Clothes maketh the man. – This paraphrased aphorism was as true in the 16th century as it is today. But why am I talking about clothes here on bloggingtips? Because the way your clothe your site is important too, and the clothes are called “Themes”.
Your WordPress theme is the design of your website or blog. The colour, layout, number of columns, alignment, header, footer, and so many more design elements are all embedded in the theme you choose. In short, the entire aesthetics of your site is specified by the theme. But it’s not just the appearance, the theme can also power the website with add-ons like widgets and plugins. In short, themes allow you to change the look and functionality of the website without any change to the content in it. Whether you want to be fun, elegant, or clean, it’s all in the theme. Whether you want to be social or a recluse, that’s in the theme too. They can be unique and stylish, or just good old vanilla or 2013.
Zeroing in on the perfect theme is long process and goes back to the basics of why you want the website, what you want the site to do for you. The questions you must ask yourself are, “Am I using WordPress as a site or blog?”, “How will my site expand my goals?”. Based on this, you must choose the theme that best caters to your needs, the theme that reflects your cause. By default, WordPress comes with a theme. You can either customize the existing theme or choose a new theme from the dashboard.
WordPress makes changing the theme a really simple task (just click!). There are over a thousand free themes to choose from.
Free WordPress themes
Usually, free themes are pretty simple in terms of design. Modifications you can make on the layout are pretty limited. Furthermore, free themes do not always come with colour schemes or styles to add to the aesthetics of your site. Free themes can be downloaded and installed directly from the WordPress Dashboard. When using a free theme, it is important to pay heed to the author’s updates. Remember, free themes that are not regularly updated may lead to security vulnerabilities in your site.
Perfidious developers sometimes hitch the themes to everything from spam links to malware that harm the site once the theme is installed. The themes they provide might be attractive and may enhance your aesthetics but they may contain malicious code that harm the site. One precautionary measure that you can take before installing a free theme is to choose the theme from a trusted site. The following links contain themes which are trusted and are likely to contain no threats:
Premium WordPress themes
Another option is to go for the Premium WordPress themes. Since Premium themes are generally safer than free themes and less likely to contain malware or trojans that will leave your site open to hackers. Premium themes are also advanced in other ways and come with options to configure the settings or layout. In simple terms, they offer more options in terms of colour schemes, additional plug-ins, etc.
Premium themes is a paid service. While they are not custom made for you, they do offer customizations to make the theme feel like your own. Also, you have better technical support from the creators or designers. They lend you a hand if you encounter problems with the theme. The cost of themes vary depending on the theme vendor and the complexity. It can range from $20 to $80 for a theme on a single site. Many vendors also offer developer packages which let you use the theme on unlimited sites. While most Premium themes are trustworthy in terms of security, some of them are likely to contain spam links. So buy from trustworthy sources. Some places to purchase premium themes are:
Not all themes are equal in terms of their functionality, and security. Each theme caters to different needs and uses. While choosing a theme, don’t look at the colors, they can be changed. Instead, focus on the overall layout which is often fixed and cannot be customized to your need. Finally, the extra options that can be added to the theme are the plug-ins. Plug-ins provide additional features beyond what your theme offers like calendar, backup, embedding other blogs, twitter feeds, etc. While some plug-ins are free, others have to be purchased.
If you are creative, make your own theme. And remember to backup your theme as well as your content, for the theme is an important vehicle to carry your message to the world. Polonius may have been an old windbag, but he was wise in the ways of the world. Dress your site well. Choose your theme with care.