Let’s face it – when you say “wordpress”, the first thing most people think of is the blue blog of old. The pre-twenty-ten default theme left a lot to desire. With a plain blog look, it just didn’t inspire the kind of creativity that most static website designers have in abundance with less limitations.

So here are a few tips and tricks for making your wordpress theme more fun and creative.

  • Think outside “#content”. If you want to make your theme feel less “linear”, edit the loop to give the individual components different containers.
  • Use jQuery and other javascript frameworks to add neat effects.Give a little pizazz to your page transitions and fade techniques to really make the site sizzle. You can even affect individual portions, collapse portions when not in use, and much more.You can see a demo in progress at my SketchBox theme demonstration.
  • Use Dynamic Sidebars. Nothing makes a site look ordinary more like putting all your plugins in a row. You can use dynamic sidebars to put content in unexpected places, even floating just outside the loop.
  • Though it should go without saying, just for novices’ sake – don’t use tables. While they have certainly had their usefulness in the past, and are occasionally still useful for actually displaying data, tables are quickly becoming an old hat remedy for designing layouts. Use CSS and DIVs for much more flexibility in display, even if the learning curve can be a little steep.
  • Smoothing the edges. Rounding effects can be a simple way to turn a moderate website into a smash hit. As the browser versions progress towards actual W3C compliance as a whole, the “border-radius” property is going to be a built-in player for the vast majority of your users’ browsers. For now, there are workarounds for almost all rounding needs that work across the browers.