Choosing Your Theme:
This is not as straight onward & easy a task as many of you may think. WordPress for example, seems to have a near infinite list of possible themes to choose from, & an even greater list of possible plugins to use with these best free wordpress themes for business. But how do we select? What factors should we consider when making our choices? After all, we all have dissimilar tastes when it comes to the aesthetics of a website. So what standards should we use when making our choices?
Ok the way I typically do this, is to look at 3 main factors:
Now there are probably some of you reading this that are trembling your heads wildly in difference, but hang on a moment, let me explain my cerebral. I say aesthetics 1st for the simple reason that first imprints count far more than many of us realise. Example of Aesthetics:
Is the website or blog colour matched, do the colours blend and fit or are they leaping of the page & trying to resolve your eyeballs from their sockets?
Is the contrast good, making the text easily clear? Also the size of the text can make a huge difference to the petition of a website.
What about universal layout of the page? Is it neat & well thought out, giving a sense of professionalism, or does it look more like a kiddies crayon book?
Generally talking does the colour scheme suite & match the blog or websites subject theme, e.g. you would not expect to see a site dealing with service services, having the sort of colour scheme that makes you feel happy, warm & cheerful! Clearly the two just do not fit, it is akin to trying to drive a square peg into a round hole, it will finally go, but it will make a terrible mess!
Many graphics designers will be mindful of the fact that certain colours can actually dictate mood; lilac or light purple is a relaxing colour, yellow & orange give a warm feel, while blue is frequently seen as a masculine colour & cold, pinks are clearly seen as soft & feminine, greys are usually seen as solemn & gloomy. Having said that, the colours used & mixed with those mentioned above, can totally change the initial colours natural mood & feel.
The upshot of all this is the fact that colours can have a hidden effect on us; we can be drawn to, or repelled from, depending on the colours used. This is why greatest national newspapers will tend to use neutral colours for their headers & if you doubt this just check out your own local papers. In fact look at Microsoft's own choice of colours in their enterprise of Windows, light blue headers & task bars, with a white background = neutral.
Big businesses have researched this carefully & whilst it is true that by using very neutral colour schemes, you are unlikely to WOW your readers, by the same symbolic you are also very unlikely to turn them away. I'm sure you get the idea, gaudy just does not work & this is why first imitations are so important, give a sense of skill & you will not only keep your current readers, but also appeal many more. So wherever likely please try to avoid strong primary colours as backgrounds. Always use eroded out very pale colours for your backgrounds & keep the strong colours for any headings on your page or sidebars, remembering of course that difference is of prime importance.
Now I accept that until you get a theme installed and successively, then its functionality is going to be a little hard to judge, however there are a few things you should deliberate before making your ultimate choice.
Try and look for a screen shot of the theme really up & running, this can not only show you what the theme is going to look like, but can also give you ideas on layout & design.
Think about how your website or blog is going to be laid out? Is it going to fit with ease or cause major headaches? Avoid the latter wherever likely. How about the width of the theme? The most common screen resolve at the moment is 1024 x 768px, therefore if the theme you are looking at only offers a width of 800px, this will leave you with a 112px 3.95cm) blank space down both side of your content.
Look at the header area, checkout if it allows an announcement on the right hand side, does it offer excellent rotation of your own images etc. Does it use Flash or Java in the header area? Something you really should avoid due to the fact that search engines cannot read it & as far as they are worried, there is nothing there!
Look at the sidebars, not just their site on the page, but also the width of each one. There are many widgets & adverts out there, that can range in width from 120px up to 300px or more, so if you choose a theme that has for example two sidebars each of 180px, but your beloved widget happens to 200px wide, then you have problems! Oh and trust me, unless you're a wiz kid with code & styling, then you really do not want to start equitation your sidebar code, as it can be a nightmare for the novice.
Finally pop along to the fastest WordPress themes website or home page, most will also have their own opportunity or at the very least their own comment boxes full of questions & answers. This is the ideal place to pick up a little information on your chosen theme, find out what others are saying, are there security issues or any other glaring problems that could finally give you sleepless nights.
The Cost of a Theme:
Another very important factor to take into thought is the cost of a theme. Whilst there are hundreds of free themes offered, it is quite possible that you cannot find your ideal theme & unless you are proficient sufficient to be able to hack another theme & insert your own code, then the only other option open to you, is to purchase a theme! If this is the way you select to go, then the costs you are likely to pay can range from $70 up to a few hundred dollars & in extreme cases $1,000 plus! It really all depends on what you want manufactured into the theme & how much you are prepared to pay?