How to Design a Website Without Graphic Design or Programming Skills: Choosing the Best Professionally Designed Premium WordPress Theme

I have some good news for you.

You can create a beautifully designed website with amazing features even if you don’t possess graphic design skills and don’t have any money on a designer fees.

How?

Your best bet is to look for an existing, professionally designed WordPress Theme and choose the one you like best. Once you install it and activate it, you will have a beautifully designed website that is ready go.

Just fill it with your content, and promote it in the search engines and social media.

Below are some tips on making that happen.

How to Design a Website Without Graphic Design or Programming Skills Whatsoever

If you are looking for a WordPress theme, the good news is that there are literally THOUSANDS of themes available for WordPress. The bad news is that you will have to choose just one for your website (which can be challenging, if you have problems with making choices when presented with too many options, like I often do).

Most of the themes are FREE, which is usually a good thing – believe me, I love free – however, in this case I believe it’s NOT the best way to go.

If you expect quality design and support that will provide answers to your questions, I recommend you purchase your theme template from a respected source. Also, most paid themes come with back-end functionality that free themes don’t provide. For example, some paid themes will allow you to change the colors specify the number and width of sidebars, change your header graphics, add your feedburner id, advertising, analytics code, right from the dashboard (without the need to tweak the code).

Plus, if you end up needing to customize the theme even further, the code of premium themes is usually very clean and easy to work with.

My suggestions for the best premium WordPress themes are:

** Thesis.  I have been using Thesis for a long time now, and I really love it. It works straight out-of-the-box, without any tweaking. The layout is very flexible, allowing you to choose the width of the columns, how many columns you want (1, 2, or 3) and where you want your sidebars to be located (left, or right-hand side). Once you buy it, you will get lifetime updates of the theme – with new features and more powerful features available with every new release. I have to admit, though, the out-of -the-box design is very plain, so you’ll need to spend time tweaking the colors, and designing custom header, if you want a blog design that stands out from the crowd. I also don’t like the fact that there are no footer design options from the admin panel. Plus, Thesis is rather pricey, compared to other themes.

** Elegant Themes.  This site runs on an Elegant Theme. I really love the clean design and rich textures that many of the Elegant Themes use. For $39 subscription price per YEAR for ALL themes, it’s hard to beat the price, too. You will get the Photoshop files too.

** StudioPress. I have used many Studio Press themes, and they are really great, especially for business websites or blogs. They easy to work with, even customizing the html code has been super easy. I love their magazine themes, and especially the Platinum, as well as their theme for realtors, Agent Press. (Read the case study.)

** WooThemes. They provide some free themes on their site, so you can download them and try them to get a sampling of Woo Themes and how they work.

** ThemeForest.  At ThemeForest you can buy HTML templates as well as themes for popular CMS products, with prices ranging from just $5 up to $40.  There are some great WordPress themes on their site, but there are so many of them, that it may give you a headache just trying to find what you need. They are contributed by different authors, so their quality may vary, but the good thing is that you can see how many purchases were made, the average rating that the theme has, and read user comments. In the comments area you may see if the users have any problems with the theme, and whether the author responds to the questions in a promptly.

When choosing a theme for your website, consider:

** What is the main objective of your site? Is it to display your portfolio? Sell a product? Build a list of subscribers? Build an authority blog? Display properties for sale (if you are a real estate agent)? There are themes that are designed with a specific objective in mind.

** Who is your audience?

** Who is your competition and what do their websites look like?

** Is it easy to customize? Keep in mind that you can usually change the header pretty easily. There are some things that may be  harder to change, such as the font, but background color and the header are usually pretty simple to change if you like the theme but hate the color.  Thesis will let you change all these attributes from the dashboard.

** Where will you put your opt-in box?

** Do you want advertising on your site?

** How many sidebars do you want? Are you going to have categories in the sidebar? Are your categories going to be at the top of the page? Do you want them nested? Are your pages going to show up at the top of the page.

** How much content will you have?

** How will your content be organized: where will the categories, pages appear; do you want top navigation menus, etc. For example, if you are planning on having 3 or 4 main categories, with many subcategories, you may want to consider. You can set up each of those categories as a column on the front page and your visitors will be able to navigate quite easily through the content.

** Will you be posting lots of video, audio, pictures? Some themes are specifically designed for video or pictures.

Still can’t decide? Check out your competitor’s sites. What do their websites look like? What features do they use? Where is their opt-in box? Do they use pop-ups?

Of course, you don’t need to obsess about which theme to choose, as with WordPress, changing the theme is super easy.

All you have to do is to upload the theme to the Themes folder of your website, go to the Themes page on your administrator’s dashboard, click Activate, and ta-da, there you have it – a completely new look for your site!

Note: OK, so in reality it’s going to be more work than just that. You will usually have to adjust some settings, because every theme is different. But it’s still super fast, when you consider that you are getting a completely redesigned website!

6 Comments

  1. Jason@Web Design

    I like your guidelines. Especially number 4. One should be able to change your theme as you wish to give visitors a new feel and fresh look every time they visit, well ok not every time but when adding news etc.

  2. Susan

    There are a handful of themes that are free with good coding. They may not be plentiful, but usually those are a good way to get a started on creating a site, before investing the time and money into a premium themes. I recommend using the plugin (TAC) to screen for “malicious” links that may be in any theme.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Under Con =-.

  3. Peter@Radio Advertising

    This is what I needed. The tips on this post is very precise and well explained. I will look unto it more often. I am also fond of searching for a perfect tool that drives traffic to my website. As of now, I am into offline advertising. It works well with me. For example, I’ve had great luck with postcards, display ads, classified ads and recently radio advertising, which I am finding very interesting for driving qualified leads to my business.

  4. Joel@hgh

    Joanna, You missed one powerful theme. Semiologic. Available for free download as well as paid. Don’t know why it isn’t so popular but it is fully flexible and power rich. Just like Thesis.

  5. Kim@hgh

    For me, Thesis and several thesis skins do almost every job. Although there are plenty of wordpress themes in market today. Thesis is loved by hundeds of webmaster because of flexibility it has to offer.
    .-= Kim@hgh´s last blog ..GenF20 Plus Review =-.

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