I learned a lot today, mainly that a lot of themes are broken and you can't fix them, at least within a reasonable time when it comes to the ROI. I know enough about php to be dangerous, but unfortunately so do the developers of many free themes.
I'm working with Revolution and Structured themes for future projects but all I needed was something that worked for the niche that I was concentrating on at the time. I'll have to start a thread about where to get free themes because I must have seen them all today.
Oh yeah, I promised what I've learned...
* If you're in IM and want to sell 125x125 ads eventually or just use them for affiliate offers there are a lot of nice themes available, there are also a few with the Opt-in box top center.
* If you don't mind a simple header with just the facts and 1 or 2 sidebars so everything is above the fold, there are a few that really work for that.
* The very theme that fits your niche that you really, really, like...will be coded by a moron that didn't even consider that you might want a dynamic sidebar, or worse yet, the fonts will either be so small or......
So I guess I'll have to make do or learn to do some heavy mods. I learned about adding multiple sidebars and editing headers and locating sidebar widgets for SEO, but I'll be damned if I can find that "missing includes call in line 27" that the proud owner forgot to test.
This is my IMHO:
* Find a theme that has a left sidebar and put either the "Posts" or "Pages" widget first and SEO the names because the spiders see this first after the header <H1> and <H2> heads.
* Make sure the theme displays your blogname and description rather than just a header jpg. If you must use a jpg for your header image, make sure you're using All-In-One-SEO-pack to describe the name and description of the blog. Also, use the 'alt' description for the image.
* If your theme is "fixed width", make sure it's wide enough that your posts are wide enough to be interesting, but not so narrow that they look like a newspaper column ad. But, you have to balance that with the width of most people's screen so they don't have to scroll to see the sidebar. Another reason to get a left sidebar.
OK, the beers are kicking in, and I could go on forever, so let's see if anyone has any opinions on my thoughts.