There are many websites that provide directories of free and premium Wordpress
themes and Blogger
templates. There are even more blog designers who offer free, premium and custom Wordpress themes and Blogger templates. With so many choices, how does a blogger decide which theme or template to use in his or her blog design? Easy. Just consider the 11 factors listed below to ensure you're making a good decision.
Wordpress themes and Blogger templates are either free, premium or custom. Free themes cost nothing and are available for anyone to use, anywhere and at anytime. That means many people could use the exact same theme. Premium themes typically have a price tag around $70. Anyone can buy them and use them on their blogs. Custom themes are created by a blog designer for a specific blog. They can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and are completely unique to the blog they are created for. The first factor you need to consider is how much money you're willing to spend in order to get a unique look and increased functionality for your blog. It's not a certainty that free themes offer the least functionality, but it's usually true.
2. FunctionalityDetermine how much functionality you want your blog to have. This depends on your goals for your blog. If you want to grow your blog, you'll want a theme that offers flexibility and enhanced functionality. For example, if you want to include ads on your blog but choose a 1-column blog theme, you will have very little choice in terms of where your ads can appear on your blog.
3. Investment on Additional Customization
All blog themes can be further customized from the original version you purchase. You might find a theme or template you really like but later realize the colors or fonts aren't exactly to your liking. This is a change a blog designer (or possibly you, with a bit of CSS
research) can make fairly easily. However, the bigger the change, the more it will cost you.
4. LayoutOne of the first things you should look at when you're researching Wordpress themes or Blogger templates is the layout. Most blogs are 2- or 3-columns. Some offer standard blog formats with a chronological list of blog posts flanked by sidebar columns, but other blogs use magazine style themes, photo themes, and more. Take some time to review a variety of blog designs to determine which layout style will work best for your blog.
5. Reputable DesignerAnyone can create a blog theme or template, publish it online and offer it for free or for a fee. It can be a hassle to change your blog's theme if you have a lot of content and customization (e.g., Wordpress plug-ins, customized sidebars with widgets, etc.). Make sure the blog theme or template you choose is from a reputable designer with a track record of creating great designs. Doing so ensures your blog theme or template will work correctly and include the best features and functionality.
6. Find Blogs with Designs You LikeA great way to choose a Wordpress theme or Blogger template is to browse blogs and find designs and layouts that you like. Then contact the blog owner and ask what theme or template they use. Often this information is included in the blog's footer!
7. View Other Sites Already Using the Theme You're ConsideringIf you find a theme or template online that you like, try to find some other blogs that already use that theme and take a look at them. Spend some time clicking deep into the site and testing the functionality from a user's perspective. Don't be afraid to email the theme or template designer and ask for a list of sites using that design. Good designers will be happy to share this information.
8. Design ElementsConsider design elements like color, fonts, and so on before you settle on a blog design. While design elements can usually be changed without much hassle by a person who knows CSS, that can be an additional investment if you need to find someone to help you. Take the time to look at how different heading styles look, how linked text appears, and so on to ensure you're happy with them.
9. Functional ElementsJust as you took time to analyze the design elements in a blog theme or template, you should also take time to analyze the functional elements such as the "Read More" link at the end of posts, text in block quotes, the comments section, sidebar headers, post titles, the "Next" or "Previous" navigation, and so on. Each of these functional elements are very important to the user experience on your blog. Make sure they work (and look) the way you would want them to on your blog.
10. Read ReviewsOne of the most important steps you can take when you're choosing a Wordpress theme or Blogger template is to take the time to read the reviews other bloggers write about them. If you're considering a theme or template listed in a directory site, check to see if reviews are included with the listing. Take some time to do a Google search on the theme name and designer's name to find out what other bloggers have to say about it.
11. SupportBe sure to find out what kind of support is offered with the theme. Is the designer available to answer questions? Is there a support forum where users help each other? Can you pay a fee to get support when you need it? The best themes offer some way for you to get help when you need it.