Step 4: Designing Your Blog to Reflect Your Purpose, Your Vision and Your Voice
The time has come to decorate your blog and make it all your own!
Creating your online space with purpose and personality if essential.
As a blogger with clarity of purpose, it’s important to create a space that attracts the readers you’re looming to attract. Think of this as meeting potential clients for the first time.
Or, meeting someone on a first date.
You would want to make a positive impression in hopes of getting your readers’ attention. In both of these cases you want to present yourself in the most appropriate manner, right?
When you want to make a good impression in business or in your social life you take time to prepare. You clean up: wash, shower, brush your teeth, and put on a power outfit.
The same hold true for your site. Your site expresses who you are, what your purpose or mission is, and do it with impact. You have one shot to present the best of yourself.
Authenticity matters. If you’re authentic you’ll be farther ahead than other bloggers.
Think about this, if your target audience, is a relaxed group, far removed from the suit and tie audience, your blog would present information in a more relaxed fashion than a business blog. If you’re looking to attract academic readers, then your information and formatting would be such that establishes yourself as an authority in research and presentation of data and real world experiences.
If you’re targeting a group of young ladies with fashion sense, your blog may present a softer approach to sharing information, without the need for research and reporting as would be true of a more academic site.
Your blog gets it’s personality for the design you create and the content you include. You want to convey originality, authenticity, and a spark of human interest. In order to make a memorable impact it all starts with your design, or theme. And, when you install the theme from WordPress (This is the really cool stuff!)
To use WordPress, you don’t need to be a programmer. Let’s move on to the fabulous WordPress themes…
What Exactly is a WordPress Theme?
A theme is the “skin” of your blog. It allows you to design your website and control how you present the content of your site.
A WordPress theme is a group of files that work together to create what’s known as template files. These files dictate how each site looks and how it functions. These files house the HTML, CCS, graphics, and custom pages. All this is done so you won’t have to!
Today’s bloggers are empowered with amazing options, options that were reserved for coders a few short years ago. You can decide on the structure, the appearance, and the functionality your blog. Creativity is yours with WordPress themes.
You Have More Choices
WordPress has many free themes. There are also premium themes available. There are positives and negatives for each, so you need to be aware so you can make the best choice for you and your blogging objectives.
Here’s the information you need:
1. Premium WordPress Themes
Premium WordPress themes are paid themes. They cost between $30 – $200. But, the paid themes I typically recommend are approximately $49. This may be a negative feature, paying for a theme, and other view this as a positive.
Here’s information you need to make an informed decision:
Advantages of Premium Themes
- A premium theme adds value to your site if you intend on selling it in the future.
- Premium themes offer more options: Colors, widths, fonts, and menus.
- With the purchase of a premium theme comes support from providers of the themes. Developers of free themes aren’t invested in the user experiences after they create them for the market place., so you won’t get support of the theme’s functionality
- “Credit Links” are automatically included in the structure of free blogs, but not in paid themes. This is a good thing. These credit links are links to the creator’s site to give them credit which is fair. But unfortunately these credit links are often linked to spammy sites. Sure they may look unprofessional, and this may not be a concern to you, but unfortunately, these may create a negative impact on your search rankings. If that’s not a concern for you. No worries. You just need to know they’re there.
Disadvantages of Paid Themes…
- There is a learning curve to using a paid theme. And, it may take some time to choose from the many 1000’s available. Here’s the good news, the effort is worth the reward.
- Creation of your site will take a bit longer. Due to this learning curve, most paid themes have video tutorials to help guide you through the process and offer support, as well.
Installing a Premium WordPress Theme is Easy
Watch this video to get a detailed overview of installing a premium theme.
Where Do I Buy Premium WordPress Theme?
If you want affordable WordPress themes that make your blog stand above the crowd, I recommend Mojo Market Place. (Just to let you know, I do make a commission from Mojo for referrals. But, it’s at no cost to you.)
Mojo Marketplace is a vast resource of WordPress themes. They offer all types of themes for a wide array of Content Management Systems. Basic or complex themes, you decide. If you have something in mind for your site, chances are they have something to fill your needs.
