I think finding a wordpress theme that you like and want to use is an art. Obviously, you could start designing a wordpress theme from scratch but this takes time, money or software skill.
What I do is first find out what the user likes. Some general things they want to do with their blog. In my sister’s case, she wanted white, simple, with red enhancements. She liked 3 columns too. And she went looking for themes. In the first theme she picked, we found out that we weren’t allowed to customize the footer. Obviously this is the author’s choice and we ended up changing themes because we did want to customize the footer. So here are some suggestions:
- I suggest to go blog hopping to see what catches your eye and write down a list of things you like. (kind of like blog shopping)
- Then go narrow down the themes based on your list, (main color scheme, number of columns, etc.) As I am narrowing down choices, I pay attention to:
- Number of downloads of theme
- User comments on theme (a lot of unhappy people is a bad sign, author commenting or suggesting is a really good sign)
- What version of wordpress the theme works on.
- Read the rules and limitations on the themes you narrowed down.
- Verify the blog theme looks good in IE and Firefox before you start. A well written theme should work in both.
- I do a quick browse through the code, looking to see if:
- is well written
- has comments (nice bonus)
- Lastly, load the theme and start playing with it a little. This is the ultimate test. Don’t be afraid to change themes either. The first theme I picked for digiscrapinfo.com, I realized that we could do better, so I changed the theme.