Shankar Ganesh

Just another WordPress site

Things to look for in a WordPress theme

with 46 comments

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The following post reflects my personal thoughts and opinions, and is well suited for blogs of a similar niche like mine.

The design of a blog is as much important as it’s content. I believe that a site’s design need not be highly exquisite, but usable. So assuming that you have a WordPress blog or is looking to have one in the future, here’s an article that’ll tell you what you need to look for in a WordPress theme:

  • Cross Browser compatiblity: With browsers popping around, it’s absolutely essential that a WordPress theme should support all popular browsers. Make sure your blog’s design renders well in all major browsers that include IE, Firefox, Opera, etc.
  • Excellent Navigation features: A good WordPress theme should have great navigation support inbuilt, giving visitors full control to move around your blog :P Navigational links should be on the normal places like the list of pages on top, the links to previous and next posts on the bottom of each post, categories and archives listed out on the sidebar etc. Such things will give readers the best experience ever.
  • Widget Compatibility: Widgets can help you a lot, you may need not edit the code using the theme editor – just add bits of code using the Widget interface and voila, there you have the stuff live on your blog.
  • Fast loading: Make sure that the theme doesn’t have any unwanted stuff built in that may increase your blog’s loading time, like too many images, advertisements etc. The faster your blog loads, the greater the chances of a visitor turning into a reader.
  • SEO Optimized: This is a broad thing to discuss.. so let me sum it up in some words. A SEO friendly WordPress theme should have excellent search engine readability, must emphasize on content, pass HTML validation, should display post excerpts on archive and category pages, and do a lot more.
  • Header Image support: Does the theme support easy addition of header logos? Only a few themes have a good preferences page that’ll let you modify the default header image, or add a new one without editing the code.
  • Additional features: Some themes have great features inbuilt, like the displaying of related, latest posts and recent comments in the sidebar. Such features will attract visitors to read more and stay longer on your blog. If you’re a novice, you may need themes that allow you to change colour schemes and fonts easily via a preferences page rather than manually editing the code.

Those were just the things I had in my mind to pour out to you. Do you have anything to add? What do you expect in WordPress themes usually?

Written by admin

June 27th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

  • http://www.nirmaltv.com Nirmal

    I would also look for a 3 col template. Also I would check the amount of customization available, like some themes are fixed and the width cannot be changed. I would prefer a theme which is most flexible for changes.

  • http://www.sizlopedia.com Dj Flush

    Nice post Shankar. These are exactly the themes I am putting in my new theme :P Tigopedia Reloaded 2

    I hope people like it hehe

  • http://www.venukb.com/blog Venu

    I for one use a theme in which the CSS is compressed and this is supposed to improve the page load speeds.

    i am also currently looking for a 3 column theme and would have to factor in the above points you have mentioned.

  • http://www.pallab.net Pallab

    I actually dont like widget. I prefer to modify sidebar.php file manually.
    I also dont like themes which are very narrow (i.e. leave lot of empty space in higher resolutions). I also think its a good idea to settle for 3 coloumn themes.

  • http://technicaltricks.blogspot.com/ luv

    Hey i dnt use worrdpress but can u tel me 4rm whr can i gt blogger templates (3-column)

  • http://www.whoismadhur.com Madhur Kapoor

    Excellent post mate , keep it up .

  • http://www.teknobites.com ram

    Nice post shankar,
    I also prefer 3 column theme. Avoiding external images and widgets will also improve page load time.

  • http://www.kylescove.com Kyle Eslick

    Great post!

    I’ve always been surprised themes don’t come more plugin-ready, so you can just activate the plugins. Many of the plugins “calls” use “if”, so they aren’t hurting anything if the user decides not to download and activate the plugin.

    I also like seeing a 2 column and 3 column version available, but that discussion is for another post. hehe

  • http://blogs.mysites-advisor.com Ken Xu

    I think Bloggingpro theme have a nice widget ready feature. This theme is very clean and nice looking.

    And about SEO ready theme, I use Super-Adsense Theme created by Gobala. This theme is perfect for you when you don’t know how to SEO your wordpress theme… :)

  • http://techyantra.net Beta3

    You said it. Great tips. But the header is not such a big problem. You can change it with little CSS editing. My blogs theme had a header with repeating tiles of images. I replaced it efficiently with just deleting a single line in the CSS. SEO, faster loading and widget support is a big factor while choosing themes. Great posts!

