As I mentioned in a recent post, I am in search of a new WordPress theme for this blog. I already figured out that choosing the right theme, while theoretically very easy, is one of the most difficult things in one’s blogging life – probably the toughest decision to make in a blogger’s life.
After a couple of weeks’ search for the ideal theme, the following are my thoughts about WordPress themes in general (I hope my loud thinking may also help a fellow blogger while hunting for the right theme for his/her blog)
- Most themes – whether it is $200 professional themes or free ones – require a lot of customizing to make it look unique and branded according to your blog needs
- If you were to design a new theme, start with a clean codebase (e.g. WordPress default themes) as many themes are not really coded by programmers
- Magazine themes are only as good as your image stock and they are
not suitable for most blogs
- Most of the theme designers actually copy paste themes (own or others’) and make minor changes to arrive at a different theme. So you need to think twice before picking a theme out of 20-30 that a single designer has to offer
- The claims such as SEO optimized and AdSense ready themes are more like sales tactics. On-theme SEO optimization and changes to host ad slots can be done really easily
- ‘Widget ready’ is an overstatement! Unless you have a theme from the stone age, most of them are widget ready anyhow
- A big part of your branding needs can be taken care of by having a killer header (logo + changes there in)
- Theme customizing is really an expensive thing to do though it is not something that happens every day. I am talking about the case where you need unique branding
- The hype about highly colorful, anime-based and over-branded themes is slowly coming down. Now a days, professional bloggers are more inclined towards neat, light and properly engineered themes like Thesis
- Though not frequent, major WordPress upgrades can trigger certain amout of work on your themes. Hence – unless you are a programmer yourself – it makes sense to go for a theme that promises after-sales support
- Fixed width themes are still the most popular option despite the PC monitors getting wider
- If certain plugins are mandatorily required to run a theme properly, don’t go for such themes
- Theme selection is not getting any easier with 1000s of themes out there to confuse you. Hence, if you are in doubt go for a professional theme
In principle if you are not developer, Webmaster, designer and SEO expert (on top of being a blogger) life can get really difficult on the great WordPress platform.
Any thoughts folks?