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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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Six Things to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Theme

If you're considering building a website or a blog, you should definitely consider using WordPress as your base. Among other reasons, it's super customizable and user-friendly, and it doesn't cost much to set up and maintain. But when you're setting up your website, you'll find there are thousands and thousands of themes out there. You want to present yourself and your ideas in the best way possible, but how do you decide which of the themes you should use? Here are six things to keep in mind:

1. Purpose — The purpose of your blog will actually in some ways determine what theme you use—in part because your purpose will affect all the following things on this list. Before you start choosing your blog, make sure you know exactly what your plan is:  are you making a travel blog or a mom blog, a news site or a business site, or something else? If you have a clear idea of what you want, you'll find it's a lot easier to narrow down your options.

2. Utility — To start with, picture your website in your mind and think of what you're using it for. Will site visitors be reading articles? Viewing pictures? Doing online shopping? Interacting in discussions or forums? You need to choose a theme that will fit your purpose. Will it have columns? If so, how many? Will you be posting photos on it? How are they incorporated in the theme? Will you have ads? You don't need to know exactly what you want in a website, and you might find that when you're browsing themes, you change your initial plan. But if you can have a rough idea in mind, again, it'll narrow down your options right off the bat.

3. Appearance — The appearance of your website is really important. You can't judge a book by its cover, but a first glance at your website will have your viewers drawing all sorts of conclusions about whether the site is professional, relevant to them, easy to use, etc. Pay attention to the colors—of the background, header, text, links, and anything else on the page—and the font or fonts that are used and make sure you're sending the message you want to send. You might like a site that uses a handwriting font, but if you're making a website for a dental office, this may not be the best choice. When in doubt, check out other websites with similar purposes to yours and see what you like or dislike about them.

4. Ease of Modification — Even if you don't plan to make major changes to the template, you're going to need to at least input your own information. You want to make sure you pick a template that's going to be easy to work with—and if possible, pick one that you won't want to make major changes to. Make sure whatever you pick is compatible with the plugins that you want to use as well. It's kind of like shopping for clothes: if you had options, would you choose to buy a pair of pants that you knew you were going to have to hem shorter or have taken in or would you shop around some more? Shop around some and see what you can find for themes. Guaranteed, there's something out there that's perfect for you.

5. Ease of Use — This one might sound like a no-brainer, but you want to make sure you pick a site that's going to be easy for people to use. These days, you probably want something that's going to be easy to use both on a computer and on a mobile device. If your site is too frustrating or confusing or takes too long to load or is difficult to navigate, you're going to lose traffic. When in doubt, keep it simple and sleek.

6. Cost — You'll want to make sure you figure out your budget for your website before you get your heart set on a theme that's too expensive. Depending on what you're doing, it may make sense to shell out a little more money to create a more professional looking site. Or you might just decide that you really, really like a site that costs a little more. But there are also tons of free options for themes out there, and these might be worth exploring. Again, shop around and find the perfect site for you. If you find a nice theme that's out of your budget, see if you can't find a cheaper one that's similar to it before you bite the bullet and buy the more expensive site.

With these things in mind, you're sure to pick a theme and build a website that both does what you need and provides a pleasant experience for its viewers. WordPress isn't difficult to use—and with the right theme, you can easily build the website of your dreams!

Caroline, contributor from Secure Thoughts which provide information related to internet security 


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