Has your blog had the same theme since the day your started it in 2001? Sure, the content on your blog may be great, but is the design outdated or just all-out unappealing? If you haven’t looked at the design of your blog in a while, take a look at it and compare it to other blogs. Be honest, how does it look? Not sure. Well, here’s a quick check list of what to ask yourself.
- Are your posts organized by month and year on a side bar?
- Do you have countless widgets on the side bar?
- Is your theme cluttered with unnecessary information?
- Does the look change to accommodate different size screens?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to spruce things up with a new theme. Don’t worry, it’s easy to update the theme for your blog, I’ll show you how.
Finding a Theme
Log into your WordPress account, click on the Themes section on the left and you’ll find countless themes to choose from. In the upper right you can filter the themes you want to look at, that way you won’t waste your time looking at themes that cost something if you want a free one for your new blog.
Tip: I suggest doing this on a computer and not your phone. You’ll be able to see how your blog will render on a tablet, phone, and computer much easier.
Once you have a list of blog themes, think about what you’re doing with your blog and look at the layout of each one. Remember, what you’re looking at are the home pages for the theme, the page with full posts will look slightly different. Perhaps your food blog would look great with Dyad 2, or AltoFocus would be a fantastic way to showcase your art. Do you want links to your social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc…) listed on the home page? Give it some thought and think about what you want to showcase.
Once you find a theme you think will work for your needs, click on it to find out which elements you can customize, see the different layouts for the home page and your posts. Some of them have video tutorials on how to customize them, others simply explain it. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult. If you like what you see, click on the Open Live Demo link to the right of the Support link.
Take It for a Test Run
The live demo has a pull down menu that will resize the theme according to a computer, tablet, or phone. Click around on the sample blog to see how a post renders, what the headers look like, the menu and the home page. If you already have a blog with content, click on the Try & Customize button at the top right. This will load your content into the template and allow you to customize it using the menu on the left. Check out each section in the customization panel, play with it until you get it to look the way you want. If you like what you see, click on Activate; if not, click on the X in the upper left corner to return to the themes. It’s really that easy.
Live With It
Once you have a theme you like, live with it for a couple of months. Organize your content with the Menu widget (which uses your categories and tags), play with the colors and fonts (if it allows you to do so), and find the subtle tweaks that make the theme stand out from other blogs that use it.
Tip: If you want to customize the way a post looks (i.e. two column, one column, specific widgets, etc…), click on a post and use the customization panel to make your adjustments.
If after a month or two you realize that the theme you chose doesn’t quite work for you, go back and find one that does. This time around you’ll have a better idea of what you want and should be able to find it.