This is the first part of a series of blog posts that cover tips for stepping up your WordPress game and improving your blog. The first of this series involves choosing a blog theme for WordPress blogs. Now…before I start cranking out these tips…I want to state for the record that I am self taught. Everything that I've learned as it relates to building blogs has been through trial and error.
As I started putting together this post I started thinking back to when I launched my first WordPress blog. To say that building that blog was hard is an understatement. I was new to the web and clueless. I didn't know that I was getting myself into. To be truthful I thought that setting up my blog would be a piece of cake.
Boy was I wrong. Like a many of you I scoured the internet in search of information that would help me start a blog in "10 minutes". Because… this is what most articles claim. Then I tried using free video tutorials that people were sharing.Some of the tutorials were good. Others not so much. The majority of these tutorials left me more confused and overwhelmed than anything. But…after years of trial and error, I've finally found a formula that works for me. Thanks to WordPress, building an attractive blog is a "theme away. This leads me to my next discussion….
How Bad Web Design Can Impacts Your Business Credibility
True story: Last year a prospective customer reached out to me asking for help with improving her digital branding. She mentioned that a potential client contacted her about an exciting business opportunity. She then went on to say that the client took one look at her website and decided NOT to do business with her based off of:
Poor web design and bad branding
This goes to show you that people will make snap judgements based on your branding and web design too. The last thing you want to do is turn potential biz away from your biz.
Bad web design can:
- Make you look a bit amateurish to clients you want to attract your biz. When your website looks unprofessional and thrown together sends off the wrong signals to prospective clients. And no… it's not fair to judge a business on looks alone. But since we are living in a "microwave" generation you only have a few seconds to capture a visitor's attention. So you want to try your best to design your website to reel your ideal customers in.
- Damage your biz credibility: Again peeps do tend to make snap judgements on looks. If you look the part, the peeps you want to attract are more inclined to take you seriously. If you don't then they will think that you don't take pride in your business appearance.
- Scare off your prospects. Sad but true. I just mentioned that bad web design and branding caused one of my previous customers to LOSE business. It's not fair but it happens. This is why I am a huge advocate of using WordPress. Even if you are starting up on a shoestring, you can find an affordable theme to use to design your blog to make it look like a million bucks!
How I Got Started with Using WordPress
My WordPress experience started in the Dreamweaver and HTML era. This was back when you had to download an HTML template and use an FTP software like Filezilla to make changes to your website. This was a P.I.T.A. (#ForRealz). If you have ever built a website using Dreamweaver then I am sure you will agree. The HTML templates were not easy to work with and designing a site was much harder. But anywho, when I started my computer consulting biz, I wanted to try my hand at DIY ing my own website but got frustrated in the process.
After my failed attempts at using HTML templates to build my own website with an HTML template I decided to outsource my web design. I put an ad up on Craigslist soliciting local web designers in the DFW area for assistance. One awesome lady responded to the ad and asked to help a sista out! We chatted about my existing website (the HTML one) and I told her that I just needed help with updating that site. She then told me that she was going to tear the site down and use WordPress to build a new one.
I ain't gonna lie, I was floored and upset! I was hell bent on her not tearing down my website because I had worked so hard to build that site. But today I am super grateful that she did. She introduced me to WordPress. Since that time I have been building websites and blogs with WordPress.
WordPress Theme's Make it EASY to Improve Your Site's Look and Visual Appeal
As I started using WordPress more, one of the biggest perks was the ability to use themes to dress up my sites. With a WordPress theme you can take your sites design from blah to BOOMING in a matter of minutes – instead of spending "hours" fiddling around with an HTML template and FTP clients trying to make modifications to your blog's design.
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is pretty much a template that you can use to style up your blog or website.
As I mentioned, a WordPress theme can make or break your blog's design and definitely help you step things up in a serious way. In the past, I've pretty much used regular blog themes to start my blogs. Nowadays I am more intentional about the themes that I use. These days, I love using themes that are conversion focused (likethis one fromThrive Themes) because I've realized this: Conversions is name of the GAME! For realz….
Choosing a Blog Theme for WordPress: 5 Key Considerations
If you are building a blog for the first time or are you are planning to update your current theme blog's theme, here are a few things to consider:
- Is the theme responsive? This just means that your blog will show up great on any type of device (mobile phones, smartphones, iPads, tablets, desktops…you name it). Many of the WordPress theme's out there in the marketplace are responsive, but it''s always good to check before buying one.
- Is the theme built for conversions? This was a huge mistake that I made when I cranked out my first blog. Yes, a blog is a platform to crank out blog posts, but the overall goal of any blog or website that you setup should be tailored more towards conversions.
- Is there support available with the theme? Sometimes as you are unboxing a theme you may run into technical issues. This is why I am not a huge fan of using free themes. I would much rather pay to use a premium theme like the ones that the folks fromStudio Press orThrive Themes offer. With Premium themes you get access to support to help you out in case you encounter tech issues.
- Does the theme allow you to modify features and etc colors? This is a huge biggie my friend. Branding is super important and so you want to try to stick to something that let's you change colors around when you need to.
- Is the theme compatible with essential blogging plugins? You definitely want to make sure that your blogging theme will work with essential plugins. For example, if you plan to sell products from your blog, then you will need to make sure that your theme will work with ecommerce plugins and such.
Again my friend, these are some of the essentials to choosing a blog theme for your brand. I hope that you enjoyed these tips and this helps ya choose a theme for your blog like a CHAMP.
By the way, if you liked this article, you'll LOVE this Meaty freebie I just published on The top 3 questions you MUST ask before launching your blog and a list of essential tools you need to build a blog that converts. It's called "The WP Launch List " and you can grab it for free here: bit.ly/ycglaunchlist. For you motivated peeps, if you're ready to build your own conversion focused WordPress blog from scratch, check out Fire Up Your Framework. It's a course that lays it all out for ya. No Theory. No fluff…just actionable content.