We’re 5 days in to the TBP Blog Challenge and it’s time to get the whip crackin’ on your blog design. Hopefully you’ve nailed down your branding and are ready to take the next step- web design! But first, it’s time to choose a theme!
I have to install what in what? And code what? Web design, oh web design. Davida and I both started our blogs by navigating the world of design on our own. Truthfully if we could do it all over again, we would hire a designer off the bat to save time and prevent frustration, but we know that this is a huge investment to make on day 1. So- if you’re looking to design your own site, don’t fret! There are a ton of tools and tutorials out there that will guide you along the way.
Where to start? CHOOSE A THEME! We know choosing the perfect theme can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve rounded up some of our favs! Davida and I both use the Genesis Framework with the Foodie Pro Theme and love love love it. If we had to recommend one out of all of them, it would be that combo. It’s a bit complex, but is super customizable and great for recipe organization. Check it out.
This theme is actually a parent framework, which means its a general template from which more customized themes branch out. Many of the themes built for WordPress are “child themes” of the Genesis Framework. While you can certainly use the Genesis Framework as your blog’s theme, we recommend using a child theme as they allow might work better for the type of blog you are building i.e. DIY, Food, Fashion etc..
Something you should note is that most Genesis child themes require you to also install the Genesis Framework. This definitely drives costs up, but Genesis child/parent themes are reliable, oftentimes easy to customize and have great customer support. There’s so many fantastic themes over on StudioPress that we wouldn’t even know where to begin, but here are some of the more popular options:
Foodie Pro – great for food bloggers especially those who focus on recipes as it includes a recipe page template
Daily Dish Pro – perfect for any blogger who is photography focused and requires big spaces for pictures
Swank Theme – also very photography focused and has a great gallery option for anyone looking to show off a portfolio
Executive Pro – great for bloggers looking to sell a product or service
Runway Pro – everything a fashion blogger could need. Also great for fitness or other lifestyle-based blogs.
Modern Blogger – very easy to customize and great layout for the lifestyle or DIY blogger
*There are also tons of extra custom Genesis child themes on Etsy. They don’t necessarily have Genesis’ seal of approval on them but they can still be great, though you should note that you will still have to purchase the Genesis Framework to use them.
The benefit to elegant themes is their price. They charge $69 for ALL of their themes which is over 80 of them! This allows you to try out different themes and find one that fits.
The downside to elegant themes is that they aren’t as easy to customize as Genesis child themes typically are. However, they have tons of themes to choose from so if there’s one that fits exactly what you’re looking for, then this might be the place for you.
DIYthemes has developed an awesome theme called Thesis that is one of the most customizable themes on the market. For bloggers who aren’t comfortable with any coding and don’t want to hired out, the Thesis theme is your answer. It’s built to allow for customizations through “skin” layers and drag and point boxes so those little changes that would typically take hours to code can now be done in seconds.
If you’re looking for an extra custom site or one that goes beyond what a standard blog/website looks like then Thesis won’t be for you, but if you’re not too caught up on the template and don’t need a specific layout than the Thesis Theme could be your answer.
Described as “pretty” and “feminine”, Angie Makes themes are definitely more for the DIY/Fashion/Girly blogger. They’re well-designed, easy-to-customize and have some awesome layouts if you’re looking for a female edge.
Theme Forest is a marketplace for individual theme developers. Similar to Etsy, but specifically for WordPress themes. There are some great finds in here if you’re looking for something super specific. They aren’t as easy to code -or find coders- to customize these, but sometimes you can hire the theme developer to make specific changes you might be looking for. Great if you have a very particular idea in mind and none of the theme houses have what you are looking for.
New Bloggers – Choose your theme. Tell us which one you like best and why.
Experienced Bloggers – Reevaluate your theme. Do you like your layout? Is your website user friendly? Is your content well organized? Is it time to change your theme?