It is said that with blogs, content is king. However, it is also said that a picture paints a thousand words. What’s the relevance of all this? This just means that no matter how great your writings on your blog may be, it’s always how your blog looks and how it is designed that will matter strongly in terms of a reader’s first impression.

By design I do not only mean aesthetics. I have always subscribed to the philosophy that design does not only constitute the look of a website, product, gadget, or anything for that matter. Design involves everything from the look, to the feel, to the user experience. And with websites, design also involves the underlying code that powers your site or blog, and that renders how it looks to your readers.

And this is important not only in terms of how your blog looks to the eye of your human readers. Design is also about the underlying structure, which translates to how easy it is for your readers to navigate and read through content, how fast your site loads, and how machines like RSS readers, search engines, and web browsers read the content on your blog.

This site, Free WordPress Themes, is a celebration of good design. We hand-picked a selection of WordPress themes that we think are worth using on your blogs. For this, we have used this criteria:

  • Validates with XHTML standards. For this, at least XHTML 1.0 transitional is sufficient. Of course, we’re not very strict when it comes to compliance, but the best themes out there are those that look good and are coded properly.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. Now this would be subjective. But we do subscribe to some objective measures of “beauty,” like for instance readability. Color schemes and proportion are important in this regard.
  • Usability. A pretty site is useless if it is not navigable and if it is not usable in general. We easily get turned off by sites that make it difficult for the reader to find what he’s looking for.
  • Helpfulness of the theme author. We like it when a theme author gives good support to his/her theme’s users. For instance, themes that use images should have raw files packaged, so the end-user can easily make modifications on Photoshop or some other raster-graphics editing app. Don’t you think so, too?

For now, we’re still working on populating our database of themes, and making sure these all meet our criteria (we’re only humans, though, so we still make mistakes). Free WordPress Themes is never a finished product–we’re always improving, always developing, always thinking of new ideas. What’s important is that we exist to serve the blogging community. We hope you come share in our celebration of great WordPress themes!