Which Theme Did You Choose?

istock_underhoodPart of our job involves helping people choose the right theme for their goals and aspirations. Customers often already have an idea of which theme they’d like to use, but we often have to ask, “Why do you want to use this theme? Is there a reason that you’ve made this your choice?”

In other words, we want to know if clients choose specific themes because they’re popular, or cool, or because all their friends are drooling over the “in” thing these days. The wrong theme choice can often cost people more money than they intended to spend.

The latest trend in blog themes are those that let the user customize many elements or layouts. They’re great, because these themes put control back in the hands of users. Many people rave about Thesis, for example, and it can be a good choice.

Sometimes, though, Thesis isn’t the best choice for the job. We have both praised Thesis to the heavens and cursed it to hell in the same breath while trying to make it do what the client wants it to do – often not what the theme was designed to do in the first place.

The Question of Customizing

Themes can be fully customized from head to toe. Some themes are easy to customize, but of course, doing so requires someone with skills in coding.

Themes like Thesis and Flexx offer better potential for users to customize their own theme, and there’s really no coding knowledge required. But get into heavier customization, and things get tricky.

Some themes are complex. They have multiple CSS style sheets (for your colors, spacing, and all the pretty), and the PhP code (what points to the pretty in the CSS and makes it happen) can often be complicated. With all the PhP, Javascript and other extras required to make these themes easy for users to customize on their own, they become more difficult to customize from the back end.

That costs extra money. Are they really the best theme for the job?

Look Under The Hood

When you want a theme for your site, you need to do more than admire the aesthetics. It’s like buying a car. You need to know what you want in a vehicle, figure out your needs, and then make the choice that gives you what you want.

You need to narrow down your options, visit lots, walk around the car a few times, touch the surface, gaze at the leather seats, and then open the hood to check out the motor.

Do the same when choosing your theme. Try to figure out if the theme will closely fit your needs before you decide to fall in love. If a theme does everything you want, then great! Your only expense is the custom design.

But if you want the theme to do something it wasn’t built or designed to do, you may want to opt for another theme. Decide what you want your site to do, and find a theme that gives you the features and functionalities you want.

Otherwise, it’s almost like buying a Toyota and then paying someone to build a Honda out of it. Why not buy a Honda in the first place?

Now it’s your turn. We’re curious. What theme do you use, why did you choose it, why do you love it, and what do you wish it could do?

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.