If you know anything about me, you know I always recommend the WordPress platform to people looking to get their own website or blog up and running fast.  You also may know that I use and highly recommend the Thesis theme.  What’s a theme? A theme with regard to WordPress is just a way to alter and customize the design, look and presentation of your WordPress site.

Once you’ve installed WordPress, by default you will have one of WordPress’ own standard, pretty ho-hum themes out of the box.  In most cases, you’ll want to find something a bit more unique beyond just sticking with the default.

Luckily, you have tons of choices, and you can go with a free theme or pay for a premium one.  There are countless free themes available and you are likely to find one that fits the vision you have of the way your site should look.

So, why would anyone ever pay for a theme when there are so many free themes available?  A big reason is that you may find yourself wanting to customize your site down the road and it can be time-consuming and frustrating to try and “hack” your theme in order to do so.

The alternative is to purchase a premium theme, which is usually priced in the $30-100 range for a single-use license.   Premium themes often include lots of options making it easy to customize, plus available support and documentation if you end up with questions or issues.

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

When I first started using WordPress I created a few sites using free themes but decided to go premium when I launched my current site for the very reasons I listed above.  The theme I chose is the Thesis theme for its clean, professional look, strong, built-in SEO and active and helpful support forum. (Full disclosure: yes, that is an affiliate link.)

The cost for the one-site personal option is $87.  I have been extremely happy with Thesis and countless other business owners have been as well—it has an absolutely stellar reputation.

Of course this is just a tiny sampling, but some examples of other popular and well-regarded premium themes include:

The Station
WordPress Remix
Over Easy

It will really come down to what type of business you have, what image you are trying to project and how much you are willing to spend—however, there is definitely no shortage of choices.

Even if you have found a free or premium theme that you love, there may still be some customized details you would like to have added. If graphic design isn’t your strong suit, there are plenty of talented people out there who can create exactly what it is you need to enhance the look of your blog—and make your vision a reality.  I went this route myself, having a header and some buttons designed to “dress up” my theme.

Ready to pick yours? WordPress has their own free theme directory and it’s a great place to start.  If none of those strike your fancy you can browse a list of premium themes here.  Be prepared to spend some time going through the myriad choices…or, you can just make it easy on yourself and start rocking Thesis and be on your way (hint, hint).  🙂

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