Best news of all: WordPress is flexible. If you ever want to change the look of your site, all you need to do is change the theme. How sweet is that!
This means you can create your site and load it with information, and as your website evolves and your skills develop, you can change the theme as needed.
With that in mind, make sure you think about what “atmosphere” you want to create when a visitor comes to your site. This can be referred to as your “voice”. Are you taking a light-hearted approach, playing on humor? Is your vision to have a more formal voice in order to establish yourself as an expert on your niche? Maybe you have a vision to create a training site or sorts and you want to build a meaningful relationship with your readers though video. The voice you envision creating is greatly impacted appearance. Mojo Marketplace can help you achieve the right feeling for your site.
2. Free WordPress Themes
Sweet! Free stuff to get you starting building your blog. You don’t need to pay for your theme. You can use the 1000’s of themes available right from your WordPress dashboard. But, I also want to you to know about other benefits of using a free theme.
- Free WordPress themes are one click install
- You have almost 2000 themes to choose from.
- When you switch themes, you don’t lose information or content.
On the other hand there are some disadvantages:
- Because they’re no cost, it means there are many other sites that may look like yours. If you want to brand yourself to stand above the crowd, this may be an issue for you.
- Sometimes there are limited options for functionality on free WordPress themes. This isn’t to say they’re bad, they may be simplistic. If you’re just starting out, this maybe the way you want to start out.
- Unlike a paid theme, there is little to no support from the creator if the theme. You’re left to your own problem solving abilities if you hit a roadblock.
- Security should be a top concern for your site. Unfortunately when it comes to free themes, you may become vulnerable to hidden codes in the theme files or spam that negatively impacts the user experience. This doesn’t happen often, but a risk you need to know about all the same.
How to Install a Free WP Theme
When you first install WordPress, you get a default theme already installed. You can use your blog just as it is. As soon as you install WordPress, you are ready to load it with content. This means you can create content now, and decide on appearance later if you want.
When you’re ready to change the look of your site, watch this video: Hot to change install a free wordpress theme on your new blog. All of this will happen from your WP Dashboard. It’s a piece of cake!
Create a Professional Touch With a Logo
If you’re looking to create a professional presence on line or you want people to recognize your name and purpose each time they visit oyur site, you may want to consider creating a logo.
Just keep in mind, this is NOT a necessary steps to build your blog. However, if you want to build a brand around you, your product, service or information a logo is something you are going to want to consider in the future.
A logo makes your site more memorable. It captures your overall purpose and mission. If you are branding yourself as an expert in your field or in a niche, I highly recommend creating a logo that can be worked into the color scheme and layout of your site. Remember, as we read earlier, first impressions matter.
If you don’t have the skills to create a logo, you can pay to have one created. There are also “free” logo makers online where you do it yourself. If you take this route, you do need to pay once you decide to download the logo you created.
If you’re serious about making your blog a hub for your business, and you have the financial means you may want to consider paying someone for a high quality logo. Believe me, these turn out very different from those you make online yourself.
If you want a logo, but your financed are limited, consider going to Fiverr.com, a service that connects you with people who complete projects for $5.00. Getting a logo for that cost may be worth it.
But again, this decision is based on your purpose, goals, and ultimate vision for your site. Don’t feel pressured to get this done immediately.
Standing Ovation Please! Your Blog is Ready to Share With the world!
The process of setting up your site is very simple. It’s the decisions that present themselves after wards that may cause you to slow down for much needed contemplation.
Because of the simplicity of set up, I am a forever fan of WordPress!
You have the capacity to customize your theme at any time.
Essentially the capacity to customize your site is endless.
One bonus of getting a Mojo theme is the ability to send questions to the creators of a given theme. All you have to do is access the details of your theme on their site and get in touch with them.
If you have any additional questions on your WordPress theme, you will want to send those to the person who created your theme. You can easily see who is behind each custom theme as you browse Mojo by clicking “Details” on each theme.
Or, you could always contact me and I’ll answer any questions I can.
Once you have your blog set up and a theme installed, I would love to see how your blog looks. Send me a link to your site. That’s one of the greatest rewards, when I see the results you get.
Let’s move on to learning [how to WordPress] in detail.