Does any of the following describe you?
- You don’t know how to code
- You don’t have a big budget
- You want to love the look of your new site
- You don’t want to be locked into a platform
- You don’t really know what you’re doing, but you heard WordPress was the way to go
- All of the above
“All of the above” is the answer I would have picked starting out, so you aren’t alone.
I eventually built some great looking sites, and—you know what? I still don’t know how to code. As a content guy, I don’t plan to learn to code, although I’m absorbing more and more as I become more immersed in the WordPress community.
Evermore curates themes for you, so you don’t have to go hunting for something quality. But, if you’ve got more of a DIY spirit (and plenty of time), or Evermore isn’t right for you, I want you to be equipped to select a good theme. It’s not easy, but you can do it!
I’ll cover the specifics of WordPress theme selection in future articles, but for now, here are four mistakes you must avoid if you want to have success moving forward.
Mistake #1: Oversimplifying Theme Selection
Most beginners believe the myth that choosing the theme is the easy part. In fact, choosing the theme is the hard part. It’s true! You actually have to know what you’re doing to choose a theme without creating problems down the road.
This myth causes people to make a lot of mistakes, but you can move forward confidently if you avoid these next three.
Mistake #2 – Failing to Get Help
For most people, Google won’t cut it.
Looking back at how long I struggled to learn my way around the world of WordPress, I wish I would have swallowed my pride sooner and gone to Cliff, my current business partner, and asked, “I need a site for X, how do I go about picking a theme?” Cliff is a WordPress expert.
As Cliff was showing me what would end up being my theme, I was thinking to myself, “This theme doesn’t look awesome at all.” Rather, it was quite plain. However, once the content was in it looked great, but how would I have ever known that?
I happened to know Cliff, but what if you don’t know someone who can help you?
Mistake #3 – Failing to Identify the Gatekeepers of Quality
You need to find the WordPress experts you can trust with advice you can use to move forward or you’ll end up stuck and frustrated. WordPress is open source, and anytime anyone can create anything, the need inevitably arises for experts who guide us to quality.
I can think of no one in the WordPress community who fills this role better than Chris Lema, particularly for beginners. Read his articles about themes.
That’s just one example. There’s another place you should be looking for experts.
Mistake #4 – Failing to Take Advantage of WordCamps
WordCamps are weekend events where local WordPress experts give presentations on everything WordPress—from a beginner level all the way to expert. These WordCamp presentations are usually recorded and posted to WordPress.tv.
In my opinion, this is by far the best place to go for honest and timely advice on:
- Theme types
- Making theme decisions
- Advice on finding reputable theme companies
You can attend a local WordCamp, or watch the presentations online for free when the WordCamp is over. That’s a seriously good deal.
If there’s no WordCamp coming to your area in the near future, get involved in WordPress meetups.
So, before you start looking at all the pretty themes and imagining how cool your site is going to be, find some informative, theme-related presentations on WordPress.tv, and see how you can get involved in WordCamps and meetups.
Time & Tinkering
Again, you can use information like this to get a great site up without Evermore and for next-to-nothing. It’s totally possible, even for the non-technically gifted like me.
It all comes down to time. You’ll need time to consciously avoid these mistakes, make a decision, (likely) learn some new technology, and get everything set up on your host. If you have enough time, you can do a lot of things, but is it worth it?
That depends. We built Evermore to provide you a site worth thousands for a fraction of the cost and in a short amount of time. Our goal is to put you in charge of your content with all the support you need and none of the hassle.
Still want to tinker? Good, it’s fun! Keep learning, ask questions, take your time, and you’ll end up with something great.
Stay tuned, and we’ll provide you our recommendations for trusted theme providers.