Once you have WordPress installed, selecting a theme is the next step. WordPress installation includes a few free themes and there are many other free themes available. You can also purchase themes for added features. Some free themes are great! Some paid themes have issues. Depending on your blog and the content you want to share, you will need to pick what is best for you. A few things you need to consider as you are making the decision include:
- Budget? What can you afford? Can you live with a free version till you can afford something else? Or do you need to spend extra to have a premium theme and will cut other expenses?
- Is it easy to read? What fonts are used and what color scheme for the copy? Is it easy to read or difficult. If the font is a style that is difficult to read, people lose interest. If the color blends in and makes it difficult to read, people will move on to another blog.
- Can you customize? Most likely you will want your blog to look unique. You will need to customize some things. Consider how easy the blog is to customize. With some themes, it’s easy to customize the theme straight from the ‘Theme Options’ tab, however with some it’s more complicated and involves editing the CSS theme files directly. Unless you have experience I would avoid complicated editing.
- Is it functional? Consider how easy it is to navigate, can you search for content and make comments with ease? Does it have a sidebar to add widgets? Does it include functional elements like “Read more” and “Next” links.
- Layout and Design Elements? Do you want 2 or 3 columns. Do you want a right or left sidebar? There are a variety of designs and you need to determine what will work best for you.
- Is the theme search engine friendly? If you are not familiar with HTML and CSS it may be difficult for you to evaluate the SEO capabilities of a theme. You may want to ask questions and do a bit of research. Some themes advertise as being SEO ready.
- How many times has it been downloaded? Is it a popular theme. Yes that means it will be harder to make your blog stand out and look different, but if lots of people are using the theme, that is a good thing, it means there is probably good support and it is popular enough that others will have supported the same theme and can offer help. If few have used it you can bet not a lot of time will go into updates and additional support.
- Support? Some premium themes will include support from the designer, which can be a big plus. Some free theme designers will provide limited support and others will provide none. If you think you might need support somewhere down the road, take this into consideration. I have found people who support WordPress can handle most support issues.
- Will it grow with you? As your business grows, will your blog be able to grow with your business? Is it flexible enough to adjust to growing needs.
- Is it responsive? In our mobile friendly world, you need a theme that will respond appropriately regardless of how or what technology it is viewed on.
- Reviews? Does it have positive reviews? Are people satisfied with it? Does it have good ratings?
Take the time to review these items on the themes you are considering and chances are you will be happy with your theme selection.
Do you need additional help setting up your blog? Check out these posts: