Today on episode 34 we’ll be talking about what to look for when you’re choosing a new theme.
Changing The Look Of Your Blog – Sandbox To Success Episode 34
By theme, we mean the look of your blog. We use a self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) on TOTs. In WordPress the theme refers to the overall appearance of the blog. If you use Blogger, self-coded HTML, or a different platform; the terminology may be different.
Maybe you’re ready to shake things up a bit and put a new look on your blog. That’s where Cat and I are currently, and we have other new blogs that we want to put themes on too. Technology changes over the years so there are new things to consider that have changed since we first chose our theme. This is something that we have to keep in mind when choosing a new blog theme.
Here are a few things you’ll want to do when choosing yours:
Know What You Want
Is your theme for an e-commerce website, a blog with multiple content on a weekly/monthly basis, a portfolio for your business.. etc. Once you figure out what it’s for, you can develop on that. One big tip I have is that once you figure out what you want to do, start searching blogs in that niche. Take note of what you like and don’t like. What colors you like. There’s an awesome program called Adobe Color gives you tons of color swatches to help you decide what looks good and what you like. Maybe you’re drawn to lighter colors, or darker colors, or pastels. Pastels were really in the last year or so, but I personally find those themes really hard to read. While I won’t be getting one myself, some bloggers like fashion bloggers and such find that they work well with their photos. They just don’t work well for me, because I have a hard time reading the content.
Decide on a Theme Type
Decide whether you want a free theme, a paid theme, or a developer. We always go with a paid theme. Free themes are usually put out by a developer as part of their portfolio, and don’t provide updates. A paid theme however, has updates and support in case things get messed up. I also like paid themes because the designer or developer gets a little kickback for the work that they put into it. If your budget doesn’t allow you can get a free theme and invest in another later. You can also use a WordPress theme which are free, but open platform so they’re updated regularly.
Email marketing is huge. You need to make sure you have one going, because with so much being engrained around social media you have so many fans and followers that you don’t own. If Facebook folded tomorrow, all the fans and followers would go away. For us, it’s Pinterest. They’re our top referrer, bringing in around 60% of our traffic. If Pinterest ever decided to cut us off, we’d lose all those followers! With an email list, we know we can always keep in touch with them.
This means that the site adjust to fit the screen of the device it’s being viewed from (tablet, smartphone, computer, etc). Last year Google began penalizing sites that don’t have responsive design. People view content so many different ways, you want to make sure your site is compatible with them all.
These are the areas where you see the different subtitles. People can click on these and get exactly where they want to go.
A Search Bar
This one is an absolute must have! People want to be able to quickly and easily search for the content they want to view at that time. A search bar needs to be integrated somewhere. This can be done with a widget, or with a custom search bar in the footer like we have.
You may get caught up in minor colors and details, but those can be changed. If you can’t change them yourself, you can hire someone to change the small details. Those aren’t a big deal. You’re looking for the general outline of the theme when you’re looking. It can be easy to get stuck in all the little details but you aren’t likely going to find everything you’re looking for in a paid theme. You’d only find that if you hired someone to design a custom theme for you.
Examples of Themes I Like:
Restore 316 – They have super awesome support documentation that tells you what to do to set up the site to look exactly like their demo site on their webpage.
Cyberchimps – I just started using this site at the end of last year, and I’m not really sure why I never have before. They have awesome sales all the time, and tons of themes available. You can also search for how to fix or change something and there are tons of user You Tube videos!
Don’t forget your audience
Know whom you want to appeal to. A blog designed to catch the attention of men in their 20s is going to have a completely look and feel than women in their 50s. Know who you’re creating it for. For example, if you’re doing food or fashion on your blog, you’ll want space for big pictures. If your site is about medical information, however, your photos may not need to be as big.
That’s it for today! Thank you so much to SubmitOwl.com. If you are starting a new website or blog or you haven’t submitted everywhere they’ll submit everywhere you haven’t for $24.95. They do tons of search engine submissions. Until next time, thanks for listening to the Sandbox to Success podcast, with your host: Katrina M. Thom. I’d also love to hear from you! If you like what you just heard, leave us a message at ITunes or Stitcher. We would also love to hear what you have to say. Use the hashtag #totspodcast to connect with us on twitter. Don’t forget to check out the show notes, which can be found at www.totsbusiness.com. Join us next time for another edition of the Sandbox to Success podcast. Have an AWESOME day!
The post Changing The Look Of Your Blog – Sandbox To Success Episode 34 appeared first on Thinking Outside The Sandbox.