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In Search of the Perfect Blog Theme

(This post was originally written in 2015 but the advice is still relevant today. Links update 2018)

 

Since I started this blog a few months ago, I have spent hours, days, even weeks trying to read everything I can about blogging. I have been in search of the perfect expert advice that would enable me to create the perfect blog. I spent a total of 5 minutes coming up with a name for my blog. Eclectic Evelyn. It came to me in the middle of a conversation and I loved it immediately. I bought the domain, registered on all the social media networks with my name Eclectic Evelyn – twitter, vine, instagram, tumblr, youtube, Tsu, google+ and I set up a Facebook Page. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get started but first I had to find the perfect WordPress Theme.

My first theme was Bushwick. I loved it. It was simply beautiful. I wanted a theme to show off my writing and photographs and it did. It was all about writing. It was striking in its simplicity just word and a picture. It took my breath away. Then I learned that my perfect theme was not perfect at all. During my continued search for the perfect advice, I found out that I needed a theme that could support ads, banners, footers, widgets, videos, newsletter sign ups, comments, social media, multiple side bars,etc. Very overwhelming. I am not new to building websites I have done it for over 10 years but I am new to blogging.

So began my hunt for the perfect WordPress theme according to all the expert advice I had read. A theme that had all the bells and whistles that the perfect blog needed. I tried them on like trying on dresses in a store. I must have tried on fifty themes that fit perfectly. They had all the right trim, buttons, and fringe but they just didn’t flatter my figure. They just didn’t make me go “Wow! That looks amazing” like my first theme did. Then I found Convac. It was clean and simple with a large header image and large feature images for each post. It had a sidebar and widget areas in the footer. It wasn’t perfect according to all the advice I read but it flattered my figure and made me go Wow! I liked it almost as much as Bushwick so I kept it. I was happy. I should have stopped there but being a perfectionist, I kept reading looking for more advice on creating the perfect blog.

 

As I read more about blogging I found that the experts said I needed a small header so that ads could be above the fold. I still needed more widget areas, and I needed two sidebars. It is all about being able to monetize your blog and the more ad space you have the more money you get, or so they say. So I went back to the store and started trying on more dresses (themes). Once again none of them made me happy so I decided to visit blogs and really look at their design and layout. I visited the most popular blogs according to the experts, the ones that had the most ads, generated the most revenue and had the largest social media followings. Then I visited the blogs I liked to read every day. The blogs that made me feel at home. I noticed that the popular blogs, designed around what the experts had said was perfect, assaulted my senses. I could not spend more than 5 minutes on them because there was so much clutter from ads, banners, sales videos, etc. It was often hard to find the information that was written by the blogger for having to wade through all the ads and pop-ups.

The blogs I loved to read did not have all this clutter. They felt like going into my favorite local bookstore. Yes, there were some ads but they were on the peripheral and the words, the words were the feature. I spent hours on my favorite blogs getting lost in time reading the posts. I often visited their ads and checked out the products they recommended because I trusted their opinions. I knew they were blogging because they love writing and making a few dollars from advertising was a plus. These are the blogs that if all the advertisers went away tomorrow they would still be writing.

On my quest to create the perfect blog, I forgot why I wanted to blog in the first place. To write. To write and share my thoughts and images with whoever would be interested in seeing them. Yesterday, I was looking for yet more tips on making the perfect blog, because that is what we perfectionists do. We strive for perfection. I came across a post by Angela Booth over on BlogHer She has been blogging for 16 years, and this was her advice.

'There are no rules for blogging. No one forces you to blog their way. You can blog any way you choose.' ~ Angela BoothClick To Tweet

She reminded me why I started blogging in the first place. She reminded me to do it for the love of words. I’m not going to say that I will stop reading and researching and striving for the perfect blog because that is what we perfectionists do. What I will say is that I will no longer let it derail me from the real reason I wanted to blog. It was all for the love of words, beautiful words written on a nice white page.
So, for now, I am leaving the dress shop with the dress I came in wearing knowing that it shows off my figure and makes me say Wow! But there is no doubt that one day I will be back to find another dress that makes me feel the same way.

 

Some great resources for finding free WordPress Themes and tutorials

WordPress Theme Directory

Just Free Themes

WPBeginner

WordPress Themes with a bang

 

Do you have any great resources or advice? Share it in a comment

 

DreamHost

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13 Comments

  • greg1948

    Like with people, the outside appearance does not always reflect what is inside! I wish you luck and fun. I got the fun part. I have been blogging from the event horizon of the black hole of oblivion for years, but I keep going like the energizer bunny. When the fun stops, I stop! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I always visit the visitors. I shall browse around here a little more before moving on. . . .

  • Ashley

    Hi Evelyn! Great post! I think your page looks great right now. I completely agree with you that too many intrusive ads really take away from the experience. Good luck with your blog! I’m a new blogger too, so we are on the same journey!

  • Laurie

    I am a relatively new blogger too (since January), and went through a thought process similar to yours. The blogs I like to read are the ones whose posts I enjoy reading, not the ones with flashy design and lots of ads. The words are the important thing! So glad I came across your post.

  • Victoria

    I have left more than one blog because of all of the flashing and popping up. I would like to make a few bucks but am not willing to bog down my blog. I am not computer savvy so my theme is the one daughter used when we sat up the blog. I would like to change but have no clue how to start. lol

    • Eclectic Evelyn

      Knowing how to code and create websites has helped me a great deal with my blogging journey, but with WordPress, it’s not as hard as everyone thinks to change your theme. It really is like trying on a dress.

  • Christie Hawkes

    There is so much advice out there about creating the perfect blog. I read a lot of it, but like you, try to keep in mind that the writing is primary purpose. Presenting that writing in a way that pleases me and my readers is foremost in my mind. I found your post on the Bloggers Pit Stop. I’m very glad I did. Have a lovely day!

  • Jann Olson

    I agree with Angela! I do not blog for money, I do it for love and fun!! I hate visiting the blogs with advertising popping up every second. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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