Step 4 – How to Design and Customize The Look of Your Blog
With your blog live and WordPress installed, it’s now time to give your site a custom look and feel.
Every time a new WordPress site goes live on the internet, it’s created with it’s own default theme. With over 300 million blogs on the internet, the last thing you want to do is have a basic theme design to matches millions of other sites out there already. Not only is the default theme pretty boring looking, it’s also kind of unprofessional.
The good new is, you don’t need to know anything about site design, graphics or programming to completely redesign your site in minutes through the use of a WordPress Theme.
Don’t worry, as always I’m going to walk you through the whole process so you don’t get lost or discouraged. Before doing so, let’s cover the basics of of what WordPress Themes are, how they work and where you can get one for you site.
What is a WordPress Theme?
We already know that WordPress is the free software and content management solution that we are using to power our site. In addition to easily creating and managing the content on our site, WordPress also has Themes that are created by different site designers around the world. In short, they do all the dirty work of creating site designs and making them look pretty amazing. All you need to do is find one that you like, click a few buttons and seeing it live on your site.
While most WordPress Themes are great “out of the box” and will be fully functional on your site right away, nearly all of them are completely customizable as well. If you go with a Premium WordPress Theme (covered later), you will likely have even more options and management over the look and feel of your site, all while never having to touch a line of code.
In summary, WordPress Themes are simply the easiest way to completely change the look and feel of your site, while also making it represent yourself or the message you are trying to deliver.
Choosing the Right Theme for Your Site
As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of WordPress Themes available on the internet today. In addition to choosing the perfect color and design for your site theme, you will also need to choose whether to go with a Premium theme or a Free theme. While “free” always sounds like a great option, “Premium” is usually the best way to go. (I am using a Premium theme on this site). I’ve listed a comparison between the two for you below.
1 – Premium WordPress Themes
The cost for a Premium WordPress Theme is usually in the $39-$149 range, however, there are many WordPress Themes membership sites that will allow you to access all of their designs for one low monthly price. The WordPress theme site I use and recommend offers access to all of their themes for one low annual price. I cover that in the next section below.
While the idea of paying for a Premium WordPress Theme might not be something you want to consider, I’ve laid out multiple advantages and disadvantages for you below.
- Premium themes look amazing right out of the box. Not only will they improve how your site looks instantly, it will also increase your site value if you wanted to sell it down the road.
- The majority of Premium WordPress Themes come with their own customized features and dashboard areas which offer easier and complete control over your site. This allows site owners to easily change all aspects of their site (color, fonts, navigation menus, advertisements) with just a few clicks of a button.
- Continued support and WordPress updates are two more benefits of using a Premium theme with your site. WordPress is constantly updating and coming out with new changes. Along with these WordPress updates comes necessary changes to your WordPress Theme. Nearly all Premium themes come with instant updates and customer support.
- To create a WordPress Theme it takes hundreds of hours of work and if you were to hire someone to create a completely custom theme for your site it could cost thousands of dollars. Premium themes are available at a much cheaper rate because they are offers to multiple customers. By investing in a Premium WordPress Theme, you are practically getting the same quality work of a custom designer at a fraction of the cost.
- As a paying customer of a Premium WordPress Theme, it means you have complete control over the content on your site. This isn’t the case if you were to go with a “Free” theme, as many of them require your site to link back to the original designer of the theme. Not only is this taking up extra space on your site and making visitors leave, it’s also a method that Google frowns upon and could devalue your site in the process.
- With literally thousands of Premium WordPress Themes to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming to find the perfect theme for your site. While this may seem like more of a blessing than a disaster, I’m sure you will find yourself looking through endless sites for that perfect theme.
- Premium theme providers are always trying to make the process of customization and control better than their competition. This means your Premium theme will have more features, customization options and settings to mess around with. The disadvantage here is that it will take you some extra to time learn everything, however, it will also make you and your site that much better in the process.
Now that we’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of Premium WordPress Themes, I want to share with you where I get all of my themes.
Where To Find the Best Premium WordPress Themes
With hundreds of different websites and services out there offering Premium WordPress Themes, I simply want to make this process as easy for you as possible. I personally use and recommend MyThemeShop for nearly all of my websites and blogs. I even have a video testimonial of myself on their site!
I’m not the only one who loves MyThemeShop… they also have over 330,000 customers!
MyThemeShop is simply the best provider for Premium WordPress Themes right now and they are also one of the most competitively priced.
Remember how I said you can purchase a Premium WordPress Theme for anywhere between $39 and $149 each? MyThemeShop has a membership plan on their site which gives FULL ACCESS to their 101 WordPress Themes and 21 WordPress Plugins. This also includes full customer support, access to original PSD files, copyright removal, one-click updates and much more.
I highly recommend going with their “Unlimited Plan” which gives access to all of their themes. Not only will you have the option to change the theme on your site whenever you like, you can also start new sites and use their Premium Themes on as many sites as you like at no additional cost.
Should you only find one theme on their site that you simply love, you can purchase individual themes as well.
When trying to find the perfect theme for your site, look at the current demo themes and sites they already have in place. Once you download and install any of their themes, all you need to do is go to the WordPress Dashboard area to customize the look and feel of your site.
Head over to MyThemeShop and see which theme best fits your site goal.
2 – Free WordPress Themes
To make sure you have all of your bases covered, I also want to let you know that Free WordPress Themes are another option. Just like “Premium” themes, “Free” themes have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- They are free, easy to install and used by millions of sites
- Easily browse through thousands of free themes within WordPress
- Free themes are used by millions of other sites, which means your site and its design may get lost in the crowd
- Limited customization options, support, and user functionality. Nearly all free WordPress Themes won’t come with the advanced features of Premium Themes, simply because they are free. Not having support and WordPress updates could also make your site more vulnerable to an attack or coding issues.
- Theme designer links posted within your site design. This was mentioned earlier as one of the advantages to having a Premium Theme, where you have complete control and copyright over your site. Free WordPress Themes are commonly created just as a means to produce more backlinks to their designer’s website.
Free WordPress themes are a great option for anyone starting a blog for the first time, but I still wouldn’t recommend using one. There are simply way too many advantages to using a Premium Theme, and the costs are quite minimal. If you are already investing time, money and effort into your site, you might as well make sure it looks great and professional in the process!
The next step in the process getting people to come and visit your site. Be sure to implement these killer content marketing and social sharing tips to get more people back to your site. You can follow these steps in the next section by clicking here.
Step 5 Learn How to Use WordPress