One of the most daunting parts of the blog creation process – – and the point in the process where many a man or woman have thrown up their hands and given up – – is the choosing of the THEME or TEMPLATE.
One of the problems is that there are simply too many choices. Whether you go with WordPress, Blogger, or even a simple generic blog writing program, there are often hundreds, if not thousands, of backgrounds, fonts, sidebars, color schemes, and headers to consider. The single most important thing to remember in order to keep your anxiety level low at this stage in the game is that your choices are NOT permanent. In fact, it is almost certain that you will change your theme once you start writing and discover that the template you’ve chosen doesn’t really mesh with where you are going with your blog.
But it never hurts to have a few tried and true guidelines to follow when first faced with that intimidating “themes” page….
Depending on what you really want out of your blog, and whether or not you envision a strong future for it, you must choose between the free or premium template options. Those blogs out there that all look alike? They have chosen a default theme provided by their blog host. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a free blog theme, though, and it might even be a smart choice for those who are unsure about how much energy they really want to put into their blog.
For those who crave customization and individuality, however, a paid, or “premium” blog template may be a wiser choice. There are thousands of premium themes available for under $100 which can be simply imported into your blog, OR you can pay different amounts to have your blog specifically customized for you.
If you are brand new to blogging and are creating your first ever blog, it is very difficult to know exactly what features you will want a blog to have. It is hard to predict whether you will need more than one sidebar, the ability to add specific widgets, or how much customization of fonts you prefer until you’ve actually been blogging for a while. But don’t be afraid to experiment with some completely different themes and test out their specific feature-set during the first few weeks you are writing your blog. And definitely try out several free blog templates with various features before settling on a premium one so that you can be sure you will have exactly the right mix.
Although less important than features, the “look” of your blog makes a big impression on visitors. Therefore, it’s especially important to choose a theme that has plenty of eye-appeal and a pleasant color-scheme. Your header is usually completely customizable, and isn’t necessarily theme-dependent, but even so, you want to make sure that your header and your blog theme complement each other well.
Don’t hesitate to inquire with blog owners about their design if you come across one that you like. Find out if theirs is a theme you can use, or if they had their blog custom designed, ask them for their designers contact info. Blog design is a lot like house design…sometimes you don’t know what you want for yourself until you see it done well somewhere else!
For more info on blog design and creation and all the other important aspects of creating and writing a new blog, sign up today for our eight-week Blogging 101 course!