How to Choose a Theme for Your New Blog
Deciding to start a blog, then registering the web space on which to do so, is the first crucial step into the blogosphere. But the initial planning and execution hits an abrupt speed bump at almost the exact moment you sign up for your blogging platform and register your blog’s name. At about that moment, you are asked to choose a theme for your new blog.
And there are lots of themes from which to choose.
Think of a blog theme as a kind of web site builder for your blog. You have to choose a great blog theme because, no matter how good the content of your blog, if it looks like some old Angelfire or Geocities (raise your hand if you are old enough to remember those!) site, you will drive visitors away from your site, which defeats whatever purpose you have determined for your blog and undercut your business goals. In an ever increasingly crowded online space it just gets harder to stand out in the ever widening field blog space. Let’s face it, it is hard for a new blog to attract attention. However, with a good blog theme, together with your own great content, it can be done.
This can be a daunting prospect when you are are just learning how to start a blog or how to build a website and it seems that new blog templates present new options all the time. However, as is the case in many areas of life, the best advice is to keep things simple (you know, K.I.S.S.: “keep it simple, stupid!”). Indeed, sage advice for choosing a blog theme includes a handful of pointers that have stood the test of time.
Let’s take a look at five important things to keep in mind when it is time to choose a theme for a new blog site.
Unlike the printed page, reading from a screen is slightly more taxing on the human eye. This means that words presented on a screen should be optimized for high readability, and the theme comes into play at this point.
Every aspect of the page should facilitate high readability, because text that is hard on the eyes or illegible will repel, rather than attract, readers.
Here are the main things to think about int terms of text readability for your theme:
Text Color: Have you ever seen a web page that had extremely harsh or contrasting background colors (worse still, wallpaper with shapes!) that obscure text? To the reader, this is not worth the effort. Any theme with a font color that is too harsh to read should be avoided. As a side note, pay careful attention to many of the blogs that you read and you will likely note that much of the text on the Internet is actually a dark shade of gray, rather than black. The gray-on-white theme, especially on text-heavy blogs, makes for easier reading than black text against a white background, at least for many readers.
Font: The font of your theme is an ideal place to keep it truly simple. Basic fonts like Arial and Times New Roman are ideal because they are likely to load correctly and format properly in most modern browser applications. Your readers’ eyes are also likely to have seen common fonts for years on the Web, so reading pages consisting of common fonts will be effortless for them.
Line Spacing: Choosing a theme that features double spaced text is the best way to ensure that readers have no trouble reading each paragraph. Text that is too bunched together is a pain to read and text that is too far part can obstruct the reader’s ability to discern your message, which can be equally defeating.
Avoid Indentation: You will also want to avoid a theme that automatically indents every paragraph, as that outdated technique is to be avoided because it scores poorly on readability tests. Look aroudn the web… see any indents? Not too likely.
- Mobile Readiness
A huge percentage of the page views on the web come from mobile sources in this era. As such, you will want to be certain that the theme you choose for your next blog is mobile ready. If your theme takes too long to load on mobile devices, or simply will not load at all, you will lose all that mobile traffic. So be sure you not only choose a theme that is described as being mobile ready but also test your content on several mobile devices, before settling on a theme.
A static theme that has no way to add new features, buttons, slides, or other objects is to be avoided. The trends in the blogosphere tend to grow and change, so look for a blog theme that can change with the time through customizations.
Some basic level of customization is expected because even the best theme that closely matches with your vision for your blog will still need tweaking. You should look for a theme that lets you change the color palette and the sizing of tables, as well as the color of hyper-links and visited links, among other things. You really can’t have too many options for customizations, even if you do not choose to use all the available options at your disposal.
Customizable aspects can take a good blog theme and turn it into a great blog theme. That, in turn, can turn a well liked blog into a major media outlet of your very own design! Even subtle changes to a web page design has been shown to drive opt-ins and conversions, so if your blog is intended to be monetized, it is especially important that the blog theme you choose is capable of being customized for maximum impact. Considered in that context, you can measure the before and after results of customizations, which makes it all the more important to have customization options for your blog theme in the first place.
- Update Ready
WordPress sometimes pushes out updates and that means you will need a theme that can be upgraded. Some older themes are precluded from working through new WordPress updates. This is something to keep in mind especially with regard to third-party WordPress themes.
- Web Design Considerations
Web design is always an art form. The theme you select for your new blog site should have good web design before you need to customize it. What are some of the current trends in web design that you might want to look for in choosing a blog theme?
Here are a few:
– Conversational Interfaces
– Grid layouts
– Virtual Reality Support
– Extremely high quality photos
Can the theme you’re looking at handle all that? Try to incorporate current design trends to the extent possible in your blog; choose a theme that lets you. Smart web design will help your site visitors to feel right at home, like they are at current, highly relevant blog site where they should spend their time, and maybe even their. money!
It almost goes without saying that there are a whole lot of blog themes out there. Some of them are very dated and even incompatible with the current version of WordPress, already. Do not get caught in the past by sinking your hard earned money into an outdated blog theme. Choose a theme that allows you to place a confident “check mark” beside the criteria outlines in this article and you will be well on your way to achieving your own success in the Wild West West that is the blogosphere of 2017.