So you have decided that you want to blog and you have decided that you want to blog on WordPress?
Now it is time to choose a WordPress Theme. Do not worry, this is not a lifetime commitment but it does deserve some thought. You can always change your theme in the future.
One the biggest issues that I see with people and their themes is support. People find a theme that looks seriously badass and they purchase it. Then they realize that it is quite complicated and difficult to update. They go out in the web-o-sphere and can't find any help for their new theme. Then they are stuck, have wasted money and lose the desire to blog.
Bonus: Download a free checklist of the first plugins that I always install on a new WordPress Blog.
Lesson: Before you purchase a premium theme verify that they have a good support forum. Also, read user reviews on ease of use.
For example, I am a huge fan of Thesis Theme but it is not a user friendly theme. It is a theme that is designed for developers. If you want to do some cool shit with your theme and have lots of ability to custom code then this is the theme for you.
However, if you want a WordPress theme that you can install and start blogging, then I would highly recommend Thrive Themes. It is the theme that I am personally running on my primary blogs.
I have also used Studio Press themes in the past. It is a good solid plug and play theme. My only caution is to make sure that you like it, exactly as it is. Customizing even simple changes on a Studio Press theme can become annoying and complicated. However, they are solidly coded and built and extremely reliable.
Not even I want to spend my time custom coding. Instead, I want to spend my time creating content and connecting with you.
What style of blog should you choose?
There are several different blog design styles out there but below are the most popular ones. It really comes down to your personal goals.
- Magazine Style
- Parallax Style
- Card Design (Pinterest Style)
- 3 Column
- 2 Column
- Single Column
- Big Header / Rotator at top
A bit about magazine style blog design
With our FunCityStuff.com blog we actually chose the magazine style. This blog is all about entertainment and fun stuff. We want the reader to have a lot of articles to choose from.
A magazine style blog requires you to launch your new blog with a considerable amount of content. When we launched FunCity Stuff we launched with 15 blog posts.
After launch we try and update the blog at least 5 times a week. This keeps the front page fresh with new content cycling and changing.
If you are a solo blogger who plans to blog once or a twice a week, a magazine style blog may not be the best choice for you.
BLOGS WITH INFREQUENT POSTS CAN LOOK AWKWARD
Because magazine themes feature such a variety of content on the front page, a blog that doesn’t post frequently can leave older content on the front page in prominent locations for much longer than with a traditional blog theme. ~source
A bit about 2 column blogs
Here on ITB, I run a two column design blog. I do not tend to publish a frequently and I am the only content creator. The con of this is that if someone comes to the blog looking for a particular post, they will have to search a bit harder. My blog page shows a summary of the last several blog posts.
If you would like to read even more about the different design styles check out this blog post by Hongkait.
No matter the design, make sure that it is mobile responsive.
Even more important questions about your WordPress Theme
- How much does the theme cost?
- How much effort will it be to install and get the theme going? Will I need to hire a developer?
- Does the theme have built in options that will help me?
- Does the theme company have positive reviews?
- Does the theme company offer support?
- Should I buy a premium theme? Pros and Cons
- Is the theme bloated and slow?
Finally, spend some time surfing the web and taking notes of what your competitors designs look like. What do you like about their blog? What works well on their blog? What do you hate about their blog?
How to install your WordPress Theme
Once you have picked your new WordPress theme, you need to install it. Thankfully, this is actually quite simple to do.
It is not unusual to change designs every 18 to 24 months. So while this decision is important just remember that it is not half as important as the content that goes on the blog. Readers will forgive a lot for amazing content.
Just remember before you purchase a theme take a look at a few reviews and make sure that the theme shop offers support.