5 Tips on Picking the Right Theme for your Next Web Design Project
One of the best features of WordPress is the variety of themes or templates that are easily available. No other CMS (content management system like Joomla! or Drupal) even comes close to offering the variety and complexity of themes that WP has. I previously covered how to choose between a free or premium template but in this post, I don’t want to discuss money. A template is a template and irrespective of whether you paid $40/€30 for it or just downloaded it for free, the decision to pick a particular theme should be well informed.
1) Know your own skill level -. Be honest with yourself. How able do you think you are to modify a template? This may lead you to buying one that compromises in certain areas but is more suitable in others and you can make up for the gaps yourself. Remember, that this will take extra time and it may not be worth it if you can find a better suiting theme.
1.2) If you aren’t familiar with the basics of PHP, HTML5/CSS, or just how WordPress works generally, you made need to look for a Template that has more options in the backend.
2) Support - If it is a premium theme, accept nothing less than personal email support or a ticketing system though community forums may be able to answer most of your questions. For free themes, active forums should be enough since if you have a problem, chances are someone else has had exactly the same problem and perhaps even found a solution.
2.1) Theme Activity - Are the theme developers active? When was the last update made and for how long will they continue to support this template? Free themes are likely to have less support
3) Know the Website Genre or Type - For example, if your website is for an artist/musician, magazine, or corporate look for a theme that is designed for that purpose as they will have portfolio tools built in to save you time.
4) Demo the Theme -Pages where you download themes will have a “demo” option so you can test drive the template. I will say that as much as I love Themeforest themes, I find that a major disadvantage of the whole system is that you are never able to test drive the administrator side unlike elsewhere. Since I spend most of my time there, I find that quite the ommision. It really helps to see how the PHP is laid out and how easy the theme is to use; see point 1)
5) Custom Theme - If time and your budget allows, consider having a theme custom made for you. This will help your site stand out from the crowd. Personally, I haven’t found themes that limiting. There has always been a free or premium one available to me that I can edit to suit my current project.