One of the most crucial – – and perhaps most fun – – parts of setting up a new blog is the choosing of the theme or template. Whether you use WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, or one of the thousands of smaller blog hosting services, you will ultimately have to choose the background that will define your blog’s design.
Many people think that when they are choosing a theme for their blog, they are simply choosing the “look” it will have. But if you have a hosted blog, the truth is that the theme you choose also affects even the FUNCTIONALITY of your blog.
I got a question this week from a blogger who was wondering how to add a navigational menu across the top of her blog page. Had she had a self-hosted blog that she had downloaded, this might have been a matter of adding some basic code that would help her link to the main sections of her content. But since she had a blog that was hosted at Blogspot, that meant her only real choice for including tabs at the top of her blog was choosing a theme that had that feature built into it.
When you are browsing the themes and templates from your blog hosting service, make sure to examine all aspects of each one during the preview. You will want to look for things such as:
- number of columns
- whether it uses a right or left sidebar
- whether it includes a navigational menu (and what that menu connects to)
- whether the colors are customizable
- customization of header
- how photos appear on posts and sidebar
- built in widgets, such as RSS, calendars, and stats
Making note of these small details can go a long way toward ensuring that you are as happy USING a particular theme or template as you were picking it out. And remember the other wonderful thing about blogging….changing your mind is your daily prerogative! If you don’t like a template, don’t hesitate to change it! Your readers adjust to change quickly, and if you aren’t happy with it, you won’t utilize it.
Happy theme picking, everyone!!