Once you have created a blog – See my 10 Steps to Your Own Blog
You need to install a blog theme to make it your own.
What is a Blog Theme? I think of a theme as how you will decorate your home. Look at it this way;
- Your Blog Name (URL) is the address of your Home
- Your Hosting Plan is your own blog home.
- Your Blog Theme is how your blog home is decorated.
The blog theme you choose is the FIRST impression your blog makes to the world. It’s what they see first before they read anything.
Question: Do you have blogs that you love to look at?
Think of five you like and write down the reasons you do. See if you can find what blog theme they use. Usually you can scroll down to the bottom footer of a blog and see which theme they use. You can also message the owner of the blog and ask them. Some bloggers do have a web designer customize their blog, but the majority of bloggers use themes. There are thousands of themes, but you want to make sure it is something you can customize and make it your own.
How are Blog Themes Created?
Themes are created by weblog designers who are proficient in putting WordPress templates and tabs (through codes) to create a design themes. There are food related themes, business themes, photography themes, home style themes, and the list goes on.
When a blog is first hosted, it will have a very generic look with a simple theme installed. It is up to you to add a theme to your blog.
See your Dashboard for your WordPress Blog
Your dashboard of your blog has the name of your blog in top left corner. On the left side, you will see the different parts and mechanisms of your blog. The first thing you need to do is add a theme to this generic blog. It is best to choose a theme and have installed before your add content.
How to Choose a Blog Theme
Now you need to choose a WordPress Theme. Some themes are free, and some cost quite a bit. My word of advice is to pay for a theme, but don’t go over your budget. I encourage my coaching clients to choose a blog theme they love, but in the $40 – $100 range. It is a one-time fee and you will have access to it forever, along with using it for other blogs you may want in the future.
There are many Theme companies; all hoping you will choose one of their amazing themes. You can find themes a few ways.
- Google what your blog will be about. For example, if you are creating a food blog, type: “Wordpress blog themes food”. This search will show you themes that are geared for food blogs. But don’t limit yourself to just looking at themes geared for food bloggers. As a food blogger you might like more of a southern, natural, minimalist, or eclectic look, so keep searching. Make sure to look at the demos that most themes provide.
- Go to StudioPress.com to search the many themes. Studio Press is the most popular WordPress blogging theme company. These are called “child” themes that connect with the genesis framework. When you buy a theme, the genesis framework is included.
Click on Shop for Themes in upper right corner to see all the possibilities.
- Look at themes with Theme Companies. I am always looking at themes. It’s like going through the magazine rack at the book store. The only thing I emphasize is to find a theme that uses the Genesis Framework as the “parent” (see below)
For the blog I am creating, I am using the Modern Pro theme from Darn Cute Themes. They are a company that focuses on woman’s style themes. They are Genesis framework compatible too.
A word about the Genesis Framework. As a blogger and coach to other mom bloggers, I highly recommend a theme that uses the genesis framework. The way I explain genesis framework to my clients is to look at their kitchen. Your kitchen has the necessary appliances to function with the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, sink, coffee maker etc. That’s called the “parent’ genesis framework. It has all the mechanisms for anyone to prepare, clean and enjoy food. The “child” theme is how you decorate and fill your kitchen with the utensils and food you enjoy.
Here are TEN reasons I recommend finding a blog theme that uses the genesis framework.
- Genesis has the best coding by top-notch developers from Studio Press.
- Your theme will not be affected when you update the Genesis theme. (you will see theme updates on your dashboard – always update the themes)
- You can get support from Studio Press if you have questions.
- You can get help from others who use the genesis themes.
- Your one-time genesis payment can be used over and over again. You keep the genesis zip-file on your computer to be used for future blogs.
- Once you learn the genesis framework (which you see as we learn more in upcoming hours), you will be able to make changes easily.
- Genesis framework has great SEO optimization in it.
- Genesis framework and themes are user-friendly for new bloggers.
- Genesis adapts well with plugins (you will learn about these)
- Genesis and themes are the most popular for designers.
Take some time to look at the many themes available. Again, I recommend paying for a theme and not choosing a free theme. Here are some things to consider in choosing a theme:
- Don’t pick a theme based on colors, images, fonts etc. as these can all be changed.
- Do pick a theme based on the layout and look as these are more difficult to change without having to hire a web designer.
- Don’t pick a theme based on it’s name. I use a Foodie Pro Theme for my TodaysCreativeMom.com blog, but it is not focused on food. I chose it because I liked the recipe index it came with.
- Do pick a theme based on your desired blog. Do you like having a lot of bold images, then pick a theme that focuses on photos. Do you like a newspaper looking blog, choose one that looks like a layout of a news article.
- Do pick a theme that looks like it will monetize well if you plan to put advertising in the sidebars, headers and within your posts.
- Do pick a theme that allows ecommerce if you plan to sell products on your site.
- Do pick a theme that are mobile responsive as most people view blogs from their phones, Ipads etc.
Here I show how I installed my Bright Start for Kids blog, I am chose the Genesis Framework with a “child” theme called Modern Blogger Pro.
I bought both the genesis framework and child theme and have them as zip files on my computer. They will stay there until ready to install on a WordPress blog.
Note: Once you pay for your genesis framework and theme, you have them forever!
How to Install Genesis Framework and/or Theme:
- Go to your Blog Admin page, www.YourDomainName.com/wp-admin
- Type your Username and Password
- Click on Appearance (left side)
- Click Theme – you will see your generic Twenty Seventeen
- Click “Upload” Theme
- Click on Choose File
7) Find your Zip Files of your blog theme and genesis framework on your computer. Click on the Zip File and click Open.
Once you see it as a file on your blog, click on Install Now.
You will see your genesis and theme on your Theme Page. Now you are ready to activate them.
- Click on the themes, and press Activate
- Now your blog has a new theme. You are ready to make it your own.
Remember to always update your theme and genesis framework when you see there are updates. This keeps your blog most up to date.
Note: You will also see a “Coming Soon” page. Once you are ready to launch your site, you will press Click Here for it to be seen by others.
It is up to you when you want to go LIVE with your blog. Until you press, Click Here, it will not be seen except by you.
I hope this was a help as you create your own blog. If you need help, feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need coaching assistance, feel free to contact me on the coaching link on my ABOUT link above.
A big thankyou to Meggan Harrison for her photo of her newly decorated home office.
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