WP Themes: So many its hard to choose, or at least it is for me.

Posted: March 1, 2010 in blogging, website design, Wordpress
Tags: , ,

Change. Nothing stays the same.” – Van Halen

One of the great things about using WordPress is the ability to change your website’s theme easily. (Well, relatively easily, but more on that later). Unfortunately, one of the best things may also be one of the worse if you are like me and can’t quite find the theme that is just right. Hence the changing from time to time.  I don’t believe in change for changes sake, but sometimes change is necessary due to updates in technology, enabling a new specific purpose, or one of my favorite reasons – to keep things fresh. Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time will have seen the changes, whether it’s from different formats, different programs, or just different themes.

One of the reasons I changed to WordPress was to stop coding or at least reduce it.  Apple’s iWeb was supposed to take away all that and just make it simple for you. I found it a little too limited and didn’t give me the end look I wanted.  RapidWeaver was fine but i didn’t want to be tied to one particular machine when inspiration hit, and even then i found myself doing a fair bit of coding regardless of the fact it is a WYSIWYG editor.  I’ve heard the expression that “code is poetry”, but for me coding was just a way to get the message across. The artistry of the blog is the writing, the message, not so much how you got it to look a certain way. However, even in using WordPress, it’s good to know enough HTML code to enable you to change a color, or a linetype, or font, especially when you start using plug-ins and widgets because sometimes those need to be tweaked to suit your specific desired look.  Finding a good bone structure to start with is really the most important part of settling on a theme, the rest can be massaged into your specific mental image.

I have no complaint with WP itself, its well designed and allows so many people the ability to create themes that are featured by WordPress as well as many other sites once you start searching for them. You can spend hours searching through them, believe me, i have. Many are just minor variations on a common look or very specific in their nature, for instance, if your blog was about flowers and well, nature. To paraphrase Apple… “there’s a theme for that”.

For me, if a WordPress theme isn’t editable or customizable it’s really not going to work.  For example,  I want my blog header to be in lowercase –  it’s just my thing.  I found some themes look really nice until I realize I can’t change something like the header which makes it unusable for me so I move on.  Some themes, its relatively simple. You open the Appearance tab, and the Editor and go into the header file, or footer file, depending upon what you want to adjust and edit it using simple HTML code.  Save the file and you’re done, as long as you got the code right that is.  I did that with the theme below – i didn’t like the fonts the header was using, so i changed it but afterwards, decided i didn’t like the cutesy twitter bird anyway and it only lasted a day or so as my blog’s theme.

After a fair bit of searching i stumbled across a theme that had most of the components and basic look i desired.  The header was uppercase so i edited that, and another goofy thing was the way it handled images and subsequent text, nothing a quick edit of the image file couldn’t fix.

I just added the text to the graphic i had drawn so it would not matter how or where it was viewed.

Sometimes its helpful to view the theme on more than one computer with more than one browser too.  Some quirks, errors or “features” may not be evident until you’ve looked at your site a few different ways.  I’ve found more than one theme that looked great on a Windows PC but really sucked on my Mac or vice-versa.

All in all, the changing of the themes that I’ve done over the last year or so never would have been so easy without the use of WordPress. As i said earlier, sometimes you just need to change to keep it fresh and as such i’m certain the current theme won’t be the last, its just the one in tune with the look i want right now. Besides, when its so easy to tweak and adjust and revise, who can resist, and really, why would you try to.



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