Customize the theme :-
The 6th part of the blog start series is about the look of the new blog.
If you have installed WordPress correctly , you can expect a relatively unspectacular default theme, which is not suitable for giving the blog an unmistakable appearance.
Therefore, today I would like to introduce you to options on how you can get an individual and suitable theme for your WordPress blog.
[Here you can find an overview of all previous articles in this blog start series .]
What is a theme?
One or the other might be wondering what a theme is.
On the right screenshot you can see this blog here in the default layout, which WordPress brings with it. This theme doesn’t look great, but it is a good basis for your own themes. But that’s another topic.
This is also known, for example, from Windows or some computer programs. Themes are interchangeable layout packages. You can change the look of the blog very easily and quickly in WordPress.
This works because the WordPress programmers have made a very consistent separation of layout and programming.
To activate a new theme for your blog, you have to unzip it and upload it to your own web space in the folder “wp-content / themes /” via FTP.
You can only see the theme you have just uploaded on the “Design” admin page as a small image and you can click it to display a preview.
With a click on “Activate” it is then already visible to all readers. Before doing this, you should test in the preview whether everything is displayed correctly.
Why an individual theme?
Possibly. one or the other now asks the question: Why not just use the standard theme?
That is clear and well optimized. And readers can find the text immediately and easily. That’s what it’s about!
That is not fundamentally wrong. But there’s more to a blog than just the text. The layout / theme of a blog is very important for 2 reasons.
- On the one hand, you can underline the topic of the blog with a suitable theme. For example, if you have a football blog, it would be very appropriate to find a theme with a football built in, for example. Or in a digital camera blog, it would be appropriate if lenses, etc., for example, thaw in the header. The theme thus supports the basic thematic message of the blog and addresses the target group even better.
- Second, it is also about the recognition effect. It is very important that readers recognize the blog at first glance. This helps a lot in making a name for yourself and attracting general attention. If you were to use the default theme, the content would be just as good, but it just wouldn’t stick in your mind.
That’s why I chose the theme for Blogprojekt.de, which you can see here. It stands out much more than the standard theme and is therefore easier to remember.
Where can I find free themes?
The first port of call for German bloggers is certainly the WordPress Theme Pool .
This theme catalog, managed by the German WordPress subsidiary, currently contains 205 free themes, which are grouped into different categories.
These themes can then be selected according to the number of columns.
However, I have to say that I don’t like most of the themes there.
You should also be aware that most bloggers are looking for new themes there and you will certainly not be the only blog that uses a certain theme.
There are many other sources of free themes on the web. Most sources, however, list English-language themes. It may be necessary to make a few adjustments. Sometimes exchanging the language file is enough.
On topwpthemes.com there regularly, the idea of new themes. You can see very well that there are many more themes in the English-speaking world. And they usually look really good too.
There is a current list of very good themes on drweb.de . However, most of them are also in English.
Adapting an English-language theme is usually not difficult if you are a little familiar with HTML.
But you should inform yourself beforehand and google for a theme. Because there are also themes that contain malicious code or should not be used for other reasons. So exercise some caution.
Paid themes as an alternative
In addition to the free themes, there are of course also paid premium themes for WordPress.
Why pay for a theme when there are thousands free?
- A good reason to pay for a theme is quality. Paid themes are usually very well optimized and up to date. Most of the time, SEO settings , for example, are already optimized. Or you can find themes for very special purposes, e.g. affiliate themes.
- Support is usually included for paid themes. Some developers of free themes also give it, but you can’t really rely on it. And especially if you can’t handle HTML and CSS yourself, support is very important.
- In my opinion, the most important argument is that paid themes are nowhere near as common on the web as free ones. So with a paid theme you have a higher chance of increasing your own recognition value.
Paid themes are available from themeshift.com, among others . An overview is also available from the English-speaking WordPress creators. These list a number of providers of paid themes or themes with paid support and service.
Since such themes often do not cost huge sums of money, you should think twice about using a paid theme.
This is especially not bad if you have no idea of HTML and CSS yourself and cannot adapt and individualize a theme yourself.
Customize the theme
It makes sense to customize your own theme. The possibilities are of course almost unlimited and only your own creativity and competence set the limit.
That’s why I’ll definitely write my own article again about adapting WordPress themes.
You should, for example, include your own logo in the header. The link to the RSS feed is often hidden far below. That should be changed.
You can also exchange graphics in the header and sidebar with your own images and, for example, incorporate article top lists and the like.
There are a lot of possibilities to adapt a theme to your own needs and wishes. The advantage is that you get a really individual theme that is not used by anyone else in this form.
At Blogprojekt.de I’ve only made a few minor changes so far, so I’ve added 3 buttons in the header and changed the formatting of the blog posts. So the changes so far are relatively minor.
My blog ” Self-employed on the Internet ” has changed much more in the last 2 1/2 years . As you can see, the current layout has nothing to do with the original layout.
In a few larger and many smaller adaptation steps, I developed and changed the theme very much. Of course, I implemented my own ideas, but also tested a lot and also considered user opinions. There is almost nothing left of the original theme.
The theme, which uses “Self-employed in the net”, cannot therefore be downloaded anywhere in this form. That is certainly an important building block for the success of my blog.
Even if the content of a blog is of course the most important thing, one should always attach great importance to the presentation. A pop star would often not be as successful if he didn’t look so good. And the iPhone wouldn’t be that successful without its pretty exterior either.
And so the balance between good content and an appealing appearance is also important for a blog.
So it goes on
In the next part of the blog start series, I will devote myself to the topic of “plugins”.
Which plugins are recommended for new blogs and what do you have to pay attention to with regard to plugins?