I often work off WordPress templates and then tweak them to create a “almost custom cost effective” website. The benefits of using a premade template:
- Templates are cost effective and don’t require paying for a graphic designer to come up.
- Templates give a lot of functionality that can take time to build into a custom template.
- Typography (different headings, lists with icons, highlighting, tables, quotes)
- Widget/Module variations
- Nice menu systems
- Hiring someone to tweak the template to get a custom look can be very cost effective.
Some of my favorite places to shop for WordPress themes in no particular order:
- Themeforest Be selective not all templates are created equally here. I read reviews and pay attention to sales/ratings.)
- Mojo themes Have not purchased from here yet, but they have an interesting selection.
- Headway theme for drag & drop, design customization, for a classic type site
Looking for a theme and identifying what you need:
- Think of your colors and logo
- Look/Tone (modern, classic, artsy, etc.)
- White with darker text or Dark with whiter text
- Do you like fixed or dynamic (fixed is a constant width and dynamic spreads out as window is made larger.)
- Templates are classified into a few categories: Blog, Portfolio, CMS/Business Focus on the category to narrow the selection to look at.
With a template, sometimes its hard to determine what your site will look like with your content and logo.
- The look/tone is set with the theme.
- Try look for a theme in the general color categories. Its easier to tweak a blue to the right color blue plus the accents of the template usually go with the main color.
- The menu items will change but the general look of the menu will stay the same. In the template, look at the horizontal menu and make sure you like the look and feel. Try also to find what a vertical menu will look like. Its definitely harder to change the look of a menu.
- If the template doesn’t have room for your header/logo, this is usually a pretty small change.
- Graphics as the background are small change and usually pretty easy.
- Fonts are easy to swap/change.
- Look at the titles of the blocks as well as what the blocks look like. Are they outlined? Do you like the titles & the graphics.
- Look at the typography, module variations, positions that things can go. A good template will include most if not all.
- Some templates offer multiple color styles. Make sure you check them all out.
- Sometimes templates have a lot going on. Many templates have a bunch of positions to put content/stuff. With most templates, if you don’t put something in a position is compresses/disappears.
- Functionality. WordPress makes it easy to add functionality (such as slideshow) so don’t get too hung on functionality. But if the functionality you want is a portfolio showcasing your work, definitely look for a wordpress theme with that functionality.