Best WordPress Themes – 7 Ways to Find One You Like

Posted in WordPress on May 15, 2014

Every day there are thousands of searches for the best WordPress ‘themes.’ Themes are templates that change the look and structure of a blog. The look of a blog is important to human visitors, and the structure is important to the software ‘spiders’ that search engines use to figure out what a site is about in order to index (record) it so people can find it.

Are some themes a lot better than others? Yes, absolutely. The designers of the best themes understand how the human brain processes visual material AND how search engine spiders view information. They are also easier to customize and less likely to have problems when you install any of the famous free ‘plugins’ that can be used to optimize a blog.

Before I list 7 ways to find great themes, here are 3 things to keep in mind:

1. As you search, think about the purpose of your blog. Will it simply be a way for you to share thoughts and ideas? Photos? Meet people who have something in common with you? Promote or sell products and services? By using ‘keywords’ that describe your needs when you do your searches, you can zero in on your best options. For example, if you want to sell or promote things, search engine optimization (SEO) is critical, so the keyword ‘SEO’ is a good keyword to search with.

2. If you like the look of a theme overall but don’t like the header (the graphic at the top that often includes the name of the blog), you can usually replace it with an image of your choice. Sometimes the designer will offer directions, but if not, you can write to them or do a search for ‘edit header graphic’ + the name of the theme.

3. Theme designers often provide instructions for how to change certain elements of the theme. If not, you can do a search for your theme’s name + edit to see if other bloggers have suggestions. If you aren’t a programmer, sometimes the directions can be confusing, but usually you’ll find someone who can talk newbies through the process clearly.

7 Ways to Find Great Themes

1. Visit WordPress.org and check out the Theme Directory. You’ll find many free options that have been reviewed by other users. The themes will likely still need to be edited, but sometimes the designer will offer how-to information on their site.

2. Type something like ‘best WordPress Themes’ plus other keywords that describe what you’re looking for – SEO, two-column, photos, etc – into your favorite search engine. The best sites will offer unbiased reviews of free and purchasable options.

3. If you like the look of Kubrick, the default theme that comes with WordPress, you can customize it by adding your own header graphic and editing other elements. How? In your favorite search engine type ‘kubrick theme + edit’ to find tutorials. I did this with one of my blogs for a while. However, I found it to be a lot of work to get what I wanted. It turns out that Kubrick is notorious for it’s limitations, but don’t let that stop you if you really like it.

4. If you’re a programmer, build what you like from scratch. Simply search online for tutorials.

5. Hire a web designer. A good designer will do their best to give you the look you want, teach you how to customize, and perhaps offer updates at a lower rate. But this can be a very expensive option, one that the average blogger can’t afford. It’s also important to remember that hiring a designer won’t completely save you from learning the technical side of blogging, unless you hire someone to write your posts, too.

6. If you find a blog that you like the look of, scroll to the bottom of the home page to see if there is information about the theme or the design company the blog owner may have hired. If you can’t find that information, write to the blog owner to ask.

7. Invest in good theme software, which is sometimes referred to as a ‘premium theme.’ There are respected, flexible, reasonably priced programs that will simplify the theme creation and editing process tremendously. When you change your blog using theme software, you’re less likely to mess up critical blog settings because your new theme will have a similar underlying structure. Often you get free lifetime updates, so whenever WordPress is updated, you won’t encounter conflicts. You’ll also have technical support if anything goes wrong. This is an advantage over many of the free options because designers who offer free themes aren’t always easy to reach, and the themes they create are less likely to be as flexible and customizable as what good software can provide.

By Lillea Woodlyns

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