Without a doubt, WordPress is one of the most popular blog and website creation tools. That is, WordPress.org which is the WordPress version that is hosted on the hosting company of your choice. WordPress.com is rather limited and is hosted on WordPress own servers. It is free, but you are limited to a small number of themes and the customizations options are limited. As long as you are willing to pay for your own hosting service, ie – Go Daddy, JustHost, MonsterGator, etc., WordPress.org is the way to go.
Most of the top blogs use the WordPress platform. By looking at these blogs, you can see a great variety in their design. In fact, many of them don’t look like blogs themselves, but look like traditional websites.
The reason for this is that WordPress allows users to create their own themes, and upload them to the WordPress website. Many people do this for fun or the good of the community. However, some create what is called a premium theme which is basically a paid version. Some of the themes offer a free starter theme, but a paid version gets you more features.
One of the strengths of WordPress is also a weakness. There are almost too many themes out there. It can get frustrating finding a theme that suits your purposes, especially after reviewing hundreds of similar themes. To eliminate some of the frustration, consider the following:
What do you want in a theme. On one hand, there are people who are just interested in their blog writing, and they want it to look nice. Commercialization or ads do not interest them. On the other hand, there are other people who are interested in their blog, but would also like to make a little money.
This generally involves AdSense, banner ads, etc. However, the placing of these ads (or the HTML code that supports them) on a blog or website is of prime importance to the advertiser, and also to the website owner. You don’t want ads to distract from your website, but complement it.
WordPress accomplishes this by having areas of your blog where you can place widgets. Widgets are basically place holders where you can place a great variety of content. It could include a link page, a poll, a photo, text, or HTML code that generates an ad. However, depending upon the theme, widgets will be in different places and different sizes.
The WordPress database allows you to search for specific elements of themes.
For example, when you search the WordPress database, you will find hundreds of themes that say “ad sense ready.” Many of these themes have only a few widget areas available for ads, and some have as many as 11 different widget areas.
Generally, the more widget areas the better in a theme, because no matter what your purpose, it gives you more flexibility.
Another factor that comes into play is that many themes are highly customizable. Don’t be deceived by the initial appearance, look at the option page before you move on. Many themes have great features, you just need to choose the appropriate option. Background image, color, placement of widget sidebars, etc. are all common things that can be customized.
Finding a theme you like is a trial and error process. However, before you begin, have an idea on what you want to accomplish. Do you want widget space for small rectangle ads? Or do you want widget space that will accommodate skyscraper ads, leaderboard ads, and the other popular banner ad formats? Do you want a widget space that will accommodate a particular photo dimension format?
The process of looking for a theme you like is a daunting task, but if you have a general idea of what you want, it will make the process go faster. With the thousands of WordPress themes out there, you are bound to find one you like.