Theme Shopping

This is post is a bit belated for those of you who already have a blog, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and I think it will be nice to have this info all in one place.  Themes are what determine the visual appearance of the blog.  There are usually between 80-90 available on, and they change constantly (in fact, this theme is no longer available).  Obviously, the most important thing to consider when you choose a theme is personal taste – do you like it, do you think it expresses your own sense of style? – but there are some other things to consider.

If you go to “My Dashboard” and then “Appearance” and then “Theme” you can preview all of the different themes that wordpress has to offer.  I find it easier to sort them A-Z so you can see all of them.  If you want to see the details of a particular theme, preview it, and it will show you what your blog would look like in that theme (if you don’t like it just click on the x).  Also, below the theme’s name, wordpress provides some key words/characteristics of the theme (you can also search these if there is something specific you are looking for).  Here are some things to keep in mind when “theme shopping:”

(1) Make sure your theme is widget ready (most of them are) – it will say “widgets” beneath the theme if it is.

(2) is great because it’s easy, but it limits some of the choices you can make about the appearance of your blog.  Most of the themes come with certain fonts and colors that can’t be changed, so keep this in mind when you are choosing them.  Some themes will indicate that there is some choice of color, but most fonts can’t be changed.

(3) The one thing that can often change is the picture that runs across the top of many themes.  If a theme is tagged “custom header” this means that you can upload a picture and change the look of that header (for example, the hands on keyboard image I have up top is something I uploaded and cropped).  Some themes are very specific (my personal favorite is “banana smoothie”), and cannot be changed – make sure you consider that when picking.

(4) If more than one person will be posting to the blog (for example, if it is a class blog with more than one prof, or if the prof wants students to post rather than just comment) it might be easier to chose a theme that includes the author’s name somewhere on the post.  See how on this post you can see my name below the post title?  This seems to me to be a key component of a theme, but it’s not usually tagged, so I’ve compiled a list of the themes that include the name of the author at the time of this posting.  You can always check by previewing a theme and seeing if your name or username appears automatically at the top or bottom of the sample post.  Here’s the list: albeo, ambiru, andreas04, andreas09, black-letterhead, connections, contempt, depo square, emire, fleur de lys, flower power, garland, green matinee, inove, kubrick, mistylook, motion, neo-sapian, ocadia, ocean mist, p2, redoable lite, regulus, rounded, rubric, sapphire, shocking blue green, silver is the new black, simpla, spring loaded, tarski, the journalist v 1.3, the journalist v 1,9, titan, toni, twenty ten, vigilance, wordpress classic.

(5) Think about purpose and readability.  If you want to have a lot of widgets (the fun stuff on the sidebar of the blog), you might want multiple sidebars (I have one on each side of this blog since I like to model different ones).  If you are expecting a lot of comments, you might think about how the comments are displayed.  If it’s very important when a post was posted (for example for a class), you may want a theme where the date is displayed prominently.  It’s all about what will work best for you.

You can always change your theme, but sometimes the formatting will be a little off after a transition, so I would suggest thinking about it a bit and making sure you like what you are choosing.  Happy theme shopping!


2 Responses

  1. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff you post.

  2. […] first realized this problem after writing a lengthy post on themes last year, only to figure out that themes are always in flux – some of the themes that I have […]

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