by Lisa Stewart: Increase Traffic By Blogging
Best WordPress Themes?
This is a tough one. Some themes START OUT better than others. ALL of them you will constantly adjust and play with. For example, I rarely use the sidebar right of the box and almost always will hard code my sidebar categories, etc. I don’t do it right away bit after a few months I will start ripping apart the themes. Most common problem I see is misuse of header tags. Using h2 tags all over the place.
The header tags are used for semantic layout- the most logical layout choices. Many theme creators think that by adding H2 and H2 tags everywhere it will help in search rankings. It has the opposite effect. The spiders get confused and may abandon your site all together.
SEO’d WordPress Themes
I have re-written a few WordPress Themes for my own purposes and have thought about posting and making available here- however sometimes the wheel has all ready been invented and no need to re-invent.
Best Resources For SEO’d WordPress Themes
A excellent resource is Courtney Tuttle’s Internet Marketing and Strategies Site. Not only does he have some outstanding advice to offer anyone starting to use a web site to make money- he also has a vast database of SEO’d WordPress themes he himself has gone through and optimized.
Courtney has done a superb job on these. I do quibble a bit with the use of h2 tags with Site header title ( I prefer a h1 tag), however no need to split hairs
You will do well with any of his re-worked WordPress themes and Courtney offers such a large variety no need to look elsewhere.
Types of WordPress Themes To Avoid
The them listed below are very popular themes- there are MUCH worse offenders. I chose them because they are popular. My beefs are subjective and in no way mean to offend or insult the designer. All of themes mentioned have excellent structure and designs can be easlily modified.
Avoid Reverse Type
I do prefer some types of themes over others. I am NOT a fan of reverse type. It is very hard to read for anyone. About 3 years ago I lost most of the sight in my left eye. I cringe when I come across a site using reverse type ( i.e white type on black background) “Dust WordPress Theme” is an example. Please avoid these. I don’t mind so much in a header- as long as font is large enough.
Yikes. HUGE header that take about most of the space above the fold. This *may* work for you if you are going to pop in Google Adsense ads in your header and you will get a good CTR but for the most part I would stay away from them – You don’t need to have the most valuable real estate on your site taken about by giant header. If you love the theme and you are comfortable making changes then you can tweak and make header smaller- by changing font or removing some of the images.
Examples of Giant Header Themes:
BlueBird ( I like this LOOK of this one even if it does scream Partridge Family ) Header is larger than I like- but will work on some sites. It was originally designed by Randa Clay ( of the U Comment I Follow fame) and she does wonderful design. Clean, modern and beautiful. She also has some solid tutorials on her site for DIY WordPress Theme Customizations. A good tutorial on playing around with CSS. Don’t be scared to try this! It is a good way to learn. Just copy and keep the original CSS in safe spot.
Avoid Bizarre Colours. Please.
Your themes should suit your niche. You have more freedom with creative type blogs- but people are turned off by jarring colours. Also don;t use heavily feminine colors on a site geared to unisex or male audience- no matter how much you love it.
Some themes that I think are bit over the top ( but may work for you…) :
I don’t know why- I am both attracted and repelled by this theme. Maybe it the 70′s carpet look. OranJuice 1.0 Large header and carpet texture. It IS eye catching. I might use this on a craft type site.
I actually love this theme for certain types of sites, Techdesigns.co.uk 004 It it funky and fab. Great for an artist, fashion,, personal blog, etc. My younger sister is an artist and I recommended this one to her.
The is a plethora of white/blue/dark blue or black themes. I guess they make a statement. TAKE ME SERIOUSLY. I just find them boring. I do like the light, CMS style look of them- however keep the structure and jazz up the colours using CSS.
These are nice well thought out themes that are on life support and need infusion of colour:
Blue Pix 1.0.0 Zzzzzzzzzz. Nice design- pop in some of your own colour.
How Many Columns In A WordPress Theme Is Best?
For our purpose- how many columns should you have to make the most money? I like 3 column. My preference is center split. (left sidebar|content|right sidebar) . More flexibility for Adsense Ads when you are starting out, and button ads when you have advertisers. When you start adding Ads to 2-column it looks cluttered. I also feel the same way about 4-columns. I also don’t use fancy calenders and other widgets.
Are Widget-ized Themes Better?
I avoided those for a long time. I prefer to have simple code to change myself. I gave in a while ago and now use widgets on many of my sites. I do find when you start adding tons of widgets and doo-dad to your site site load time suffers and may turn away some visitors- maybe even bots. I tend to aim for lean and mean rather than flashy and splashy. If you are new to blogging widgets are an easy way to personalize you blog and by all means go for it. You DON’T have to use every single widget available however.
Good WordPress Theme Resources
WordPress Theme Viewer Official WordPress Theme Site
Courtney Tuttle’s SEO’d WordPress Themes- Excellent.
Best WordPress Themes to Use for Google Adsense
10 Remarkable (and Free) WordPress Themes
Comment and theme recommendation by internet marketing gurus at Problogger.