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Choosing the Right WordPress Themes

One of the things that many new website owners spend a lot of time on is choosing a WordPress theme for their site. Since there are thousands of themes available, it can be tough deciding on which one to choose. The following are a couple of tips for those looking to actually make some money with their site and not just using it as a personal blog about quotes and cats and what you had for lunch.

Keep It Simple

More doesn’t necessarily mean better. Instead of choosing a flashy theme with a ton of bells and whistles, choose a theme that will make your users’ life easier. A theme with a nice header and a visible navigation area is all you really need. You can certainly get a bit more creative if the subject of your site calls for it.

Customizable

Unless you know how to edit files, it’s best to stick with themes that are easily customizable. Some themes will give you the option to easily upload a header picture and even change the color of your theme with simply drop down boxes. You can change the sidebar from the right to the left with a click of a button.

Free WordPress Themes Warning

One of the reasons why many people offer free themes is so they can get a link back to their sites by way of a footer link. This is fair since they put the time to create the theme but there are some who will encrypt coding into the theme and link out to sites that you may not want to be associated with. To check this, you can download a plugin called Theme Authenticity Checker for free which will scan your themes and display any outgoing links.

Premium WordPress Theme

If you want to save time and go for straight for some good themes, you may want to consider paying for one of the premium ones. One of the most popular WordPress themes is Thesis. It’s highly customizable and easy to use once you get the hang of it. Many highly popular blogs use it and swear by it. Heck, even Matt Cutts uses it.

Plugins

Along with your WordPress theme, you’ll want to install a few plugins as well. For SEO purposes, you’ll want to consider installing All-in-One SEO, Google XML sitemaps, and maybe a related posts plugin as well as SEO Smart Links.

Focus More on Content

Although it’s nice to have a good looking WordPress theme, keep in mind that when it comes to driving traffic, it’s all about your content. It’s actually better to just choose any theme, even the default one, and get to work on creating good content. Once you start getting some decent traffic, you can then spend some time on making your theme looking nicer.

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2 Responses to “Choosing the Right WordPress Themes”

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  1. Mark Moore

    Keeping a theme simple is my preferred option. I think that site owners really have a difficult time balancing aesthetics with page load times. Sure, your super deluxe theme may look great, but it takes 10 seconds to load. Choose or code your own theme with minimal PHP functions, small CSS footprint and Asynchronous JS. After all, people are viewing your site for the content, not the fluffy themes.

  2. John Seiffer

    As a non-programmer who’s been blogging since 2006, my frustration with themes is two-fold. I think this applies more to using WordPress as a CMS with a static front page than it does if you want your blog to be your front page.

    First – what they call “customize” often means change the colors or the pictures. Duh. But they all have sections on the pages (I’m not talking about widgets). And they often don’t tell you what those sections are called, or where to find the ways to customize those section. This is OK if you already know what these things are but terrible for newbies. It took me a long time to figure out that those pictures on the front are called a slider. And even if you know the names, knowing where to change it is different from one theme to the next.

    Second – You can only customize within the limits of the theme. If a theme has a slider and under it 3 boxes of a certain size that link to a portfolio page, you’ll have a hard time making 2 boxes or putting a single column call-out above the boxes. This is OK – it’s the design of the theme after all. The problem is that you often don’t know what the limitations are before you actually buy a theme and start messing with it. So it’s hard to tell before you buy what you’re actually buying.

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