The theme you chose for your wordpress website is highly important. Not only will it allow a site owner to set the experience that a visitor has when using the site, it can also make the management of the site much, much easier.

From my own personal experience, I know that not all WordPress Themes are create equal – and some are far better than others.

Like most WordPress site owners, I started out building my website with WordPress and free themes.  Many free themes are excellent however, I have found a number of issues to consider when using them:

  1. Many free themes have credits linked in the footer of the site and under the Terms of Use for the theme, these credits have to stay in place.  Don’t get me wrong, I think this is great however, for my business websites I really don’t want to link to a 3rd party that I don’t endorse.
  2. Compatibility with different WordPress versions and plugins. All to often, as the version of worpdress updates, or plugins are revised, compatibility issues arise and the site stops displaying correctly.

Throughout 2010, I have worked with a lot of WordPress Themes and thought I would share my fave themes and theme frameworks ….

I should note that when I setup a website using WordPress, I use the Child Theme functionality to allow us to utilise the functionality of the themes, customize the theme and still be able to upgrade the framework when new features are released.

Woo Themes

I was initially attracted to Woo Themes because they are great looking themes.  After buying the developers pack and creating several websites with Woo Themes, I LOVE them.

The framework is easy to work with and customise and the management interface to control how content is displayed on the site is amazing!

I like all the Woo Themes but my favorites, for quickly creating great looking business sites, are:

  1. Sealight
  2. Inspire
  3. Delegate
  4. Fresh News

A site owner can use the Woo Themes ‘straight out of the box’, change the header logo quite easily, update the colors and you’re ready to rock and roll.

StudioPress

I was introduced to StudioPress through a clients site and love the nice clean feel of the design.

StudioPress has it’s own design framework, called Genesis, and many ‘hooks’ to allow a designer to modify the base layout without affecting the framework structure.  This makes upgrading themes considerably easier.

There are currently 30 Studio Press themes that use the Genesis Framework… it’s hard to choose a theme however, my preference (if you want something to get up and running quickly) would be:

  1. Agency
  2. Corporate
  3. Executive
  4. Metric
  5. Serenity (for salons).

Same as Woo Themes, the Studio Press themes can be used ‘straight out of the box’ with a little cutomization.

Thesis

Thesis WordPress ThemeThesis is a framework for wordpress that site developers can use to customize their site using Hooks and Filters.

The basic Thesis site is a little plain however, the framework allows for very powerful customisation.

If you are a DIYer, the Thesis framework may be just for you.  Be prepared for a steepish learning curve, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.

Whilst Thesis can be used ‘straight out of the box’ with a little customization, extra features like additional page templates etc require a little work to understand how it all works.

What Do We Use When Creating Sites

We use a mix…. What the client wants to achieve will determine the approach.  If a client can point to a specific theme layout and say “This One”, then we will use that theme and customise it accordingly.

If a client has a specific layout in mind, that none of the themes meet, we have a base framework based on the Woo Themes framework that we use.

Whatever happens, we can customise a site to a clients requirements.

About the Author acltechteam

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