lot of changes

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