Looking for a new blog theme? There’s a lot to consider regarding a theme much more than just visual elements, but also a lot behind the scenes technically. Did you know your SEO can be affected because of your website theme on WordPress? For that reason and more, it’s a good idea to really look into themes before making the plunge into a new one.
Today I’m going to cover (insert number here) topics of things to look into before switching to a new theme.
Price is an obvious important factor to look into. How willing are you to spend money on a theme? How much? Or, do you know if there are free themes that are complex and uncommon enough to look professional?
Spending money on a theme can be a great investment, but at the same time many themes are free online that are just as good as any paid option.
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Probably the most visual factor on this list is features. Themes can have a ton of different features from a basic one-column theme to a very complex, muti-part theme.
Here’s a list of multiple features you may want to have:
- 1 column vs. 2 columns v.s 3 columns
- Side bars- can contain your author bio, social media links, and more
- Widgets- a common one in the lifestyle community is an Instagram widget
- Menus- there’s a classic menu, custom menu and fixed menu, plus more
- Minor features- author bios, social media integration, site logo
- Video support- can support adding videos to different parts of the theme
This is just a start, there’s many more specific features available on a WordPress blog. If you go under themes on WordPress and search by feature, it lists all 38 current features at the moment. If you really want to have your Instagram photos gallery under your posts, then make sure you check off the Instagram widget for your new theme.
Although features can be fun and make your blog look more visually interesting and full of information, having too many features can make you run into a problem. I’m discussing this problem next.
Site speed wasn’t something I was aware of until a couple months into blogging. Not all themes are built the same, and sometimes you may run into a theme you love, but it slows down your entire website with heavy features.
It can be hard to understand at first, but the main gist is that having too many features clogs up your website, and makes it too slow. Have you ever gone on a website and realized it was taking way too long and exited out? You don’t want that to happen with your blog. Some themes in general are slow, as having a cluttered HTML code can make it harder for your website to run properly.
There are several websites to look up your website speed and they usually explain why your blog is slow and how to fix it. Things like caching parts of your blog, reducing image sizes and compressing files are great ways to speed up your blog. There are some things that are simply too hard for a common blogger to do- such as editing the HTML codes, but there are some simple things to speed your blog up.
A good site speed for a blog is around 2 seconds. If you can, try to get it as close to 0.5 seconds as possible, but anything under 2 seconds is a pretty reasonable, attainable speed. Again, make use of a lot of speed tests for your blog to help you understand more about your speed and how to fix it, because your theme might just be the issue.
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“Globally, 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile devices… Mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020, up from 57% in 2019.” –Perficent.com
This stat alone tells you how important it is to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Over half of your views statistically will come from something other than a computer, which is probably where you’re editing and tweaking your blog from.
Before choosing a theme, check what it looks like from a phone’s perspective- there’s usually something to click on that will show you what the theme looks like per device. If the theme isn’t up to standards or looks wonky on mobile, consider if it’s an easy fix or something to scrap altogether.
This is another con for a lot of features as they either won’t show up on mobile, or mess the entire theme up to look unreadable. As a worst case scenario, it can really effect your blog.
The readability depends on a lot of factors: color, text, font size, image support and more.
Having a more simple font is a great idea because it increases your readability and how quickly someone can skim through your blog. Balancing the word size can be tricky, because a too-small font is a big issue, but having a font bordering on too large can make a blog harder to read. Go with what seems natural to you, and also think if you showed your grandparents your blog, would they be able to read it just fine?
Backgrounds are often looked over, but a neutral white background is a great idea. It’s simple yet does the job, and doesn’t over complicate with anything else going on your blog. If you want a colored background, consider a lightly tinted color or add a border. If you’re bold enough, a black background can look great if you know what you’re doing.
Easy navigation is another important factor. Being able to access a link easily and having a simple navigation menu increases your readability immensely. Having lots of images helps readers digest information without having to read every word, and keep their interest long enough to have them reading more.
Related Post: What I Learned After the First Three Months of Blogging
Make sure to play around with a theme before changing it. Test it thoroughly, and check all components before committing to a new theme. Of course you can wing it, but if you want a one-and-one theme without having to switch it yearly or even monthly, make sure it’s the right one for you.
It’s a good idea to read reviews and if possible, find other sites using the theme you want. It can give you a good insight to what it’s like to use that theme, and how others have enjoyed it.
I hope you found this helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, or what your favorite theme at the moment is.
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