How To Pick a Theme

Lots and Lots of Choices!

People ask us to pick themes for them. We don’t do it. Why? Because these are highly subjective decisions that are made using a personal matrix or criteria. And at the end of the day there are no rules as to what “works” best for any given website decision.

We have standardized on one type of theme: Genesis. This is a theme “engine” and is  made by Studiio Press. Obviously they make lots of themes that run with their Genesis “engine.”

There are other vendors who make themes compatible with Genesis.

We will also use themes from the major vendors (see our Themes page.)

Only YOU can pick your own theme and you should take your time doing it.


“What is Genesis? What is Studio Press?

Genesis is known as a ‘framework’ or the ‘engine’ for other themes… which are called child themes. Studio Press makes Genesis (which we will get for you… no cost to you.) They also make lots of  themes that are require the Genesis “parent” (framework) theme. Other vendors also make themes that use the Genesis ‘engine.”

“Can I get any theme I want?”

Yes. We’ve suggested several good vendors in addition to Studio Press. If a theme says it requires Genesis, we’ll install it for you, as well as non-Genesis themes.

“With all the theme companies out there, why do you like Studio Press/Genesis so much?”

We looked at a zillion vendors. We like themes that had the same administrative look-and-feel. Thus, when we put up one Genesis theme, putting up another has all the same internal “parts.” This speeds the process, flattens the learning curve, and lets us keep our rates low. More important was finding the vendor that would be around “forever” and Studio Press/Genesis as a long track record in the WordPress community. That said, we will use themes from other vendors.

“Which are their newer themes?”

We are not sure and they don’t tell, but we can find out by looking at the change-log. Often you can tell by going to their blog. Don’t worry, we’ll help you with this.

“How do I pick the theme?”

Go to the Our Themes link on the right sidebar of this page and see the page with some links to themes. Click on any theme screenshot and you will be taken to a page about that theme that has the “specs” and a link for a live demo. Play with the demo. See what colors are available. Does it “feel” right for your needs? Pick a theme that looks good out of the box. Themes can be “bent” (customized) to do almost anything but that is NOT what you want to do. If you want a theme that has a home page of text instead of some small text boxes, find one. Don’t pick a theme and ask us to do major “magic” on it to make it do/look like something it was not designed for. We will do it, but will charge extra for the work. There are plenty of themes. Find the one that works for you as is.

Will my theme be just like the live demo.”

Exact? No, not at all. Similar? Of course. It will have the capability of doing all that the demo does, but for the low price we charge we don’t get into a lot of complexity. Fortunately, using advanced features of the theme is not hard to figure out after you have had a little experience in the WordPress “admin” area (where you enter pages, posts, etc.) Or you can pay their low membership fee and have access to their documents and their excellent online help and answer boards. IMPORTANT: THE PICTURES YOU SEE IN THE THEME DEMOS DO NOT COME WITH THE THEME. YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE YOUR OWN GRAPHICS. WE CAN HELP WITH THAT.

“Do I have to join Studio Press or any vendor?”

No. We have a membership with most that allows us to get any theme for our clients. [/learn_more]

“Once I select a theme, what do I do?”

You tell us the name of it and where it is from. We’ll get the theme for you and install it. [/learn_more]

“Once a theme is installed, can I change themes?”

Yes, but you will have to get it on your own at your own cost. One of the beauties of WordPress is that SOMETIMES it is not too much work to go from one “look” (theme) to another, even if it is a different vendor. However, do understand that some themes have advanced features (like “boxes” or “FAQ drop downs like this page) that others don’t and if a switch is made, some work will ensue in a re-fit. You really should read our page on Changing Themes… link is on the sidebar at right!

What about colors?”

Some themes have virtually unlimited colors (the newer ones.) Others have only a few colors and they tell you on the “stat” page. Some even show screenshots of the landing (home) page in different colors. We can change colors most of the time in most of the sections.

“Is it a blog site or not? Answer is ‘yes’!”

In the old days (four years ago!) WordPress was basically a content management tool for blog sites. Since then it has morphed into a system for all types of sites. Some themes are called “blog sites” because they are engineered to have the first page as a blog… lots of recent postings by people. However, EVERY theme can (and will) have a blog or as we call it a “News” page. If you want your front page to be the blog page you can do that and there are some themes that show that off quite well.

“What is a home page ‘slider’ and must I have one?”

The current fashion in sites is to have a banner or header or whatever you want to call it with a picture and some text as an eye-grabber. This banner CAN BE a slide show where you can have several of them which can be set to “slide” after so many seconds … or be manual. Often the slider is below the banner. We will put up three or four slides for you if you want. You will have to supply us with the pictures (and the text, of course.) If you don’t want the slider you don’t have to have one… some themes don’t have them… any theme can be set to not display it.

“What is the ‘Photo Bar’ in the theme?”

No booze served at the photo bar! This is a bunch of photo links at the bottom of the home page. You will see it on the demo themes. Most people omit this and do it later if at all.

“What is the current Homepage ‘style’ in themes?”

These days, less is more, and white space is valued. The cluttered, busy sites of the past… are the past. These days people go for “minimal” and “elegant” and their home page is usually very short on content… which is designed to lure people to click a link to go “deeper” into the site. Once in, the theory is that people will stay longer and wander around and “get to know you” better. We think it is a good theory.

“I see mentions of  ‘shortcodes’ on the theme ‘spec’ pages?”

These are advanced features that you use to make boxes and drop downs and lots of other fancy constructs. After you have some experience in the “admin” area you may want to incorporate some of these when you figure them out.

“Should I become a ‘member’ of Studio Press or any vendor?”

If you want to get more involved in refining your site and adding different features (see shortcodes above) it would be a good investment to pay their fee so that you can get online help. Also, if you join Studio Press you get ALL of their themes if you want. It’s not just ONE theme for the fee.

“On the site I saw other themes I like. Will you work with those?”

We are able to keep our rates low because we don’t have to go through a long learning curve on each different theme our clients pick. The “internals” of one Genesis theme is similar to the other… just as the internals of one HP or Dell computer is pretty much like the other models. But we will use other themes.  If you have a theme you like just let us know.

“I want a theme with a member login or shopping cart feature?”

A site that requires a member login or e-commerce shopping cart is a level of complexity beyond our basic offering. We WILL do membership sites and e-com sites but expect to spend extra for these features. If you have large store we will put you on a server that is specially designed for e-com .