Blog Themes: Is There Really a “Right Theme” for My Blog?
WordPress themes — there are literally tens of thousands of them available today. Nevertheless, not all of them can suit your blog perfectly. Some may be too “busy” for your blog’s topic, while others may not have all the features that you need.
Even though there are lots of themes out there, you can’t just pick a random one and use that on your blog. You have to choose carefully. How? You should look for certain things in the theme, and of course weigh the pros and cons of the theme. Does it have this? Does it have that? Are the footer links a hindrance to my success? Questions along those lines. 😉
Today, I’m going to focus on what things you should look for in WordPress themes. These are the things that I usually look for, so if you think I missed something, feel free to add more to this list by commenting. I’m always open to suggestions and all that.
What to Look for in WordPress Themes
Fast loading time – While the loading speed of blogs is most likely affected by the widgets and “accessories” being placed by the owner, themes also play a role in increasing the loading speed of a blog. If the theme uses too much images (or images which are big in file size), then don’t consider using that theme. Your visitors would be bored to death waiting for your blog to load and that’s not a great thing.
Widget-ready feature – Almost all the WordPress themes today are widget-ready already. However, there are still some which are left behind in time and don’t have the capability to have widgets placed. If I were you, I’d choose a widget-ready theme to save myself loads of time in configuring/styling my blog.
Search engine optimized code – Well, let’s face it, not all of us can read and understand the coding structure. To give you a hint, view the source code and see if the content appears somewhere on top of the code (not necessarily the first, ’cause the header appears before the content itself). Make sure that the sidebar stuff don’t appear first than the content itself, otherwise your blog might have problems getting into good positions in the SERPs.
Valid markup – It’s not really necessary, but some people consider valid XHTML/CSS markup when judging a site. I don’t know why, maybe they’re just obsessive-compulsive or what. Some people also believe that Google (as well as other search engines) prefers blogs which have a semantically valid code. I myself don’t believe that but just to be safe, it’s better to have a well-coded theme.
Prominent advertisement spots – Some blogs may not need ad spots, but since most of you are internet entrepreneurs and would like to make money, then choose a theme which allows you to place ads on visible and prominent spots. Don’t get a theme which has a little 88×31 ad space near the footer! Try getting a theme which has a place for a full banner (468×60) or maybe a 125×125 square ad.
Clean design and layout – I am not a fan of “busy” themes, so clean and simple designs work well for me. It’s better to have neat layouts since most people are going to your blog to read your content; they most likely won’t care if you’ve got a very extravagant background image. Besides, the neater your blog, the easier it is for everyone to read your posts.
Colors which suit your blog’s topic well – If you’re writing about business, then avoid using rainbow-colored themes. That would make you look like a total idiot. Make sure that you’re going to be using a theme which matches your blog’s topic very well. For example, if you run an environment-related blog, then green is your best bet.
These are the things that I usually look for in free/premium WordPress themes. Hopefully you’ll be able to choose more wisely now, eh?
Please take note, I highly suggest that you get a custom theme done instead of downloading free themes from a theme site. If you’re still having second thoughts, I suggest you read this post from ThouShallBlog.com.
Clean layouts, feature-rich (but not overdone), and optimized themes are the best choices. Make sure that you choose a theme that suits your topic well — like, don’t use a cartoony theme for a real estate blog! Choosing the right theme will make your blog more reader-friendly and people will really feel what you’re writing about.
P.S. As I said, I’m going to hire a designer to create themes for me and I’ll be distributing them for free (of course with my link. 😈 ). Let me know what style of themes you prefer. Grunge? MMO-like (with ad spaces and all that)? Abstract? Kiddish? Colorful? Just leave comments on this post.
P.P.S. I promise to publish a post which is more internet marketing or probably entrepreneurship inclined during the weekend. This week’s just very hectic for me so I ended up writing something about blogging. Nonetheless, this one’s still a useful post for you since most of you are bloggers anyway.