How to Find the Right WordPress Theme
Upon conceiving a great idea for a website and creating goals for content, you begin to imagine what it will look like and how the functionality of the site will be achieved. This step is sometimes the most creative element of the process, but can be limited if you do not have the necessary skills to build a template, theme or complete website from scratch. For those who will rely on templates and themes to achieve their desired look, the virtually unlimited choices of design can be a painstaking experience. Knowing what you need out of your template and what you are willing to put into it will help you make the decision process much easier.
Chances are you already have a general idea of how your site will function and appear. Do you want one, two or three columns of information displayed? Where will the main images and header be displayed on the site? Are you in search of a portal design or a traditional website appearance? While some templates have near universal flexibility, others can be quite rigid in their framework. This is why it is crucial to have an idea of the type of template you need, which will help you eliminate a large portion of the other themes that are not suitable for your site.
Free Versus Premium
Some of the best-designed sites on the internet use premium templates – this means that there was either a one-time fee associated with the purchase of the template or a recurring license fee, depending on the arrangement. Most themes fall into the first category. Generally, premium templates will provide additional flexibility and professional appeal to your site, but your budget may not allow for a premium template immediately. Especially when it comes to free templates, having the aforementioned general ideas in mind on what you expect will be crucial in whittling down the non-suited themes.
Test Them First
Many theme and template providers give you the opportunity to demo their theme before you make any commitments. Even the free template and theme providers offer this function many times, however it may be limited. Premium theme providers may give you a full working demo that you can test prior to making a purchase. Use this opportunity to see if there are any kinks or differences that may be a deal-breaker for the direction in which you plan to take the site. After feeling comfortable with its performance, you can feel more assured that your purchase (or other commitment) is final.
Optimizing Your Template
Prior to making any major customizations, you will want to insert any meta data, tags and the like to make sure your site is properly indexed and read. While WordPress offers much of this in an automatic roll-out, you will still find customization in these areas to be needed. Pingler offers a tool, the HTML Optimizer, that will scan any header or footer data, telling you if the HTML is properly optimized. It will also suggest which changes you need to make to be sure that your code is in compliance with W3C standards.