The Standard website uses the GeneratePress theme and the GeneratePress Premium plugin, but I’ve built the homepage using just core WordPress blocks and the free versions of the GenerateBlocks and Kadence Blocks plugins.
There are a couple of different approaches to choosing a WordPress theme:
- Try to find a theme that looks just how you want it straight out of the box (or with a few small tweaks). Then just add your own text and images
- Choose a plain looking, but flexible, theme as a starting point and customise it to look just as you want it to.
I favour the 2nd approach, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
NOTE: This article was originally written in May 2018. Since then, all the themes I looked at have continued to develop, and the new WordPress block editor has been introduced. I’ve added updates throughout the article when I’m aware of them, but these tend to relate to the GeneratePress theme as it’s the one I use myself. That makes this discussion quite biased towards GeneratePress. I continued to update this article until the end of 2020 but now I am working on a new article about building a website with GeneratePress and I would suggest you refer to that instead: ‘Building My “Standard” Demo Site’.
This article lists the steps I take when setting up a WordPress website. I’ve included links to some of the plugins I use, and to helpful articles with more comprehensive instructions. I’m not claiming this is all necessarily best practice, but it’s what I do.
I have also written an article titled ‘Building My “Standard” Demo Site‘ to explain how I’ve built a website using the GeneratePress theme.
UPDATE: This article was written before the release of the WordPress block editor (a.k.a. Gutenberg). I have written a new blog post using the block editor.
Page Builders have become so popular that sometimes new WordPress users get the impression that they are expected to use one. My own view is that it’s best to keep things simple and use a page builder only if you have a need for it.