Beginning Blogging – Choosing a theme
As stated last week, the next important decision to be made is what theme will you use? I say this is important and it is but it can be changed at a later date. There, does that take a bit of the stress away? I hope so because this next fact may just bring it right back again. There are over 1,000 themes on WordPress, 1,690 to be precise although this figure will change as they keep on bringing new ones out all the time.
Now, before you shut down in disgust we can make it a bit easier for you. To start with, some of the themes are categorized as premium and you have to pay extra for these. At this stage I am assuming that this is not an option for you. The next thing, and to be honest the one that I used, is your gut. As you scroll down the page looking at all the different designs I can almost guarantee that you will be drawn to some. This may be due to the colour, the style or the pictures.
This is the theme that I used: Shaan. The main reason I chose this is due to the colour. I like it. Simple. Yes I like the photograph but this photo is not on my site, my own photographs are. In fact when I look at this my blog is actually quite different to this. The recognisable bit is the colour. This is because you may be looking at the theme demo but that is all it is, a demo. You will be able to make it your own as you go on through the choices that you make. (More on this later).
When I was looking through all the themes with a friend I found myself saying things like You need to think about your content.
This is because some themes will lend themselves better to some content than others. For example:
This Hatch design is suited to a heavily visual site with lots of photographs.
Whereas this DePo Masthead theme is a magazine style with several columns appearing at the same time.
I knew that I wanted some photographs mixed in with text. I didn’t want multiple columns and I liked a bit of colour. In fact it is probably easier to draw up a list of the features that you don’t like than the ones you do. I knew from having looked at other blogs that I needed 2 columns, one for the content and one for the bits down the side e.g. Twitter, Facebook links etc.
So, in summary, we have identified four strategies to help you choose your theme:
1) Going with your gut feeling
2) Thinking a little bit about what the content of your blog will be and what the best layout would be.
3) Thinking about what features you have liked on other blogs.
4) Identifying the things you don’t like as you go through the themes.
These 4 will narrow your choices down a fair bit I promise.
When thinking about steps three and four from above it may be worth jotting these down as they will come in useful as we move through this process later on.
As you look down the list of themes there are three words underneath each image:
Activate – click this when you decide you would like to choose a theme.
Live Preview: This will show you what it looks like on a full-page.
Details: This will give a brief overview of the features of a theme.
If I click on live preview I get my page in the style of the new theme so this feature even better when you are already up and blogging.
This brings me to the next bit What if I want to look at themes later or change them?
To do this go to your dashboard. This will bring up a menu down the left hand side. Click on Appearance (towards the bottom) and then you will find Themes. Click on that and it will bring up the screen where you can search through the themes.
Once you have settled on a theme you are happy with (for a while at least), you can go back to the Appearance menu button, and explore some of the options down there. On mine for example, if I click on background I can change the colour. The Custom menu will be where you can upgrade your site by paying for different fonts etc.
Next week we shall look at the header option (which will tie into the Gravatar which I said I would cover this week but feel I have waffled on enough) and also look at some of the widgets you can use.
As always, any questions then do please ask me. I would also love to know what themes people use and why. I think that it may be time to have a bit of a change of mine!