Are you looking for a new theme for your WordPress blog? Here are seven deadly things to avoid.
- Unsupported Themes
Free theme providers often move to other projects or don’t have time to fix problems or modify design. Generally this isn’t a problem for premium themes, but always check the track record of the author before basing your brand on a particular design.
- Outdated Themes
The corollary to unsupported themes is an outdated theme. Many older themes don’t support the latest features of WordPress. If they haven’t been updated recently, the chance that they will be updated in the future is probably slim.
Having a theme that keeps up with the the WordPress application is an important part of keeping your site upgradeable.
- Themes that Don’t Validate
Validation isn’t the end-all, be-all in site value. Ultimately most users don’t care if you site validates, they only care if it works for them. But validation is a relatively good indicator of how much care a designer puts into their coding.
If you aren’t a programmer, using a markup validation service to check your site may give you some useful information about the expertise of the designer.
- Themes with Dark Backgrounds/Light Text
While there are some folks who prefer a dark background with light text, the vast majority of web users find such sites hard to read and less appealing. Most blog readers — even those who favor dark backgrounds — find dark text on a light background to be readable and acceptable. Almost no one objects to such sites.
Given these facts, there is an easy way to please most every reader: use a light background and dark, legible text.
- Themes with Navigation Nightmares
Nothing turns me away from a site quicker than non-intuitive navigation. There is so much good information on the internet, there is simply no reason that I should have to waste my time poking around, hunting, and searching for what I need.
When you choose a theme, it must fit your content and your presentation. Make it easy for visitors to find what they need and they’ll be back for more.
- Incomplete Themes
Some themes have great looking home and post templates, but no options for static pages, pages without sidebars, etc. Choosing such a theme will severely limit your ability to present your material in the most attractive and sensible way.
Look for templates that offer the full suite of options. This will give you flexibility and room to grow.
- Ugly Themes
Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder and site design is a subjective exercise. But some themes don’t appeal to any significant portion of the population. Avoid designs that most people hate, even if you don’t.
When I designed this site, I showed it to over a hundred other professional bloggers for feedback. Even with years of blogging experience, some of the feedback surprised me. Similarly, when Men with Pens redesigned their site, they accepted feedback from readers and made changes to suit. Good idea!
Over the years, we’ve used many themes. Early last year we settled on the Thesis theme. We love Thesis and install it on every client site. It has a clean look that’s easy to customize. Upgrading is simple. And support is second to none.
If you’re looking for a new theme that can grow with your site, we highly recommend Thesis.