Creating a website or blog used to require advanced knowledge of HTML. But thanks to sites like WordPress, Blogger, and other content management systems, creating a website today takes just a few clicks. You can even get it published for free in most cases.
All blogs come with a default theme. The one for WordPress is a very neutral, calming grey with a blue header. You would be surprised at how many people never update their theme from the pleasant (yet really bland) default option!
Websites Are Like Internet Billboards
Milton Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, once said, “Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.” This is especially true when designing your website, whether it is a blog fueled by WordPress or some other content management system.
What is your website but a way to advertise yourself in today’s digital age? You wouldn’t take out space on a giant billboard and display only your company name and telephone number. And you shouldn’t do the same on your website, either.
Your website is like a billboard on the information superhighway, waiting for people to find it. But once they find it you don’t want them to drive on by, uninterested in what they see! Fortunately changing your theme is quick and easy.
Regardless if you use WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, Joomla, Drupal, or some other platform, there are some universal points to consider before selecting the first attractive theme that you see. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one for your site.
QUALITY – The theme you find might look good in the thumbnail preview, but once you put it on your site it could look completely different. Check for a preview function that lets you test out the quality at full-screen size.
FREE? MAYBE NOT! – There are so many free themes available for your website, but not all free downloads are legitimate. Do a quick Google search for the name of the theme, and make sure there are no licenses or copyrights associated with it.
LICENSES – Some licenses allow you to use the theme free of charge without making any modifications. However other themes allow you to make all the modifications you want! Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
LAYOUT – Just because the layout looks good on your oversized, flat screen computer monitor does not mean that it will show up well on an iPad, laptop, or smaller desktop monitor. When choosing a layout, select what works best for a wide range of audience members.
DESIGN – The design of the theme is more than how it appears to the naked eye. All the components should flow well together including the color, layout, multi and single post views, navigation, and any other details.
NO ORPHANS – If the theme you choose is an orphan, meaning that no one currently maintains it. Unless you can maintain and customize the theme yourself, you will need those valuable updates provided by whoever provides the theme.
WHOLE PACKAGE – If the theme you have found lacks an important component, requiring you to turn to other sources to download extra parts or configurations, then this is not the theme for you. The theme you download should offer the whole package.
The Best Resources for Great Website Themes
Believe it or not, the best resources I have found for great themes have been other bloggers like me. When they find themes they like for their own sites, they turn to their blogs where they recommend them to readers like you.
Blogs allow not only allow webmasters to recommend the themes they like, but they also allow you to see examples of the themes both on their own websites and with larger screenshots than a thumbnail alone would provide.
Another great resource for the best themes for your website is a theme club. Clubs are a great option for designers that need access to a good number of themes for clients, but anybody can obtain a theme club membership for access to great themes.
If all else fails and you are still at a loss of where to find a great theme, consider buying an existing theme from a designer on an online merchant site like Etsy. Another option is to outsource the job of building a theme from scratch, in which case you can hire a freelancer from a site like Elance.
About the Author
Freelance writer and internet marketer Rick Mercado believes that good research leads to great articles, which is why he uses sites like http://ownasite.com/ when writing about all things WordPress related. In his spare time, Rick enjoys getting outdoors where he explores his native Canada’s rugged eastern coast by kayaking or hiking.