The Blogable A-Z ~ T for Themes… searching & choosing

An image with nine computer screens, each with a different theme, to go with our post about searching and choosing a new theme for your site.

Many times in the past eleven years, and especially since I went self-hosted in February 2012, I had fell into the trap of searching for a new theme. There are so many themes out there, and once you start searching, the next one always looks better than the one you have just decided: this is it!. And there you are, back in the maze again!

But, if you go about this in a structured way, searching for a theme and choosing one, might just be a lot easier and keep you from getting lost in the maze.

What to do before you start searching

You probably have visited quite a number of website in your life, not only blogs, but news sites, business sites, personal sites, and more. This means you already know which sites you like to visit, not because of the content, but because of the way the website is structured. For instance:

  • It’s easy to navigate – you can easily find what you are looking for.
  • The site is pleasant to look at – the colors used are easy on the eye, the font is easy to read, images are large enough to see what’s on them.

Now take a piece of paper, and draw what you want your website to look like. Yes, I mean it, draw it. Think about the header, the logo, the menu, the sidebar (if you want one), elements on the home page if you don’t want your blog posts to be your home page, the footer, whether you want social media links somewhere on the page, etc. Envision your website.

Take another piece of paper, look at your drawing, and start jotting down keywords that describe your website, for example:

  • Magazine, logo, blue accent color, menu, no sidebar, blocks; or
  • Blog posts with large image, sidebar, menu, footer; or
  • Blog posts in masonry grid, sidebar on single posts, menu, logo; or
  • Business page, columns, logo, social media links, maps; or

You get the idea…

Now start searching

Once you have your keywords, start searching for themes. Say for instance you want a magazine theme, then that’s your search term: ‘wordpress magazine theme’. You can also do ‘wordpress magazine theme blue’. Yes, you will get a lot of hits, but focusing on your keywords – you wanted a blue accent color, a menu, no sidebar, blocks – will make you focus on that, and browse through the themes quicker.

Knowing what you want, makes it easier to focus. When I looked for a new theme for Rebel’s Notes, I knew I wanted a magazine style theme, with red accent colors, simply because over the years that has become my signature color. Every theme I came across that had other colors which couldn’t be changed, I ignored. Had I not known I wanted red, I would’ve clicked all those themes, to investigate further.

Make a long list, then a short one

More lists? Yep!

Make a list of about ten themes you want to try. Remember to save the links too, so you can look at the theme demo again. Look at all those themes on your list again, but look ‘deeper’. What are the functions they offer. Is it something you want, or are you looking for something specific but the theme can’t offer you that.

Work through the themes, and shorten your list to six or five.

Repeat the exercise until you have two or three themes on it. Now try those themes – I recommend trying them on a test website, not on your live site. Of course, when you are just setting up your website, you can do the testing on your live site.

Trying the themes out on a test site has two benefits:

  • You know for sure whether this is the meme you want to use, and;
  • You get to know the theme.

More theme posts

I have written about themes before, and those posts might help you too when searching for a theme:

Happy theme hunting!

Image from Pixabay

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