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Selection Process for Choosing a Free WordPress Theme Template

Technology > WordPress Support

Summary. There are quite a few WordPress themes for independent websites. When picking a theme, it’s a good idea to look at the list of the most popular WordPress Themes. This document provides some suggestions on how to pick a good theme.

Selection Criteria. Here are some considerations when choosing a theme:

  • Was the theme created by a reputable company, group, or individual?
  • Does the creator of the them offer ongoing upgrades and support?
  • Is there a specialized support website for that them?
  • Is the them compatible with the latest version of WordPress and does it take advantage of Widgets and other features of WordPress?
  • Is the theme based on clean and lean programing code or do the resulting pages have excessive HTML codes that can slow down the loading of pages?
  • Has the theme been around for a while?
  • Is the them open source friendly?
  • Is documentation provided?
  • Does the theme seem easy to edit and customize?

Excellent Themes. Click here for a list of exceptional themes that are reliable and have good support.

Poor Choices That Look Good. Below are some other themes that look nice, but probably aren’t a good choice because the support page in their country of origin is not in English. Unless you are fluent in a language other than English, for support reasons, you’ll want to stick with a theme that offers support and information in English.

Theme Design Motives. Many themes are designed by people who simply want to promote their own website, so they link from your site to theirs – kind of like placing an advertisement on your site for what they do. Others are free, but too simple to really make use of. When you really want something that works, you need to go to the company that made it and pay them for a better template.

Website Portability Design. An advantage of working with WordPress is portability – the ability to move your content from one site design theme to another. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to create a website that looks good with just about any theme. For example, pick a few pages to show in navigation. While some themes support many page titles in navigation, others are limited to about five. Use page names that are short for your main pages since these are used for the navigation tabs.

When It’s Time to Change. Sometimes it’s time to change your site to a new theme. One user explains, “A few years ago, I chose the WP-Andreas01 theme because the designer, Andreas Viklund seemed like he would be around for a while. Well, he’s been busy and so now his theme is outdated and not fully updated for optimal results with the latest version of WordPress. I’m guessing he just felt overwhelmed by people contacting him and asking him for free support for the WordPress theme that he is giving away for free. He has two other themes that are free and one states that it is updated for the WordPress 2.7 version.” This person decided to migrate to a different theme. Doing so took a little effort since the theme had originally been modified and customized to fit the site rather than the other way around.

Paying for WordPress Themes. There are websites like TemplateMonster.com where you can browse their selection of WordPress themes. People have WordPress themes for sale, and those themes are probably worth spending $50 for since you get a better designed theme and the person can afford to make a living off providing updates and support.

Categorized as Technology

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com