  • http://www.techlivez.com shashank

    good post shankar..
    it will be great if you give examples with the names of the themes…

  • http://www.kuanhoong.com/ kuanhoong

    I think theme that is SEO will save alot of time for the site owner

  • http://deeepak.blogspot.com dEEPAK

    Good tips shankar. I’ll be moving to wordpress soon.. Will look out for these tips while selecting the theme… :)

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com/ Shankar Ganesh

    Glad you guys liked the post.
    @Nirmal: I too prefer 3 column templates.
    @Dj Flush: Looking forward to see your awesome theme.
    @Venu: Hope to see your blog with a new look. The present theme you have is cool too.
    @Luv: There are quite a lot of them, a quick Google search may help.
    @Madhur, Ram, Beta3: Thanks, glad you liked it.
    @Kyle: You’re right on the plugins thing.
    @Ken: Thanks for the info on that SEO theme.
    @Shashank: Hmm.. May be I should update the post with some good themes list.
    @Kuanhoong: Absolutely.
    @Deepak: Good luck regarding the switch :)

  • http://www.siteguide.us Vijay

    I would simply concur with Pallab. I am never comfortable using widgets on my blog. All my editing is manual because I get to learn the code that way as well.

  • http://fresh-perspectives.net pearl

    great points Shankar – I notice you have tried a few themes yourself so may be a list of pros and cons you came across would be a great help too..

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com/ Shankar Ganesh

    @Pallab: Me too. I prefer to edit codes manually like you do.
    @Pearl: Glad you liked it. Hmm.. Will come up with one if possible.

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  • http://techdeep.in/blog dEEPAK

    Hey shankar.. I’ve finally shifted to wordpress. I’ve tried to follow all these points. Do lemme know what do you feel about the theme I’m using..

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com Shankar Ganesh

    Hey! Congrats on the switch. Will drop a comment over there :)

  • http://www.techlivez.com shashank

    Another shifter to wordpress cool…

    i am not also too behind i ve done the work on my new theme for wordpress :D

    you will be able to see a revamped techlivez …soon …
    guess the theme name …

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com/ Shankar Ganesh

    @Shashank: That’s great. Congratz :D

  • http://contents-magic.com/ John Doe

    From a tech blog like yours, I was expecting some real insight to gain, which is not there in this article. These points are there everywhere on the blogs.

    When I visit your blog, I wished to see something strikingly different.

  • http://www.techlivez.com shashank

    Hi Shankar
    check now http://www.techlivez.com
    i think the dns has resolved now.

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com/ Shankar Ganesh

    @John Doe: Thanks for your comment, I’ll do the best to improve the quality of my posts.
    @Shashank: Just dropped by.

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  • http://www.sohbetturkey.net sohbet

    thank

  • http://emlakbroker.blogspot.com jack

    Nice post shankar,
    I also prefer 3 column theme. Avoiding external images and widgets will also improve page load time.

  • http://reytingcanavari.blogspot.com Michael

    I’ve finally shifted to wordpress. I’ve tried to follow all these points. Do lemme know what do you feel about the theme I’m using..

  • http://www.lisem.net Metin

    Thanks for post.

  • http://www.beratcarsi.com Berat

    thanks

  • http://www.altingol.com stoo

    thanks,very nice ;)

  • http://lost-delisi.blogspot.com Online Lost

    Online Lost Season 1-2-3-4

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  • http://www.hakanaltunfan.com hakan altun

    Hakan Altun Fan Club HAFC Hakan Altun Hayranlarinin Bulusma Noktasi.Hakan Altuna ait hersey burada
    http://www.Hakanaltunfan.com

  • http://www.myaklem.net SohbeT

    thanks admin..

  • http://www.magaza.net alisveris

    Widget Compatibility is not good man ya ?

  • http://beststylenew.007webs.com Natalie

    Graet post mate. Keep them coming….

  • http://learn-make-money.blogspot.com Nirose

    thanks for the information

  • CoodiaFrini

    i want to share my free wordpress theme here.

    Preview:
    http://www.elegantthemes.com/preview/eVid/

    Download:
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/6uv0n2

  • http://www.internetmarketingiq.com/ Internet Marketing IQ

    I’m looking for a 980 pixel wide wordpress template with:

    Layout Approximately:

    200 px left column
    480 px center column
    300 px right column

    Tabbed horizontal Navigation

    Widget Friendly
    WP 2.7 Compatible

    Email me if you have a source; thanks

  • http://www.bodyfiberglass.com Mark

    You said it. Great tips. But the header is not such a big problem. You can change it with little CSS editing. My blogs theme had a header with repeating tiles of images. I replaced it efficiently with just deleting a single line in the CSS. SEO, faster loading and widget support is a big factor while choosing themes. Great posts!

  • http://filimleri.blogspot.com filimleri

    thanks good work

  • http://www.atarioyunlari.net ali

    Thanks

  • http://www.filimleri.blogspot.com çizgi filim

    thanks for the information