Choosing the Right Theme for Your WordPress Site
The right theme could mean everything for your new or existing WordPress site. The theme, among other things, helps to create the foundation of a quality blog; one that people want to read and trust that the content is providing them with the best information on a particular topic.
Choosing a theme for your blog doesn't seem like it should be too difficult. It should be as simple as finding something you like, installing it and moving on. But it's not really that simple if you want to choose the best theme for your blog. If you want your site to give your visitors the best possible experience, then you are going to have to take some things into consideration before you go ahead and upload a theme.
The Type of Blog
Before even looking through a large catalog of themes for the one that catches your eye it is important to determine what type of blog you will be running. Some blogs are set up to be a news style site; others exist to support (and run) an ecommerce shop. Perhaps the blog will serve as a portfolio site for a creative freelancer or maybe WordPress will be used to display a traditional company website. The purpose of the site will definitely have some influence over what type of theme you select as some are designed specifically for the different uses for WordPress. Many template shops will categorize their themes according to the purpose of the site. Choosing one that coincides with your site's intent will make customization, and displaying content properly, much easier.
The Communication Template from TemplateMonster provides a slider to show off projects.
Is It Mobile Friendly?
According to Google, 75 percent of users prefer a mobile friendly website. Take this to mean that not only do visitors expect a site to be accessible on a mobile device, but Google does as well.
WordPress, like any other site, has two options when it comes to mobile friendly design. One is to offer up a mobile version of the site. When a visitor lands on the site using a smartphone or tablet the server is made aware of this from the browser request. Instead of displaying the large site, the smaller mobile version is fetched and displayed to the visitor.
Another way to give mobile visitors a great experience is to use a responsive theme. This type of design is built on a grid system that will adjust the way the site is displayed to the screen size of the viewing device.
The 7 Level WordPress Theme shows off how it looks on mobile devices.
Your Skill as a Designer
The final consideration when it comes to selecting a theme should be your skill as a designer. No one wants to use a theme as is since they will run the risk of looking like thousands of other sites out there. Making the site unique shows visitors that you are serious about what you are doing and not throwing content up on the web that provides little value.
Some themes are not built with easy customization features and come with little support. For someone experienced in WordPress, CSS and PHP this might not pose much of an issue. For a beginner, a theme like this will likely make branding and customizing the look of the site almost impossible.
Because WordPress appeals to beginners and experts alike, most reputable theme developers will offer themes that a user can easily customize; more so than just adding a logo or changing the colors. Some themes allow users to choose between layouts, widgets and a number of other options that will make the site unique in its appearance.
The other option for a WordPress site is to create a theme from scratch. It is not impossible, and many experienced developers do just that. They do, however, often start with a theme that they like and create a child theme from that foundation. This too offers the owner a great way to build a great looking site that is easy to navigate and built on an existing template to save time in the development process.
6 Easy Steps to Choose the Right WordPress Theme
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff is the web content developer for PhishMe, a security training and awareness company. He frequently writes about design, blogging and WordPress. You can follow him on Twitter @jeorl