When you look for a theme on WordPress.org, there’s a bewildering array to choose from.
Fortunately, you can narrow the search with the feature filter.
Are you looking for a two column theme? Or one with footer widgets? Or one suitable for an e-commerce site? (Not sure what those terms mean? Read on.)
The feature filter helps you choose a suitable theme by displaying a more suitable set of themes that meet your requirements.
How do you use the WordPress.org theme feature filter?
On the WordPress.org theme directory, click on Feature Filter to access a list of terms to filter your theme search by.
Check the features you want. You can select as many as you like.
For multiple features, the search operates as an “AND” search i.e. you will see themes that match feature 1 and feature 2 and feature 3.
Click Apply Filter.
You’ll see the results of the filter.
To edit your selection, choose the Edit link.
You can add or change your terms, or use the Clear button to erase your filter.
The Search field will also let you help you find a theme by name or another term.
But what do all those features mean? Some are fairly obvious, and others less so.
Here’s a guide to help you make sense of them.
A grid layout is a web page layout set out in columns and rows.
The Glob theme has a grid layout.
One Column, Two Columns, Three Columns, Four Columns
This is where I think it gets a bit confusing. Does a sidebar (see below) count as a column? Some theme authors seem to think so, while others don’t.
Some themes fit in more than one category. The Rubine Lite theme fits in all four!
A sidebar is an area on a web page that’s not part of the main document but sits beside it. Sidebars in WordPress contain widgets which contain things like:
- Recent posts
- Recent comments
- Email signup forms
Left sidebars have traditionally been used for navigation. Twenty Fifteen theme does this.
Right sidebars are more common nowadays in the world of responsive (mobile-friendly) themes.
On a mobile phone, the content will load in a one-column layout, but right sidebar content will load after the main content.
Accessibility ready themes have been audited to have features that make them suitable to build an accessible site. Note that the site won’t be accessible unless all the content is!
Learn more about the features of accessibility ready themes.
Themes which are BuddyPress compatible. BuddyPress is a plugin used to build a community or social network.
The theme has a Customizer setting to change the background. This might be to set a background image or to change the colour.
Background image is defined differently by different themes. For some, the background will cover the entire content area. For others it will be an area behind the content.
Sapor theme supports a custom background image. It shows behind the content area and sidebar widgets.
The theme allows some customization of colours. The number and type of colours depends on the theme.
Speculor theme lets you change just two colours – Header text colour and background colour (in the screenshot, changed to pale blue.)
The theme has a header image which you can change in the WordPress Customizer.
Primer theme has this feature. As well as a header image you can set a header video.
The theme has a Customizer setting to add a logo.
You can set your own navigation: choose both the menu items and the menu location.
Applies styles defined by the theme author to the WordPress post editor. This might include the ability to use Google Fonts.
See this in effect on the BadJohnny theme. The Merriweather font is displayed in the editor and the Paragraph dropdown.
Featured Image Header
The featured image for each post or page will show in the header area.
Supports images set for each individual post – and sometimes page – of your site.
Read more about featured images.
Users can set the width and height of header images instead of having to crop them to a fixed size.
The theme has widget areas in the footer suitable for footer widgets – often up to 4.
Front Page Posting
This feature lets you post from the front page of your site.
Full Width Template
The theme supports a page template without a sidebar.
The full width template must be selected when editing a page. There’s a dropdown menu for templates. (NB – pages only!)
Here’s the full width template for Wellington theme.
Microformats are a way to make your web pages readable by more than just people. The idea is that you put special forms of HTML in your page, around the stuff you already have in your page. This special code lets other computers that happen to be looking at your page make some form of sense out of it.
Post formats represent different ways to display different types of post.
WP Beginner has a good explanation of post formats.
Fictive theme shows different small images above the post title depending on the post format.
RTL Language Support
The theme supports languages that read right to left, e.g. Arabic.
The theme allows a blog post to be made sticky i.e. pinned to the top of the blog page,
The theme has some customization options. WordPress has encouraged theme developers to use the WordPress Customizer for this.
A threaded comment follows on from a specific comment rather than going into the general list.
Bloggerz theme has this capability.
Themes which have been built to support multiple languages.
Here’s a great blog post on the subject of translation ready themes that goes into this topic in more depth.
A limited range of subsets of themes for different purposes.
The search function can be used for other objectives than those listed here. For example, a search for “nonprofit” brings up 7 themes.
As WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform you’d expect most themes to be optimised for displaying blog posts.
The only problem I had with applying this filter is that many of the themes that came up in my search didn’t look particularly like they were aimed at bloggers.
I suspect some skulduggery from the theme authors in over-zealously applying the Blog tag!
Themes built for online shops. Many of these will be described as WooCommmerce compatible or WooCommerce ready. WooCommerce is one of the leading e-commerce plugins for WordPress.
Metrostore is an example of a theme with an obvious “shop” layout.
Education themes are for schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions.
Rara Academic is an example.
Entertainment is a wide category which covers themes for:
Food & Drink
As the name suggests, this category covers restaurant, cafe, grocery, bakery and food blogger themes.
Cafe Bistro is an example of a food & drink theme.
Themes that are travel and accommodation related.
Resortica Lite is an example.
Themes for news and journalism sites.
Daily Insight is a news theme.
Themes which should showcase stunning photography.
Not one of the more useful filters in my opinion. I got many irrelevant results.
Nikkon is one of the better options.
Most professional photographers would opt for a premium photography theme, I suspect.
Portfolio themes are designed for creatives to show off samples of their work.
They could be used by any of the following:
- Web designers
Talon is a portfolio theme with a section on the homepage for portfolio items.
Over to you
Whew… you made it to the end.
- Have you used the WordPress.org theme feature filter?
- Did it help you find a suitable theme?
- Did you give up and visit Google?
Let me know in the comments.