Choosing the best WordPress theme for your blog can be overwhelming.
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, so how do you select the one that is best for you?
Focus on Customization
I’ve started a number of sites and helped other people get started as bloggers/webmasters as well. One common mistake (that I sometimes make too) is to pick a theme based on the demo.
Theme demos are great because you can explore the site and see exactly how it will look on yours.
Or will it?
The critical part to selecting a theme is not to judge it by it’s current design, but by it’s potential. Most themes, even free ones, have a huge amount of options for customization which means it may look entirely different once you’re done with it. For example, check out the live demo for a WordPress theme called Simplism by Elegant Themes.
A blogger might look at that and think it would never be a good theme for a blog because straight out of the box, it isn’t. However, take a look at my site and how I use it. As you can see, the layout is entirely different and it’s now fit for a blog.
This is why it’s so critical that you look at a theme not as-is, but rather as it could be.
The More WordPress Theme Customization the Better
So if customization is king when it comes to themes, how should this affect your decision?
Choose the theme that has the most options for customization, so you know you’ll be able to tweak it to be the blog of your dreams.
Of course, you might love a theme the way it comes, and that’s great too because it’s less time you need to spend fixing it up to match your needs/wants.
The other factor to consider is that you will want to make changes in the future. As you learn more about site design, blogging, and conversion rate optimization, you will likely want to change some aspects of your blog and move some parts around. Not to mention, your personal taste may change too.
A site with more options for customization will allow your blog to grow with you.
Do I have to Pay for a great WordPress Theme?
No, you don’t have to pay for a theme. That being said, the paid options usually offer many more options for changing the look of your site, and offer easier ways to do it.
In my opinion, the best four providers of premium WordPress themes are Elegant Themes, StudioPress, Thesis (which is the theme Ms. Ileane uses here on BBT), and Woo Themes.
There are many exceptional free themes as well, but you need to be careful when downloading them.
I would recommend only downloading free themes that you find internally through WordPress. If you conduct a Google search to find a free WordPress theme and download one off the web, there is a chance that it may have malicious code in it which can result in a lot of problems for you and your site.
Take my advice, don’t go down that route!
You may want a premium theme, but just not right away. A customizable and easy to use free theme is PageLines. I use the free version on a site of mine right now and it’s doing the job just fine. I may upgrade or switch to another theme in the future when the site starts to bring in some income.
When it comes to choosing a great WordPress theme, don’t judge a book by the cover.