Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding a theme that meets your needs, part of WordPress DIY: Community Website.
- Communities are as diverse and unique as the people who create them. When building a website for a community, it's important to make sure that diversity is reflected in the design. Fortunately, there are hundreds of free themes in the WordPress Theme Directory that work well for communities, and might work well for your site. The challenge is finding them. In some of the other WordPress DIY courses, I provided a list of themes I think works well for a particular type of site. In this course, I'll give you some search criteria instead to give you a broader range of options.
For a community site, I recommend searching for one of three keywords: community, magazine, or church. Let me show you why. If you go to the WordPress Theme Directory, either by going to wordpress.org/themes, or by going to your site, going to the back end, going to Appearance, and Themes, and clicking Add New, you can make searches for any keyword you want. In my opinion, if you're building a community site, the first keyword you should search for is community. This will bring you all the themes that either have the word community in their title, or the word community in their description, or a tag named community.
What you get is a list of themes that in some fashion are targeted towards community interaction. They typically have a lot of information on the front page, and give you more functionalities, and sidebars, and other places to make it easy to populate the site with different links that point to different places. I tested all the themes you see on this page, and in my opinion, this one called Point is the best candidate. But like I said, all communities are unique, so it's important to test out several themes to figure out which one will work the best for you.
If you don't find a theme you like under the community keyword, try searching for magazine instead. I know that doesn't really sound like it makes sense, because a magazine is a publication and not a community. But the reality is many of the features you want on an online magazine are the same features you would want in a community site. A community site typically has a lot of information on the front page and in the index, which all lead to different places, and it also has really heavy focus on content. That's exactly what a magazine-style site does. Here you have focus on images and text content.
So magazine-style sites might work really well. In fact, in this course, we'll be using a magazine-style theme for our website. Finally, community websites also encompass religious organizations and charities. Many WordPress designers and developers are focusing in on these specific markets. Here it's important to point out that even though I recommend you search for the word church, it doesn't mean that these themes are specifically targeted at Christian websites. They're just websites that are targeted at types of religious organizations.
Regardless of what type of religion you may want to create a website for, a church-style theme might work well for you. In the case of church-style themes, you'll notice that some of these themes are actually charity themes. Some of them are actually magazine theme. That's because of what I mentioned previously. A lot of the features you want in a community-style site will be the same features that you want in other types of sites, like charity sites or magazine-style sites. It's also important to remember that the WordPress Theme Directory has a lot of themes, but there are also themes you can find outside the WordPress Theme Directory, usually for pay, that may serve your purposes.
In my opinion, it's always best to start in the wordpress.org Theme Directory. But if you don't find anything you like here, you might want to venture elsewhere and see what else you can find.
Find more courses in this series in our WordPress DIY playlist.
- Understanding your site goals
- Making a content inventory
- Choosing a theme and plugins
- Configuring the menus and layout
- Extending functionality with plugins
- Adding forums, events, and forms to your website
- Importing WordPress users as community members
- Securing your site and managing spam