Tips to choose a theme for your wordpress powered blog.

Please your readers with a clean look
Please your readers with a clean look

With wordpress as a blogging platform you have lot of themes to choose from, choosing a theme is a tough job with thousands of themes around. Here are some tipsto help you choose a theme for your blog.

  • Decide a colour scheme for your blog. Colours speak a lot of emotions so choose them with care. If you already have a logo for your blog choose a theme that fits your logo. Don’t choose dark colours unless your niche or logo demands it, make it pleasing for your readers eyes. Black/dark grey on white is ideal for reading.
  • Check the top blogs in your niche and make a list of features that you would like to have on your blog, make sure that the theme you choose provides all the features, if it doesnt provide all the features see if you need see if you can add them yourself.
  • Before testing a theme on your blog, write at least 3 posts,
  1. One including a list.
  2. One with an image.
  3. Comment on one post and leave one post uncommented.
  • In general, websites feature some standard layouts. Which layout you choose is based upon your needs, imagination, and potential inclusion of additional features like feeds and advertising in additional columns. Themes with widgetised footer are becoming popular these days, advantage with these themes is you get some extra place on your blog. If a person is scrolling till the end of the fotter, then he is genuinely intersted in your blog and you. So its a ideal place for wrting a short about me and placing links to your other blogs.
  • Fluid width versus Fixed width

I prefer fixed width over fluid width, with fixed width you have control over how your blog looks to users with different resolutions. Another disadvantage with fluid width is the long lines, if the user has high resolution. Its hard to read long lines compared to short lines of text.

  • Do not choose themes with heavy graphics, they take lot of time to load and your users may not be patient enough to wait till it loads.
  • Keep the blog design simple and usable.
  • Will you be able to grow with the same theme? As your blog grows you may want new features or room to add new things. Some themes won’t offer much flexibility or room for growth. Be sure that your theme isn’t going to limit you.

Resources..

  1. http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
  2. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/18/100-amazing-free-wordpress-themes-for-2009/

Task

Choose a theme for your blog follwing the above suggestions. If you already have a good theme, check top blogs in your niche and make a list of features you would like to have in your currnet theme.

Post how you accomplished this task in the discussion thread located here

After you have choosen your theme, there are some things to be cleaned and some minor tweaks to be applied to your theme. I will write about them in my next post.

Updates from the forum

Here are some resources pointed by Julius Santos @ DialysisPostings.Com

and for WordPress resources:

Immediate things to be done after installing wordpress

This post is written targeting the budding bloggers participants,  all the points except 1,3 are applicable to any general blog.

  1. Save your ftp login details carefully.
  2. Backup the wp-config file in the blog directory.
  3. Create a administrator account for your self from the temporary administrator account we provide, and delete the temporary administrator account.
  4. Update the title and tag line of your blog, to update goto settings->general
  5. WordPress is installed in the directory /blog to keep your root directory clean. So your blog will be having url of this form by default http://buddingbloggers.com/blog/?p=11 . This makes your url unnecessarily lengthy,also this is not a good SEO practice. To give your blog url of the form http://buddingbloggers.com/?p=11
    1. Go to the settings -> General panel.
    2. In the box for WordPress address (URL): change the address to the new location of your main WordPress core files. Example: http://buddingbloggers.com/blog
    3. In the box for Blog address (URL): change the address to the root directory’s URL. Example: http://buddingbloggers.com
    4. Giving wordpress its own install directory
      Giving wordpress its own install directory

    5. Click Update Options. (Do not worry about the error message and do not try to see your blog at this point! You will probably get a message about file not found.)
    6. Copy the index.php and .htaccess files from the blog directory into the root directory of your site (Blog address).  If .htaccess file is not already present, create one yourself and upload it. Change its permissions to “666”
    7. Open your root directory’s index.php file in a text editor
    8. Change the following and save the file. Change the line that says:
      require('./wp-blog-header.php');
      to the following, using your directory name for the WordPress core files:
      require('./blog/wp-blog-header.php');
    9. Your wordpress administration url will be http://buddingbloggers.com/blog/wp-admin/ and your blog url will be http://buddingbloggers.com
  6. Change the Permalink
    The default looks like

    http://buddingbloggers.com/?p=N

    This is called ugly link structure and not good a good SEO practice. To give your blog a URL structure that pleases search engines
    In the Settings ? Permalinks panel, you can choose one of the “common” structures or enter your own in the “Custom structure” field using the structure tags.This is the one I commonly use on all my blogs /%year%/%monthnum%/%category%/%postname%/ you can also try

    • /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/ (Third one in wordpress admin panel )
      Using date in the url makes it easy for your readers to find out how old the post is
    • /%postname%/ (Only post name)

    wordpress-permalinks

    Structure tags

    %year%

    The year of the post, four digits, for example 2004
    %monthnum%
    Month of the year, for example 05
    %day%
    Day of the month, for example 28
    %hour%
    Hour of the day, for example 15
    %minute%
    Minute of the hour, for example 43
    %second%
    Second of the minute, for example 33
    %postname%
    A sanitized version of the title of the post (post slug field on Edit Post/Page panel). So “This Is A Great Post!” becomesthis-is-a-great-post in the URI (see Using only %postname%)
    %post_id%
    The unique ID # of the post, for example 423
    %category%
    A sanitized version of the category name (category slug field on New/Edit Category panel). Nested sub-categories appear as nested directories in the URI.
    %tag%
    A sanitized version of the tag name (tag slug field on New/Edit Tag panel).
    %author%
    A sanitized version of the author name.
  7. Delete the hello world post or update it with your blog intro.
  8. The most addictive thing for bloggers are stats, the daily raise in your stats gives you the motivation to deliver your best. The best stats plugin available for wordpres is WordPress.Com stats http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stats/ .
  9. Install the akisment spam plugin, both akisment and wordpress.com stats plugin require the api key, I will explain how to get a api key in mynext post.
  10. Browse the wordpress themes directory and select a theme that matches your needs and site content. http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/