Building Your Website by Choosing the Right Theme

Content is key, but so is the place where your precious work lives and breathes. If you are like me, you continue the search for the right theme; the template (or home) where your ideas are held for viewing. Personalization is so important.

If you think about it, which you might not if you are a casual web user, many sites are so familiar that you don't even realize the careful thought that went into putting them together. Yet there is comfort in knowing you've arrived at your intended destination ...

Oh look, Perez's pink and center scrolled content.

Here I am, People(dot)com's familiar logo and layout.

Poppy's Style header of pretty poppy flowers.

Bluehost's un-pretty yet powerful, jam-packed screen of icons (not so scary once you start to click around).

Here's how it works:

  • 1. If you want to blog you need to pick a theme, which is like a template for your work. It's the first step in building your page (or in my case, the next step in growing a page).
  • You install a template and begin to play with customization, as long as there is a customization option. A theme might be visually appealing and exactly what you're looking for, but the colors may not be (a problem unless you read code and know how to change color codes in HTML).  For the beginning blogger who doesn't know HTML, you are stuck with a theme that isn't a perfect fit, or keep testing themes until you settle one that you can live with.
  • If you find yourself completely stuck, the next option is to start google searching. There are many website designers across the globe who create templates, so the choices are abundant. Some of them are free, but many cost a small amount ($30-$75). If you are lucky (and happy) with the color options and layouts, you're ready to roll, and your new template is sent to you to be unzipped and imported. You are off and running.
  • Another option for finding website designers with pre-made themes is on Etsy. I fell in love with Angie Makes Websites, but after a couple of conversations, realized that the theme I had chosen was made for the Blogger platform. Also, I ran the template past my mom who said it was pretty, but not exactly "me."
  • The final decision, which is usually made after exhausting the other options is to design your own website with the aid of a pro. This can cost anywhere from $200 to id="mce_marker"000; a lot of money for the casual blogger. If your blog is just a hobby, it may not be worth the cost. But if you have big dreams of building a business and/or want to share your knowledge in a way that helps people, it makes sense. If you have high hopes that one day your bounce statistics are lower than 50% and/or you catch yourself daydreaming about ways to get your subscription rates to more steadily move upward, customization could be the best investment you make to a long and fruitful social media career.

M.

Hey bloggers ... what route did you take? Have you been happy with a pre-made theme or did you hire the big guns? 

Clip Art Package - Angie Makes
Adding an artist's clip art is another great way to customize your site and make it more visually appealing. This clip art package from Angie Makes on Etsy.

 

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