The largest self-hosted blogging tool on the planet, WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as an Open Source project, meaning it is a community project with contributions from hundreds of creators the world over. Basic WordPress use is free, and WordPress blogs are used by people everywhere as a means of self expression, communication and sharing. WordPress, at its core, is a basic, customization software script that allows people to create and post blog sites without having to learn a lot of complicated programming language. WordPress.com even provides a free hosting service, for those who strictly want to create a simple blog with no commercial benefits.
WordPress Becomes an Industry :
Since WordPress has achieved such tremendous popularity – having been downloaded over 65 million times as of December 2011 – a multitude of designers have emerged, creating all sorts of Theme on WordPress for bloggers to use, in order make their websites stand out from the rest of the pack. A theme allows the user to change the appearance of the website without changing the content, essentially trying on different covers and layouts to see what looks and fits the best.
WordPress.org offers a number of themes free of charge, with still more advanced WordPress themes available for purchase. Beyond the WordPress site, there are literally thousands of graphic designers offering a plethora of new and improved WordPress themes for sale. Many websites also offer free themes as a lure to draw traffic to their sites. Let the buyer beware; many of these themes can be of poor quality, outdated, badly coded or improperly designed.
Pirating of WordPress Themes :
A number of sites are also selling or giving away themes that are not actually theirs to sell or give. Since there are so many free themes available on the internet, the end-user downloading the theme has no idea whether or not it actually may have been pirated, whereas most people are well aware when they are illegally downloading other forms of media such as music or videos.
That being said, if you find the right source, there are many stunning designs available for purchase at entirely reasonable prices. These themes offer a wealth of features that would only have been seen on custom designs costing thousands of dollars not so many years ago, and can make a simple blog site look like an expensive, custom designed website.
Choosing a WordPress Theme :
So how does one go about selecting from the many thousands of WordPress themes that are available? Well, free is logically the best place to start. Most people begin by browsing through the available themes offered at the WordPress.org site when they first download the software. Not finding one to fit the bill or perhaps wishing to be more unique, they then might browse through the ones available for purchase. Whether browsing on WordPress or another designer’s site, it’s important to ensure that your chosen theme’s designer is reputable, and has created many successful WordPress themes that are already in use.
Functionality of Themes :
Something to consider is that free themes usually offer the least amount of functionality. If you want to include add-ons, you may not want to choose a simple one-column blog layout. Most blogs are two or three columns, but some use magazine style themes or photo themes. If you have a specific type of site in mind, it’s often helpful to look up other sites that have similar subject matter and see what kind of layout and functionality they are using in order to get an idea of how you want your site to appear.
When all is said and done, your theme will set the tone for your site. If you want your site to be dramatic, choose bold colors and sharp lines. For an optimistic feeling, bright pastels may be more desirable. Think about the type of content you will be posting and choose a theme that reflects the mood. That is, after all, why they call it a theme.