Bloggers change their themes all the time for a wide variety of reasons. But it’s not a decision you should make lightly. After all, that theme is the platform for you business. It has to support your business like the foundation of a brick and mortar business and it has to be sturdy enough to hold up under traffic. Before you start tearing down the walls, here are 11 factors to consider when designing your new blog theme.
- Ease Of Transition: If your blog is already a few years old you may have all kinds of scripts in place and plug-ins and maybe even an expensive ad server. Consider the fact that you’re going to have to transfer all of that over, bit by bit, to your new theme. There’s no right or wrong here and whatever you decide is fine. Just be aware that you might end up needing some professional help so you don’t do some irreparable damage.
- Color Scheme: Put some thought into your color scheme. A complete change could actually bring in more traffic if your old design was loud and flashy. On the other hand, readers familiar with your flashy theme might think they’re in the wrong place when they visit your new pastel-colored blog.
- Readability: If you’re committed to designing a new theme then this is the perfect time to take a look at things like font sizes, headers and sub-headings, image borders and all the things that go into make your blog easier to read. Look at your old design first, before you take it down, to find the areas you need to improve.
- Navigation: Again, this is the perfect time to improve site navigation for your readers. Maybe you need to use a different font or color for your page and widget titles, maybe you need to use larger graphics to highlight your follow buttons. What about link colors? Analyze all areas of navigation on your old blog before you take it down.
- SEO: If you’re designing your own theme make sure you understand CSS and HTML and how they work for the search engines. Your theme might be amazing for your readers but if the search engines can’t easily scan it you won’t appear in organic searches.
- Monetization: How is your blog monetized? If you rely heavily on selling ad space, will those ads show well and get good click-throughs with your new theme?
- Social Sharing Capability: I guest blog on one blog that’s just not set up well for social sharing. When I share a link on Facebook the only image it lets me use is one of the ads from the sidebar, which is not attractive – at all. Consider the social networks your audience uses. Is your blog designed to allow the use of large images for the Pinterest crowd? Is it set up to format attractive Tweets? Make it easy for your readers to share.
- Branding: If you’ve been blogging for a while then your blog has a brand, whether you realize it or not. Are you carrying that brand over into your new theme?
- Load Time: Again, be aware of your own limitations. Designing for shorter load times is critical. If you don’t know what you’re doing, consult a professional website designer.
- Easy Installation: Before you install one of the premium themes that you can “easily customize” take it for a test run. Some of those themes are more trouble than they’re worth.
- Support: And before you install that premium theme, see what type of support is available. Sooner or later you’re going to need help with something.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!