Perfect WordPress Theme: Select The Right One For Your Blog
When I first started blogging I was easily dazzled by all the pretty WordPress themes I found all over the Web and I’d spend hours at a time surfing for just the right one. I can’t tell you how many of those free themes I tried during my first year of blogging, but trust me, I learned several lessons the hard way. Let me save you some heartache. Follow these tips to choose the perfect WordPress theme for your blog.
Make sure it’s up to date
Type “free wordpress themes” into your search engine and you’ll find over 64 million results dating back to the dawn of time. Before you download any theme, look to see what version of WordPress it is. Generally, if you’re looking at Premium themes, this won’t be a problem. But some of the free themes have been floating around the web for years.
Look for support
If you’re a new blogger and you don’t know anything about coding or the inner workings of themes, look to see if there’s a support site you can contact if you need help. Personally, I’m not much of a coder myself, but I’m also not afraid to try, so I’ve always had good luck finding the answers I need just using a Google search. But that might not be enough for you.
Look at the demo
Most sites who offer free theme downloads also have a demo site set up so you can see how it looks up and running. Always check it out. That little screen shot never really does it justice. You’d be wise to check it out in several browsers while you’re at it. Older themes might not have been updated.
There are something like 120 different browsers out there, and that doesn’t include mobile devices, so it’s important to check browser compatibility. Most theme designers will include a list of browser the theme is compatible with. If not, you can run a check on the demo across the most popular, including Chrome and Firefox.
I learned a lot about customizing my own blog during that first year and now it’s not even one of my main concerns when I’m looking at a theme because I know enough to change anything I want to myself. So, if you have the time, I highly recommend setting up a blog on a sub-domain so you have someplace to play and learn about customization without messing up your main blog.
Everybody wants to customize at least the header so they can include their own blog name and logo. If this is the extent of your skills, look for a theme that has a clean, definite header that you can easily replace. In other words, you don’t want a header that blends into the background. (Unless you’re good with PSP or Photoshop.)
Themes that have a lot of detail in the sidebars and background are more difficult to customize so if your skills are limited look for a simple, basic design to start with.
Many of today’s themes offer a wide range of easy customization options. Atahualpa is a free WordPress theme that’s a good example, or you can look at Genesis or Thesis, which are both premium themes. These are three of the most popular themes that allow you to completely customize your site, and all the work can be done from the dashboard so you don’t have to worry about messing around editing internal files.
Most WordPress themes are widget ready, but some of the free themes don’t support all widgets. Look at the designers description to find out about non-supported widgets. Most themes support widgets in the sidebars. For more customization options, look for themes that have widget areas in the footer and header areas, too.
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