While this articles talks about the choosing a template with the right style and features for your site, keep in mind the #1 priority when selecting a theme is SECURITY and SUPPORT! If you select from one of our recommended themes, then you’re safe. They have all been vetted for security and support!
When choosing a theme for your blog or website, think what type of style you’d like your site to have and content that will be on your site.
The first thing people notice when they reach your site are visual aspects – things like colors and shapes. Do you want your site to look corporate, clean, fun, bubbly, bold, _____? You want to choose a theme that fits the style and personality of your business or blog. To do this, scroll through the list of themes that we have and see which ones jump out at you first.
Then go back and open up the demos. The demo sites contain various pages to show you all the options that a theme has. Some themes have several color options built in. Look for a “Colors” tab at the top to see if this is an option. If so you can click on the different colors and see a preview of the site in the color you selected.
Consider where the navigation bars are placed, where the logo is placed, how the sidebar looks, the spacing, the font style – does it fit with the image you have for your site?
Next you want to think about making the theme yours! Picture your logo, your text and your pictures on the site. Think about how much content (text and photos) you have and how it would fit into the theme.
Keep in mind that many of the themes have Widgetized home page layouts. This means that the home page is structured for you into widget areas. There may be 3, 4 or 5 widget areas on your home page template. This limits you to the layout that has been devised for the theme, and gives you the opportunity to add the functionality of a widget, like a slideshow. You do not have to use all of the widget areas that come with a theme. You can use as many or as few as you’d like.
Some things are fairly easy to change on a theme; some things are harder. Think about whether you’re doing to build the site on your own or hire a developer to help you put everything together. If you are going to DIY, then you will want a theme that already has exactly what you want, or had a easy to use interface so that you don’t have to do any coding.
In general, and this varies from theme to theme – here are some items to look at:
- Colors: If the theme you’re choosing has Color options, you can easily switch between one color or another in the Theme Settings.
- Background: Most themes let you upload a background image and/or set a background color for your site.
- Header: Most themes let you choose between displaying text in the “logo” area and uploading a graphic for your logo.
- Default Layout: You can select a default page for your theme – one, two or no sidebars. You can also select a different layout for specific pages on your site. Keep in mind that not all themes have all layout options, so if you need double sidebars, make sure to check the Layout tab on the demo to see if your theme has this option.
- Navigation Menus: Themes may have one or two spaces to place your navigation bar. You don’t have to use both – in fact you don’t have to use either. You can also add your navigation menu to the site via a widget area.
- Blog Page Layout: Choose how many posts appear on your blog feed, whether to display the full post or just an excerpt, and choose if and where you’d like your featured image for each post to appear.
- Changing colors via CSS: If your theme only has a few set color options, then any other changes you want to make you would need to write some CSS code for.
- Layout Changes: Say you want to move your menu bar above your header, or add an extra footer widget. This will require changes to the HTML and CSS code.
- Divi by ElegantThemes is great for DIY, beginners and saving time! It offers a lot of no-coding layout and color options and the page builder comes with a lot built in features for designing your page.
- The Genesis Framework themes are clean and professional looking and offer developers a many “hooks” that allow you to quickly modify any of their themes or create a new theme with a completely custom design from scratch, without the scratch. Instead you build on the framework they’ve provided which allows you to focus 100% on your design and leave all the standard WordPress functionality up to the framework, saving both time and money!