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Help Me Find a WordPress Theme

In our WordPress Tips, we cover a lot about WordPress Themes, editing, tweaking, and changing the layout, as well as developing them from scratch. Here are a few more tips and issues you need to consider when choosing and editing your WordPress Theme.

Help Me Find a WordPress Theme

There are now more than 300 WordPress Themes available to choose from. From among those, there are many variations on a theme, changing colors or number of sidebars. This number is growing rapidly as more and more people experiment with WordPress Theme designs.

With all these variations and choices, most WordPress Support Forum volunteers can’t keep track of which Themes look like what, so many times this question goes unanswered, or poorly answered.

If you are looking for a WordPress Theme, here are some tips to help you decide. Also see more extensive information and tips on choosing a WordPress Theme.

Look Past the Frosting
For the most part, there are only a few variations on layout and the rest of the look is “paint”. To learn about the core layouts that are most commonly found on the Internet, read Mezzoblue’s Web Page Layouts: Columns and Grids. Basically, you have a header, content area, sidebar, and footer. There are themes with no sidebars (1 column), one sidebar (left or right), two sidebars (one right or left, or two side-by-side on the right or the left), or three sidebars, or even the rare four column, which is more of a newspaper style. Some have a prominent header, some smaller, or none. Some have a footer, some don’t. Everything else is just frosting.
Look For The Architecture
To find the one you want, first decide the layout architecture you need and forget about graphics and color. Do you want the sidebar on the left or right? Do you want a fixed layout or flexible or elastic, stretching the full width of the screen?
All WordPress Themes are Simple
The WordPress Support Forum gets a lot of requests for a very simple Theme layout from which people can play and develop their own Theme. Reality is, most WordPress Themes are simple once you take away all the colors and pictures. In theory, most of them house the same core structure and reference selectors. Most of the modifications happen in the style.css style sheet. There are some Themes that you can completely change the look by only replacing the style.css from another Theme. Can’t get much simpler than that.
Use WordPress Codex Theme List Sorted By Column
Once you have decided upon the layout you want, you can use the WordPress Codex WordPress Theme List which is sorted by column layouts. That will narrow down your search.
Colors, Fonts, Graphics, and Styles Can All Be Changed
Remember, all the colors, graphics, fonts, and titles can be changed from within the style sheet. Ignore the pretty or garish use of colors and concentrate on what you want the site’s layout to appear. After you find a good layout, then you can go through and style it any way you want.

If you need more information on the different parts and pieces of how a WordPress Theme works, read First Steps With WordPress. It will take you through the default and classic WordPress Themes right after your installation, helping you learn what each thing is and how it works. The more you understand about how WordPress works with your site’s content, the better you can style the page to maximize those uses.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 17, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s been my experience that those who are the most picky about their themes end up being the ones who jump on to the design-my-own-theme bandwagon. Designing a theme is becoming easier and easier as WordPress and other technologies evolve, and I suspect that this ties directly in with the whole customization aspect of Web 2.0.

    This isn’t a bad thing, of course; rather the opposite. I’m just wondering when we’ll get to a point that themes become obsolete because bloggers have so much control from within the blog, and viewers have so much control via things like override styles.

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