After identifying your blog niche and after setting up your domain,hosting and wordpress installation, it is time to choose the right wordpress theme.
we already discussed the Top Ten Things to consider while setting up your blog. Now you need to choose the wordpress theme for your blog.
If you are an expert in wordpress API and PHP you can create your own theme for your blog. Otherwise there are hundreds of free and paid themes are available. First you decide the structure of the wordpress theme. It can be single column, two column, three column, magazine style themes etc. But to choose the right theme you need to ensure certain things.
Load Time factor
You should choose a theme which loads faster. A slow website results in low traffic. Sometimes search engines like Google penalize slow websites. Also the visitors will not wait for more than 10-15 seconds for a web page to load. It will increase the bounce rate and your blog will be among millions of other low traffic blogs. Read more about Bounce Rate
How To Decrease High Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate Explained and Bounce Rate – Google Analytics Metrics
The minimum the number of script ,CSS and image files used in your theme, the minimum the number of HTTP request fired from browser to the server the complete the web page load.
The theme should be SEO (search engine) friendly
There are certain theme features those will help in terms of SEO . The theme should use h1 tag for post titles instead of the blog title. Theme should generate other meta tags like description, keywords, etc. As we discussed there are many basic SEO steps to make sure that your blog/website is search engine friendly.
Cross browser compatible
The themes should be Cross browser compatible. The CSS and the HTML styles used should be cross browser compatible. Basically they should follow w3c standards.
Theme should be Plugin compatible or widget-ready
Theme should support plugins to achieve additional features. There are few must have wordpress plugins like Google Sitemap Generator, SEO plugins, Cache plugins etc.Read more about
- 9 Must Have WordPress Plugins | Best and Top rated WordPress plugins
- Best WordPress Related Posts Plugins
- Best 7 HTML Sitemap WordPress Plugins
- Best Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress
Theme should be customizable
Theme should provide customization options like changing the header image, additional footer options, Google analytic script setup options etc.
Are you planning to monetize your blog?
If you are planning to monetize your blog then the design should be professional. Simple themes should not be sufficient. There are certain themes that provides default ad spaces. Some even supports Google Adsense configurations.
Theme support and future releases
As yor blog grows the theme should support growth. Also wordpress releases new versions periodically and you need to upgrade to new versions. The theme should support the wordpress upgrade. As well when the themes releases new versions periodically you can upgrade easily.
The theme and your logo and other images
The theme should match your already designed logo and other images. You cannot change your logo to suit the theme.Also make sure that the theme uses optimized images . Optimized images helps to reduce the load time of the blog.
Validating blog and theme
Even though many blogger do not give much importance to validate their theme code, but this will make sure that the blog is cross browser compatible and bug free. Make sure your codes and styles validate across the board. That means they have to meet the standards set by the W3C Organization.
Handle HTTP errors gracefully
The theme also should have the support of processing various HTTP errors and should display user friendly pages and messages.
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