How I Chose my WordPress Theme (3 of 4 in the Blog Setup Series)

by Alexa on December 23, 2009

Choosing a theme is like choosing an outfit, but way harder

The theme you choose for your WordPress blog dictates how your site will look and behave.

I’ll warn you now: if you have a hard time deciding on what outfit to wear in the morning, this could be a very, very long process.

www.wpbeginner.com provides helpful tips for selecting a theme.

In addition to picking a simple design that matches your business, you should also be aware of browser compatibility (some themes haven’t been designed to work properly in all browsers – you could alienate potential readers based on that alone) and the terms of service. Beware of theme providers who expect you to name your first-born child after them (or equally unreasonable terms) or those who bury “spam” links.   You also want a theme that is SEO optimized – that is, built so that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) can find your site easily.

Daily Blog Tips has other suggestions, including

  • Knowing ahead of time if your blog will be used to make money or accommodate monetization efforts, such as ads, banners, etc.
  • Evaluating the level of support you’ll need. (I’m a BIG fan of support.)
  • Do you care how distinctive your blog looks?  Popular themes become recognizable. Do you care if your blog looks like 50,000 others?

Despite the accusations of overuse, I decided on Thesis by DIYthemes. Why?

  1. I had come across it on some of the high-traffic blogs I follow (Copyblogger, Chris Brogan).  Using wordpress.com’s free but limited options has engendered a serious case of Thesis-envy.
  2. SEO optimization is important to me, as is support.
  3. I had no interest in turning my search for a WordPress theme into a full-time job. I have enough other things to do. If it’s the wrong choice I’ll change it later.

Of course, what’s the first thing you do before making an on-line purchase?

I looked for a discount coupon.

Aggravated, I noted that I missed DIYtheme’s Black Friday special by a couple of weeks. Argh!

I also noted a number of sites offering rebates, but the process of removing cookies and providing a Paypal account and other hoops I had to jump through weren’t worth the $15.

With a quick check on xe.com to make sure I hadn’t missed a sudden seismic shift in the currency market driving down the value of the Canadian dollar, I signed up.

They promise I will fall in love with Thesis in 30 days or my money back.

Bring it on, Cupid.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pascal December 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

You have done a cool choice when it comes about Theme.

Thesis rocks.

2 Alexa December 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Thanks, Pascal. Let’s hope Thesis really does rock my world.

3 Simon Li December 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Hi Alexa,

I like the design of your site. It is clean and easy to navigate. I especially think the “Share and Enjoy” bar is really fantastic. You have many of the social sharing sites covered.

S

4 Alexa December 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Thank you, Simon! Can you believe I did this without any help? Wait – don’t answer that. Re: the social bookmarking, that’s a Wordpress plugin called Sexy Bookmarks. Between Wordpress.org, Thesis and my modified Fresh Company skin from ThesisThemes, I feel pretty enabled.

5 Mandy vZ April 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

I have been doing some blog research for setting up one for myself and have found your posts very informative. I enjoyed the following quote ” Beware of theme providers who expect you to name your first-born child after them (or equally unreasonable terms)” and was a bit concerned by the warning about ” those who bury “spam” links”. I have been wondering ever since, how would one know if you have buried spam links?
Thanks and kind regards

6 Alexa April 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hi Mandy. Glad to hear you’re finding the posts helpful.

What I meant by buried spam links relates to the old adage of “you get what you pay for.” If someone is giving away something for free, you have to question what’s in it for them. I had read that some freebies have links embedded in their software that you wouldn’t even be aware of. Just do your research and make sure you’re comfortable with the service. Good luck!

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