Good WordPress theme inside and outside


Performancing is running small giveaway to celebrate Premium Themes Club launch and they are looking for answers to question what makes a good WordPress theme.

I give this some thought now and then because one can hardly have a good theme without knowing what it is, right?


When bloggers and theme developers talk about WordPress themes there are a lot of buzz words flying around. Good clean code, options pages, customization potential, moving on to frameworks, SEO-optimized layouts, etc.

It is all good and important things when you will spend week (months) tinkering and getting those the way you want them to work and look.

It is also similar to sawing a tree instead of enjoying the forest.


Publishers (me included) often manage to forget that most important in theme is what visitor sees and feels. Visitor is going to see result without all that nifty coding and hours of work inside of it.

I had only worked with single theme on inside but I had seen hundreds and as visitor these are things I value most:

  • easy to read because in the end it is all about content and theme must never obstruct that;
  • easy to navigate because confusion is last reaction either publisher or reader want;
  • visual impact that can be achieved in hundreds ways but is so often overlooked and forgotten, something that will make visitor remember and think oh, that blog!


There is no such thing as ideal WordPress theme. However combining good development practices with clear purpose without forgetting what visitor wants can produce terrific results.

Disclosure. This post was written for What Makes a Good WordPress Theme giveaway.

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  • Lyndi #

    I agree with you but I would add that the blog owner also has to really enjoy the theme as well. The owner will be staring at the thing more than most so he/she had better like it.
  • Rarst #

    @Lyndi Well if owner likes his theme but it is unreadable crap - he can enjoy it all he wants... In dark, cold and lonely corner of Internet. :)
  • MK #

    A Wordpress theme might also affect one's mode to write. When I changed to a theme with smaller typography, I felt more encouraged to write more short posts - thus keeping my blog more frequently updated. However, when it comes to the appearance - author and (end-)users tends to disagree. A template that we call minimalistic and clean, might be regarded as plain and boring by them. Take Minima in Blogspot template for example. I'm still working on a template that will satisfy both. That, if can get my CSS skill more polished =)
  • Rarst #

    @MK Sometimes it is hard to show restrain and keep your vision over what people tell you about blog looks. I had been numerously told that my blog looks boring. I am aware of that interpretation but that doesn't mean I have to act on it just to please people who prefer more lively designs. And sacrifice my own ideas of how my blog should look like.