Blog theme often sets the first impressions. Blog theme that stands out simply means a blog that stands out. A well thought out decision while choosing blog themes can go a long way. There are numerous themes to choose from and zeroing on the right one is often a daunting task. Finding a best-fit blog theme is easy when you know what to look for.
What is a Blog Theme?
A blog theme is basically the visual design or skin of your blog. This includes the overall blog design, color scheme, images, content areas, common areas like sidebars. Blog themes often include customization options wherein you can control how your blog appears on the web.
Choosing A Blog Theme
Before searching a theme for blog, clearly define the purpose of your blog – what is the main topic of your blog, what audience do you have in mind and how your blog is going to be useful to your audience. Knowing the purpose of your blog would make it easier for you to list out a few potential blog themes from which you can choose the one that is best-fit. Here are a couple of factors you should look for when deciding on a theme for your blog.
Visual Appeal of the Blog Theme Sets the First Impressions
First and by far the most important aspect. It is rightly said that you have less than 6 seconds to get a visitor to stay. A pleasing blog theme instantly places the visitor in the sweet spot.
Choose a color scheme with a good balance of colors. Light backgrounds often work well. Colors should not be too bright or flashy as such colors put strain on readers’ eyes.
Choose a font style and size that makes it easy for people to read your articles. Some themes even offer on-page zoom buttons where users can change font sizes.
The header tags like <h1>, <h2>, <h3> are used to denote the titles/subtitles in your content. The blog theme chosen should be using these tags for titles and subtitles. Some themes only add some CSS styles to titles and do not use the header tags which is a big no no.
Make sure the theme uses these header tags and uses them correctly. For example, the <h1> tag should be reserved for leading titles on the page should rather occur only once or very few times on the page. Theme should avoid using <h1> tag for every heading on the page. It is not necessary at all to use the <h1> tag for the website name or for the logo. The <h2>, <h3> tags should only be applied for the subtitles and in the right order i.e. <h2> for immediate sub-titles under <h1> and <h3> for subtitles under <h2> and so on. A blog post that uses these header tags correctly will be ranked higher by search engines thus helping you in SEO automatically.
Blog Theme Should be User Friendly
Visitors to your blog should be able to easily navigate within your site. Being able to seamlessly browse the content will help users make the best use of your website and you will automatically receive more page views.
The blog theme should include:
- Ready to use search boxes (preferably on top and bottom of the page or in sidebar)
- A well designed blog archive which can often serve as a sitemap
- Options to configure sidebar areas
- Options to configure header and footer area
- Out of the box functionality to include social media buttons and RSS feeds
How Does the Blog Theme Handle Images, Videos and Other Media
There are many images on your blog which are common and repeat almost on every page. These include logos, images in the menus, social bookmarking icons etc. If a theme uses image sprites to combine these images using CSS, your blog will load faster on the web. Hence it is a good idea to check if image sprites are supported.
If your blog is going to be full of images or other media like videos, podcasts etc, choose a theme that provides options for easier management and optimization of these media. You can as well optimize images on your blog yourself. Some blog theme templates automatically create snapshots using the images on the blog posts. These snapshots can be displayed on the homepage or in archives.
How Easy is it to Maintain the Blog Theme
The ease of maintenance is an important consideration while selecting a blog theme. Many theme authors update their themes regularly in order to provide additional features. That being said, upgrading your blog to the new theme should be as seamless as possible.
Many WordPress themes now a days are child themes based on some theme framework. A Theme framework is like a master theme that serves as a flexible foundation upon which more child themes can be easily developed. Theme frameworks often provide numerous customization options that child themes can leverage without much of sophisticated programming or design knowledge.
A blog theme based on a theme framework is highly recommended as this also ensures that any future updates to the framework do not wipe out your theme customization. It also ensures that you generally get the best-of-breed designs. If you are using WordPress as your blog platform, themes and frameworks like Thematic, Genesis, Thesis, Hybrid, Headway, Woo Themes are some of the best and popular places to find great themes.
Does the Theme Support Leading Web Browsers
Needless to say, your blog should display the same way on all browsers. So do test your theme on the leading web browsers to make sure that the blog is rendered correctly on all the browsers.
Does the Theme Owner Provide Support
Whether you use a free theme or a premium one, it should be easy for your to find answers when you need to. Unless you are tech-savvy to figure out how to fix something easily, its best to choose a theme that provides a managed customer support or at least help forums where you can get your queries answered.
Keep these points in mind and you will invariably find the right blog theme to dress up your blog.