So you want to start a blog on WordPress. You have your domain, you set up a hosting account and you installed WP. Now you are staring at Twenty Eleven (the WP default theme), but it’s definitely not what you want. You need to make it your own.
What is there to do? Google WordPress themes, of course. You will find an endless (not really, but still very long) list of websites offering both free and premium options. If there were two or three, it wouldn’t be much of a choice and you will be happy with whatever’s available, but what do you do when there are thousands? Follow this guide and it will get a lot easier.
Are you willing to invest?
If you have a few spare bucks, it might be a good idea to opt for a premium theme, especially if you are a beginner. Most premium themes come with strong documentation you will find very useful and, also, they have powerful communities around them.
If you choose to go with a free theme, it all comes to luck and meticulous searching in the end. Be careful, many of them are poorly created, they have no documentation and they could contain cryptic files.
Don’t reinvent the wheel!
If you are a developer or you can find your way in a CSS file, you could make whatever changes you want to the theme. But (and we can’t stress enough the importance of this) you should always make sure the theme is as close as possible to the final result imagined by you. This way, the amount of changes is reduced, and so are your headaches.
With so many people using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet, naturally, you want to provide a flawless UX for all of them. A responsive theme is the best idea.
However, if you truly want a non-responsive theme, make sure you install a mobile version. The easiest way to do this is by installing a plugin. One that works great is WPtouch.
Make sure your future theme integrates all the desired functionalities or, if not, see if certain plugins are supported. You wouldn’t want to work on something which will prove to be useless in the end.
Finally, pay some respect!
Don’t remove the copyright text in the footer, especially if it is a free theme. Some people worked really hard to perfect it, show respect!