There are so many theme options in the world, from custom to customizable to plug + play. But what makes any of them a good WordPress theme? It depends… on your needs + goals. However, everyone using WordPress for their website would benefit from having help along the way. And that help can come in the form of documentation.
Even if you have a developer on speed dial for your site, documentation can help your team with the areas of the site that they frequently access. There could be custom features of your site that impact adding new blog posts each week, or the syncing of podcast platforms with WordPress, or editing your team members as your team grows.
And if you’re a DIY kind of site owner, documentation will help you uncover things you might not know your theme is capable of. A good WordPress theme would have documentation showing how to set up footer widgets that work for your business, or changing font styles, or adding your preferred contact information.
Good WordPress theme documentation types
So what exactly is documentation? It’s a nerdy term for more information that usually lives outside of the website. Another nerdy term would be a knowledge base, in case you see that listed for your theme too. The bigger question of is this a good WordPress theme is what type of documentation do you need.
Any visual learners will look for video tutorials, Loom walk-throughs, or screenshot images of the components of your site. If the idea of having a step-by-step list of instructions makes you giddy, look for PDFs or written documentation to refer to.
The documentation doesn’t always have to come from the theme creator either. While most popular themes will have some sort of helpful information, you may find resources from others on YouTube or Pinterest. The more areas you can get help, the better. It also could mean that your site will look similar to other sites using that same theme.
Where to find your theme documentation
Looking for documentation for your current WordPress theme? Start in the backend of your website. I personally throw a “Theme Help” link at the top of all custom themes that I code. That link routes to a Google doc that the client can edit with more information as they use + learn the site.
The theme creator might also put a link within the Appearance > Themes area where you select your current active theme. And if your theme adds a menu item to the left side of your dashboard, that’s a great place to click. Divi or Astra users will be familiar with this.
If you don’t see a theme info link in the top admin bar or left-hand menu, there are 2 other places I’d recommend. Start with the site that you purchased or downloaded the theme from. Again, Divi users have a full documentation area of the Elegant Themes website. The documentation link might live in the header, or more likely the footer. Still not finding anything? Search your theme title + the word documentation in Google.
Other helpful details
There are so many great themes available in all price ranges. From free to tens of thousands of dollars. Having documentation isn’t the only thing that makes it the right choice for you. If you need help picking a good WordPress theme, start with writing down your website must haves. Start researching the options from there.