So your blog is set.
You logged in, landed on your WordPress Dashboard. Now you want to make your site look good and appropriate for the content or service you are planning to provide.
When you search on google, you will be flooded with many options. Most of them will separate into two categories. Paid and Free.
1. Should you choose paid or free WordPress templates?
It depends on your skills. Let me explain.
Here is an example of many free WordPress templates that you can use. You can filter them based on use, the number of columns and other options.
After you will go through hundreds of those, you will choose a couple that you like. In most cases – you will be able to use them but if you will also pay for them it will unlock additional functions of the theme.
- The design of the template is not the only thing that should worry you. Pay attention to:
- Which parts of the template are editable
- Can you remove the link to the template shop (usually below the main page)
- If you insert a Featured image, what does it do to the post?
- How much of the post text is shown on the main page? Can you edit it (Read More Tag)?
- The upper menu – will it fit all things you need?
The only way to check for all of that is to install them all in WordPress, write a test article and see how it will behave in all of those templates. It is usually quite difficult to find “that perfect WordPress theme” theme that would fulfill all the requirements and that is where the paid theme can be considered. I used both paid and free templates.
In comparison to other people, using free WordPress templates did not bring too much difficulty for me as now I know how to edit them and get things where I need them the most.
You can immediately see that the designs are quite different, you see there much more of professional looking ones. The best part is that you can edit nearly everything, so you can really tailor the template to your own liking.
Below You may see templates that have a similar design as Makingsenseofcents.com and Smartpassiveincome.com, two blogs earnings over $100,000 per month… so they must be doing something right…
Usually… you start searching for a free one, but after hours and hours of testing just to see that they limit you in some way or another… you might say “what the hell” and go for a paid one.
2. What should you look for in WordPress Theme?
This depends on the goal of your blog or website. Personally I would outline a couple of things that I consider important.
- Use one sidebar on the right. Having two sidebars on each side looks messy and having a sidebar on the left looks weird as all of your content is shifted to the right.
- Featured Image. Make sure that the template displays the features imagine nicely, as people always look at them first.
- Clean Post Title. Make a test post and check if the title of the post looks nice and clean, is easy to ready and is not written in some kind of weird font.
- Author’s Name. Does the template show the name of the author near the post? It should, as it ads a personal touch. If all my post on costofincome.com were without my name it would not look as if I am writing it myself.
- Nice upper menu. If reader will land on the homepage his/her eyes will be between the upper and middle section of the screen. Make sure that this section does not look messy and shows the needed information.
Those are a few main points that I wanted to get across that I think will apply to any blog, or at least should apply.
3. Can I change the WordPress Theme later?
Of course. You will probably even have to after some time.
First of all. The type of content you publish and how you publish it, will develop as you grow as a blogger. The template with which you started may simply not be enough. Check Archive.org and search how looked the webpages of famous bloggers in the past…
Additionally – you may want to “renew” the site for the readers to get them more engaged, here the change of design is usually also needed.
That is all for now. As mentioned above, if you want to, head to StudioPress and check some of the templates they offer.