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Thread: WordPress and how to choose a theme

  1. #1
    Member Needs New Keyboard Array jamesray50's Avatar
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    Default WordPress and how to choose a theme

    I have been looking at the themes available for WP. Someone sent me a link and there are so many to choose from with several different features. I don't know what to look for in choosing a theme. Any guidance?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    There are a lot of possibilities out there.
    I'll tell you that my personal and professional preference is not to use free themes outside of anywhere that you don't know as trustworthy. The Wordpress themes repository on Wordpress.org has free themes without any junk in them.

    Free themes can be coded improperly, or contain footer or hidden links to other websites as part of the deal for using the theme for free.

    You shop for a theme just like anything else. What do you like? and How do you want it to look? Some themes will give you a ton of customization options to add things like your own logo, change colors and so on. If you aren't very comfortable cracking open files to code your own changes, you want to look for something that is pretty much what you want out of the box.

    Look for the layout that you like. Functions like contact forms, SEO plug ins, Testimonials widgets, and everything else under the sun are mostly available in a simple plug in...so if you find something you like and it doesn't have certain functions, you will likely be able to install and configure them anyway.

    When you are looking, you will see theme demos that look great and have lots of image areas. Just remember that you will need to have images to fill those areas, and it should be integral to the presentation of your services.
    For instance, you don't need a Magazine style theme if you don't plan on writing a one.

    It helps to look around and see what you like on other websites and then browse looking for a similar layout or features.
    That's a hard question to answer specifically without knowing what it is you want.

  3. #3
    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    There are a lot of themes aren't there? It does make it hard to choose. Like Harold I think on average commercial (premium) themes are usually the better option. Most aren't too expensive (less than $100) and then tend to be coded better because they're charging a fee.

    However I'd suggest simply choosing one you like. Know that your theme can always be changed later and there are plenty of people who can customize any theme you decide to use. Since using WordPress and blogging in general is somewhat new to you, you're going to have a better idea what you want a few months from now than you do now. Don't wait to get that better idea to get started. Pick a theme that seems good and give it a try. If you find in two months it's not doing what you need you'll at least know what to look for in a theme and can more easily find one. You should also be able to add new functionality through plugins so even if a theme you like can't do one thing it can probably be made to do that thing through a plugin.

    What I would suggest is making sure your blog design matches the look of the rest of your site. If you're going to use WordPress to run the whole site that won't be an issue. If WordPress is only going to run the blog then you may want to have someone customize whatever theme you choose. It doesn't have to look exactly like the rest of your site, but people clicking from one to the other should realize they're still in the same place.
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  4. #4
    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    If you are going to use Wordpress. Here is an example of what you can expect to go through mentally relatively quickly. It's like a 5 stages kind of thing:

    Stage 1: Aw man! This looks complicated. I'm never going to learn this
    Stage 2: OK, I'm starting to understand. This isn't so bad.
    Stage 3: OMG ! This is the best thing I have ever seen! What else does it do?
    Stage 4: Wow, I'm running 35 plug ins. There are so many designs and functions..I want them all.
    Stage 5: OK, let's streamline this thing and get to work. I am very happy that I decided to use this.

    It takes some time to go from Stage 4 to Stage 5, because there are soooo many functions that you can add. Some are redundant. Some are cool, but really have no purpose. and some you will depend on more than you should. But I think that if rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself is how you are...I think that you will be very satisfied.

  5. #5
    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    When I go with free themes I tend to go with the ones at Wordpress.org. There are a lot of choices and I'm confident they'll work well. I also tend to chose based on the theme of the blog or site. If you're doing a business site, you probably don't want a frilly theme, unless your business is related in some way to an event or product for which a frilly theme would be applicable. It also depends on the function. If your site is mostly pictures, you'll want a theme that works with pictures. I usually narrow it down to three or four and then ask for opinions.

    If I'm purchasing a theme, I pick the ones I like and then send them to Vangogh, and he tells me which ones will work and which won't. He understands the coding much better than I do.

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