Okay friends – after scouring the various theme providers for WordPress over the last couple of years and implementing for clients – here’s my love/hate for five themes (by the way, I get the majority of my themes from ThemeForest):
Love: Super visual. This theme allows you to captivate the visitor on the home page with great photography. And, It’s an easy theme to implement.
Hate: Nothing really to hate with this theme.
Love: Again, super visual – if you have a great product that presents well visually or if you’re a photographer – this is a fantastic theme.
Hate: Very structured, not much opportunity to alter the layout. I’m specifically bothered by the way the navigation works – requires the visitor to discover the lefthand bar. Also, because each page supports a huge graphic – page speed is a serious issue.
Love: I think this is one of the best WordPress themes available. It is incredibly flexible, giving the implementer massive control over the layout. It has advanced options that can make any site look more sophisticated.
Hate: It is more complex than other themes. I don’t mind that as long as I’m setting it up, but once you throw it over the wall to your clients, it can be a challenge for them to maintain.
Love: Obviously, I think this is a professional looking theme, as I use it for my business. It is very easy to maintain.
Hate:While I love the look, sometimes I wish I had more control over the home page layout. And, the page was originally supposed to reduce/expand on click to expose more detail on the home page. That function has never worked. I’ve also had trouble using alternate backgrounds.
Love: This is a simple Blog theme for FREE. We use it for some of our topical blogs that are part of the Blog Owners Association. ModelMFG.com listed as an example above is a member blog.
Hate: Hard to hate when it’s free, but it would be nice to have more control over the background, beyond changing color.
If you like the themes I’ve recommended so far, these won’t disappoint:
Google Analytics for WordPress by Joost de Valk
Twitter Facebook Social Share by Kunal Chichkar
WordPress SEO by Joost de Valk
I really don’t think you need more than these plugins. When you add plugins, you increase the risk of a security breach or just plain failure due to incompatibilities. My 2 cents!