In the previous article in this series you learned what’s involved in creating a maintenance page for your WordPress site. Next step, you’re going to change the look and feel of your site by selecting a theme. In this article, you will learn to:
Here’s a chance for you to get creative and build a site that will be a joy for people to read.
In order to complete this tutorial, you will need hosting. InMotion Hosting’s WordPress Hosting gives you fast and easy all-in-one WordPress solution.
Since you are building a movie review site, you will probably want to pick a theme that favors easily readable text. This means an attractive font, good spacing between paragraphs and letters, and probably some white space around the text. Try to avoid themes that clutter up the layout with too many sidebars and widgets. It’s your call, but try to remember that you want the look of your site to encourage your readers to keep reading. The more time people spend on your site the better.
Tip: before you even start to sample themes, take a moment to stop and think. Make a list of websites you like and observe their content layout. What styles do you like? What do you dislike? This sort of research will help tremendously when it comes time to pick your own theme.
Themes are available for free (and some premium) on the WordPress theme marketplace. All you need to do is install a theme on your website and preview it or activate it. You can install and try out as many themes as you want. But you can only activate one at a time. For example, you can’t have multiples themes installed and use a different theme for each page.
You’ll notice as you sift through free themes that they share a lot of common features. Likewise, thousands of people will be using the same theme. This can give your WordPress site a generic quality and make it harder for you to distinguish yourself.
This is why there exists a large market for premium themes and theme builder plugins like these:
And there are many more. These plugins come with either free and paid versions or exclusively paid features. So you will need to carefully consider your budget and options.
If you decide to use a stock theme, don’t feel as though you’re stuck. There are many highly successful blogs out there that use free WordPress themes. What distinguishes your site is the content—not the look. So you can stand out whether you choose free or paid themes. It all comes down to the quality of your content.
Remember, you also have the option of building a theme yourself. There are plenty of books on the subject that will walk you through the process step by step, or you could start with online resources like the WordPress theme developer handbook.
In order to build a theme you must be familiar with these programming languages:
A solid working knowledge of those languages will help you in the building process. Remember you also have support out there. Almost every major city has a WordPress meetup where you can get advice from other users, both professionals and hobbyists.
You could also hire a developer to build a theme to your exact specifications. This is a more expensive option because you are paying someone else for their labor. But it may save you some time.
Stay tuned for the next article in the series, in which you will learn about the logistics of tracking your website’s success.