What to look for in a website theme
Themes make wordpress sites simple to set up. I get a number of mine from http://themeforest.net but the problem is that they all look like the perfect site, if only I could get them to look that way with my content. It doesn’t happen, and you almost never have the right type of content to match what is shown, but the good news is that these are just the starting blocks for making an amazing unique website. Make sure you find the features that you need in a website, and ignore ones that are eye candy, but not useful to your purpose.
Think about the purpose of your website, who the target audience is, and what features are going to show off to them. Do you have an artist that has lots of images? Probably want some kind of portfolio. Musician? Your going to need to be able to show off samples of their music, either be thinking about a plugin, or of a theme with it built in. Colors are easily changed, but the tone of the site doesn’t. For example, if it is a vibrant theme with lots of movement, it will be hard to remove that feel, and you shouldn’t want to. If it’s green and you want it blue, that should be some easy css fun, or even theme options if it is built that way.
Check users rating and complaints. If there is nothing but arguing in the comments, you probably don’t need the head ache of dealing with whatever problem they were having. That being said, some people really have no idea what they are talking about, and just create problems on the comment section. Ignore those people.
Look for documentation. Sometimes themes allow you to look at their documentation before you purchase them, and you can see if it it is going to be easy to use. Some themes have their own way of dealing with things that aren’t the easiest to deal with – perhaps a slider plugin that you don’t enjoy.
Other then that; copy a screen shot into photoshop, and copy paste some of your own content over top. Does it work with it? Do you have enough content to fill all of the content areas? Is the site to big or small?
When all else fails, skeleton themes (pretty much blank theme templates), all you to fully customize a site without any of the extra stuff that you don’t need. It helps to have a photoshop file to work from for what you want it to look like in the end. Don’t try and make it on the fly, as you probably wont end up with a piece that flows naturally together.