If I were to name one thing that could make or break your blog in an instant, it’s your blog’s theme.
A blog theme is the overall appearance of a blog – where your posts show up, how your side bar looks, where your logo sits, the fonts, the way your page menu works and all the finer little details. Also called a ‘template’ or ‘design’, a theme is what enables you to have a drop-down menu, an image slideshow and an interesting footer. It’s a whole lot of blog coding, already done for you.
Why is a theme important?
Think of a theme like the packaging of a makeup palette. You could have the best eye shadow formula in the world, but unless you place it in good packaging, it’s not going to look appealing and therefore, it won’t sell. If you’re really good at photography or writing, but you haven’t bought a nice theme to package it in, you’re selling yourself short.
Here’s another way to look at it – you may not be that great at blog photography (just yet), however, if you put what you can do in shiny, great-looking packaging (a new theme)… your work will look better in an instant! It’s a great way to grow your following, faster.
It’s important to make sure your blog shows up correctly on a mobile device, as Google will penalize you in search rankings if it’s not. This is called a ‘responsive’ theme, which means when your blog is viewed on a mobile or tablet device, it’s still easy to navigate and looks great too. Most themes these days are responsive, however if you can see your entire layout when you look at your blog on your phone, as it appears on your computer screen, then it isn’t.
If you’re not feeling confident with your blog, a new theme can almost trick yourself and your readers into believing your blog is better and more professional. It can motivate you to create more content, it makes a great first impression for new readers and it also makes the experience of moving around your blog so much better.
How does it work?
A theme is added to your blog in your blog’s control panel, where you have all the coding and other settings. In Blogger it’s in the Template section and in WordPress it’s in Appearance > Themes.
When you purchase a blog theme from another site, you will receive a file instantly which you can upload directly to your blog – this will change your blog’s design all in one go. More often than not, you don’t have to worry about HTML coding at all, but if you do, there will always be easy-to-follow instructions included in your purchase. Some sites even offer installation as part of the price, they may sell it separately or have a video showing you how to do it. If you have the patience though, it’s not hard to set up yourself.
You can change your blog’s theme at any time (and as many times as you want) along your blogging journey. I didn’t buy a theme for Blog Pixie for so long, as I always just did my own coding and sorted it out myself. Eventually though, I wanted more of a professional, interactive design so that Blog Pixie could be more of a business than just a blog. I decided to make the move from Blogger to WordPress and purchased one of the amazing themes from Hello You Designs.
Most themes are fully customizable, so once you have it installed you should be able to change colours, fonts and add/remove different sections to suit your branding and your blog’s needs.
Where can I get one?
Firstly, I have to introduce you to my own blog templates for the Blogger platform. I’ve created a selection of feminine, minimalist and stylish designs specifically for Blogger blogs. I offer free installation and a free header design to go with it, so if you’re interested, jump on over to my Etsy shop (or the shop here on Blog Pixie) and have a look!
Cassidy is the most popular out of all my themes, I think because it’s simple, easy to work yet still looks really clean and pretty. The free header (if you need it) is made in a trendy brush script style font and the other fonts on the theme have been designed to pair with it perfectly. The peach colour is flattering for all blog styles yet can be changed to whatever colour you like. You can also upload your own header image / logo if you have one.
Following are my favourite themes for the WordPress platform. Some require you to purchase the Genesis Framework as well, which is just another file you upload when uploading your theme. It’s a little investment, but once you own it you can use it as many times as you like. It just allows you to use themes which are more intricate than a regular WordPress theme. I definitely think it’s worth it!
The first theme shown here called Hello Maker is what is currently on Blog Pixie and I LOVE it. If you want to use this one as well you’ll need to install Genesis (linked above). You can change all the photos and the colours you can see in the theme, it was really easy to install too!