I did a post at SMZK recently on some of the advantages of using WordPress (WP) as a platform for websites. One of the things I touched on there was theme selection. Since this is a vital part of establishing the look and feel of a WP site, I want to spend a little more time on the subject here today.
Choosing a theme is one of the most important aspects of setting up any WP site. Not only does your theme determine the physical layout of your pages and site, it sets the style and tone for the site as well. Most themes determine the size of your main content area. There are themes that allow you to choose between 2 or more sizes, even a few that allow you to choose all the sizes as well as placement for everything from your main content area to the number and size of your sidebars.
Your theme selection also affects your ability to add a custom header. How much control you have over your header depends on the theme. Some give you free reign, others restrict you to particular, (often strange) dimensions. I am very graphically oriented. This plays a big part in my theme selection. I also like as much control as possible when it comes to the size and layout of the pages. Because of these factors, I use only two themes for my sites. This site and most of my old blogs use a theme called Magazine Basic.
This theme allows me to ad a graphic header to replace the plain text header, a big plus for my preferences. Magazine Basic (MB) lets you choose between adding a full size header image as I do at SMZK and the Affiliate Marketing Blog, or a half size header like I use on this blog. The obvious plus of using the half size header is the ability to place an ad next to your header. MB allows you the option of using an ad with your header if you like. While you can still use this option with a full size header and have the ad appear above the header, you must have the ad set to left justify, or your ad will break out of the theme on the right side giving you an ugly and useless expanse of white down the entire length of the pages.
Another plus of MB is the addition of a magazine style layout for your front page, a nice looking way to pump up your SEO by allowing you to display more content on this page, raising your overall ranking. If you are simply using the site as say a sales site, you can turn off the magazine layout and select your front page from any of the pages on your site. This is what I have done on Power Web Graphics, the sales site companion to this blog.
The theme lets you decide rather you will include 1 or 2 sidebars, and if they will be both placed on the right, left or one on each side. There are two options for the size of your sidebars, 180 and 360 pixels. This, in combination with the option of choosing 800 or 1020 px for the page size give you some say in the final size of your main column in an indirect way. The theme options are simple and straightforward,making this theme an excellent choice for beginners.
Next time around, I’ll take a look at my current favorite theme, called Suffusion, and describe the features that led me to make it the only theme I use for all my sites now. I’ve had numerous inquiries as to what themes I use, and this seemed the best way to put the info out there for anyone to use. I hope these posts will help shed some light on my theme selections, and the reasons for them.