A Theme, A Theme, My Kingdom for a Theme!

Buckingham Palace. Found at: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/895736Finding the right look for your blog can be maddening sometimes. When Rhett and I started Epiblogger we searched through a lot of the free themes that are available, knowing full well that whatever theme we choose would still not be perfect and would require touching up. Even after some work on the Mimbo theme there are things that we dislike about it. Eventually we want to have our very own Epiblogger theme created so it will be unique to Epiblogger and be more of what we want. If you are not a PHP/HTML/CSS expert and don’t have a fortune to spend on your very own theme one source of inexpensive WordPress themes to explore are some of the webmaster forums. The two I am most familiar with are DigitalPoint and SitePoint.

If you have searched through the dozens of free WordPress themes sites and can’t find the right theme for your blog you can look through the Freebies section on DigitalPoint. You will probably need to do a search on the freebies section for “WordPress theme” to pull out the latest posts that offer themes you might be interested in. Otherwise you will have to wade through all the desperate attempts to get Dugg and pleas for Stumbles. There are often WordPress themes being offered for free there that are new that you might not have seen on some of the other free WordPress themes sites. The majority of the themes will have links placed in the footer that have either been sold to pay for the theme, or they are looking to advertise there own websites. Make sure you examine those links and sites to find out what you would end up linking to if you use the theme. There might be a website linked there you don’t want to link to. Of course the same can be said for many of the free WordPress theme sites that help distribute WordPress themes. Make sure you check what your site would be linking to if you use the theme you really like.

If you don’t like the idea of linking to sites that bought footer links or helped design the theme and you have a little bit of money to spend you might be able to get a great deal on a unique custom theme that you can have full rights to. That way you can place your own links in the footer of your blog instead of some strangers. On DigitalPoint you will want to browse through the Buy, Sell or Trade – >Templates forum, on SitePoint it is the Template for Sale forum under the Marketplace. Here you will be able to find templates created for all kinds of Content Management Systems, Forum software, Link Directories and of course WordPress. You can do a search for WordPress on the specific forums if you like but the WordPress themes will not be so hard to find. You will find all kinds of WordPress themes for sale in these forums, ranging in price from $50.00 to $200.00 and higher. Some will only be Photoshop files and not coded themes, so make sure you read the description of what is being offered carefully. If you purchase a Photoshop file only you will either have to code it yourself or hire a fantastic PHP/HTML/CSS coder like myself (hint hint) to finish the theme off for you.

What you are looking for, aside from a great looking theme, is in the description of the sale or auction are terms that state that the buyer will get full and unique rights to the theme. This means that you will own that theme and the seller will not resell that theme. You can then do what ever you want with the theme. Sell copies of it, sell your own footer links and offer it for free, place your own links in the footer and offer it for free, and of course use it as your very own custom WordPress theme on your own blog.

If you are new to the Webmaster forums be sure to check the rules about taking part in the buy and sell areas of the forums. Some sellers will not sell to new members. There is also the possibility of being taken advantage of by a seller on one of the boards. Find out all you can about the seller. I know at DigitalPoint the iTrader rating system helps to find out about past deals from sellers and buyers and can be very helpful to avoid a bad seller.

I have seen some fantastic themes go for as little as $50.00 that were fully coded and offered full rights. You might be able to get a great deal and give your blog that unique look you want.

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