WordPress comes with a bunch of themes: more can be downloaded. The choice not only depends on aesthetics but also on features.
- The number of columns in a theme is usually fixed: you have themes with 1, 2 and 3 columns.
- Some look good but are not widget ready.
- Some provide lots of options for customization, which may require editing php code.
- Some work very well when you zoom: You get a horizontal scroll bar and nothing is truncated. Some (like “1 Blog Theme”) don’t use horizontal scrollbar and tags get truncated and also trample over each other.
- Some use nice fonts and some dont.
- Some highlight quotes using one or two vertical lines, others highlight the background with a different color.
- Some show the entire content of all the articles and don’t have an option to show only the excerpts.
- Some allow categories to be displayed with their hierarchy, others show all of them on the same level.
- Some (like Mandiva) have several color options: you can choose one color option or have a random color every time a page is retrieved.
Due to the reasons mentioned above, it is difficult to choose a theme as there are so many factors to consider. You can certainly try them one by one, but visitors to your website will be subjected to your theme experimentation. What we need is a way for the blog admin to be able to try out a bunch of themes where the selected test theme only shows up on his browser; all others (not logged in as admin) should see the default theme. After downloading and testing a bunch of themes, you can decide on one and make that the default theme which everyone will see. I stumbled upon a plugin that does this. You can read about it and download it from here.