Before the tips, a quip:
“In at least one way we [bloggers who make money blogging] are atypical bloggers. That’s because we just keep on posting. The typical blogger, like most people who go on diets and budgets, quits after a few months, weeks, or in many cases, days.” ~ Stephen J. Dubner.
When I purchased my first WordPress theme, I felt like an atypical blogger! There’s something about buying a blog theme and spending money on my blog that increased my motivation and commitment to blogging. If you feel hopeless as a blogger, you’ll find Blogging For Dummies helpful. Those For Dummies books are fantastic – the title slays me, but the content rocks.
And here are several tips for choosing a new theme for your blog…
Need a New WordPress Theme? Tips for Choosing Blog Themes
Take your time – browse your favorite blogs. One of the best ways to find a good blog theme is to pay attention to famous blogs (The Huffington Post), favorite blogs (Quips and Tips for Successful Writers), and professional bloggers’ blogs (ProBlogger). There’s no single secret to creating a successful blog, but the right WordPress theme can increase the chances your visitors will return. And, why reinvent the wheel? I’m not suggesting you copy another blog – I believe bloggers need to create their own niche, style, and modus operandi – but you can see what works.
See the theme in action. When I was thinking about buying this WordPress theme, I found several blogs that already had DaVinci installed (not the demo theme that Solostream offered, but actual real life blogs). I examined those blogs, and may have emailed the blog owners if I hadn’t already purchased WordPress themes from Solostream in the past. But, even though I trust the Solostream theme creators, I tested the theme in “real” life.
Know what you want your blog to do and offer. Make a list of things you’re looking for, and keep it in mind when you’re choosing a blog theme. For instance, I love this theme’s subscribe box, about the author box, flexible widget footer, most recent comments first, and box that houses my “Quips and Tips” blog buttons. One of the best things about this theme is that I can display articles in up to six different categories on the front page. It makes my blog feel more organized, gives me more control, and lets me highlight several different categories or articles.
Consider buying a recently created WordPress theme.I bought the Magazine theme from Solostream two years ago, and was able to customize it the way I want with minimal discomfort. But, the DaVinci theme offers way, way more options for much, much less discomfort. I can set my colors, fonts, sizes, columns, advertisements, and on and on with ease! Whether you choose a free WordPress them or you buy one, make sure it’s a fairly new creation.
Be prepared for the inevitable hitches and glitches. Solostream only started selling this WordPress theme a month ago, which means there’s probably a bug or two that needs to be worked out. For instance, the Popular/Recent/Comments/Archives box sometimes “unfolds” instead of remaining in one tight little package. They’re working on a fix for this. No themes are perfect – not even paid professional WordPress themes! And, themes can be affected by plugins, web hosts, and unfinished html code.
Make sure you can get help from the theme’s creator. This is one of the benefits of buying a professional theme: you can get support if you need it. I don’t know if all WordPress theme creators offer a support forum, but Solostream does – and I don’t know where I’d be without that safety net! When you’re choosing a new WordPress theme, make sure you can get help when you need it.
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Be prepared to invest a bit ‘o sweat equity in your new WordPress theme! It takes time and energy to get your blog theme up and running – and like a house or self-improvement, it’s never really “done.” When I uploaded this new theme, I didn’t get any errors or have any problems (probably in part because I deactivated all my plugins first — don’t forget to do that!). But, my old “H3” font, which I used at the end of several articles, looks terrible on this theme. I don’t have time to tweak all my blog posts, so just have to live with imperfection…and learn to love it!
One last tip for choosing a blog theme: look for automation. The fewer plugins you need to upload, the smoother your blog will run and the less potential there is for problems. This theme has several built-in plugins, which reduces the chance of errors and glitches.
If you have any questions or comments about WordPress blog themes or plugins, please fire away below!