• Scott Herring

Choosing a WordPress Theme for Your Blog

If you watch any of those home improvement or real estate flipper shows on cable television, you probably know what 'curb appeal' is. In case you don't, it means making your house look less like 1313 Mockingbird Lane and more like 518 Crestview Drive. That is, you want your house to look appealing to buyers as they pass on the street. Part of attracting new readers to your blog is having decent curb appeal. If you're using Wordpress, that's partially handled by the theme. Here are some tips on choosing WordPress themes for your blog.


What Is a WordPress Theme


WordPress is more than just blogging software -- it's a comprehensive content management system (CMS). You can write your blog posts, add photos, include video & audio clips, sell products, and so much more. That's all content. Making it look good is another layer. When you first installed or signed into WordPress, you may have chosen a theme. WordPress has dozens of free options, like Twenty Twenty or Twenty Twentyone, the latest ones included. You may have chosen to browse the free gallery, or maybe you considered some of the premium (paid) options. The theme ecosystem is actually massive, with some of the best ones for sale at places like ThemeForest/Envato. As you will see browsing all these galleries, you can make your website or blog look like practically anything you can imagine.



What Makes a Good WordPress Theme


Michael and I perhaps disagree on theme selection. I'm more into showcasing the web, he's more into getting his message across fast & clear. I like photos, videos, and other rich content. Michael says don't bother. And that's where themes can help. First and foremost, when you shop, shop by purpose. There are themes specifically targeted to blog writers, news sites, photographers, podcasters, corporate users, and a thousand other categories. Look for something that matches your purpose. Another consideration you'll see is the availability of powerful page builders. Rather than writing text in a box, you can design custom layouts. I've used a number of the available options over the years, and you can really do some amazing things with each them. Whatever you do, you should look for a theme that suits your style with minimal effort. Don't fight your theme (I have and it sucks), don't punch above your weight (if they're too technical, you'll waste valuable writing time), and plan on how you can really use the theme to spruce up your curb appeal. You can try themes without jacking up your blog with the Preview option.



What Are Some Good WordPress Themes for Blogging


The short answer to this question is "it depends". Everyone will have a different answer. For a free theme, I like Twenty Twenty (over a relatively untested Twenty Twentyone). When it comes to premium options, I'd recommend previewing them to see how they make your blog appear. And if you're looking at what I call "Professional" themes (typically over $50), try their demos. Most offer a 30-day money back guarantee, but the trial takes time away from writing. You'll see names like Divi, Avada (my personal fave), Astra, and X on many popular lists. I've tried dozens, if not hundreds, of themes over the years. I have even commissioned writing some intricate custom themes. The curb appeal dividend is always the goal in theme selection.



Choosing WordPress Themes for Your Blog


You know your style and goals, so choose a theme that suits you. Bear in mind the importance of a good user experience. Fast, clean, and error-free delivery is critical. Get some curb appeal.



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