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Oh, the exciting bit. But it can also be such hard work to choose from the so many gorgeous designs out there. I understand at the beginning you will want to keep the costs down as you’re starting out. But please if you take one bit of advice be it that don’t use a free theme.

 

As there are so many web designers it can get a bit overwhelming and sad to say not all web designers, especially those churning out lots and lots of free themes, are after your best interests. There could be adverts on your theme that you can’t get rid of as they are in the coding. It might not be the best coded or designed. It might have hidden links to goodness knows what.

Plus also look at it from your potential customer’s view. If you have used a theme that does any of the above or worse it won’t look good and you will lose your customer.

You don’t have to go to the extremes of hiring a web designer either. Unless of course, you have a large budget and what you want to achieve is way off from an average themes capabilities.

There are a few I can wholeheartedly recommend as I have used all of these so my thoughts are noted too.

Elegant Themes

I have been a fan and customer of Nick of Elegant Themes from the early days. His themes a solid, well designed and well coded. There are no nasty surprises and the help forum is brilliant. If you’re a bit of whizz head and fancy dabbling in creating something unique but don’t want to get into coding then look at Divi and Extra. These are nothing like normal themes but the possibilities are endless. Not for the faint hearted and if you just want to change the look and get on with blogging then I will be honest Elegant Themes isn’t really for you.

Restored 316 Designs 

These are just simply gorgeous designs and what I use on my site. I have invested in two of her designs and both were really easy to set up. They are on the Genesis Framework so you would need to buy Genesis too.

Her help files on setting up your theme are really easy and she explains what plugins she uses and where to get them. She has a Facebook group too where questions can get answered and other users can offer advice.

I think Restored 316 themes are my ultimate favorite if I have, to be honest. They are elegant, as girly as you want them and over deliver.

Pretty Darn Cute Designs – again these are on the Genesis Framework. Beautiful and simple to use. Did use a few of her themes on my other blog until only recently.

Angie Makes – again on Genesis but beautiful girly designs. That I have used in the past and still use one on one of my blogs.

 

When trying to decide which theme to use consider what you want the theme to do. Have a look at the blogs you read, follow or just plain drool over on the internet. On many sites, if you scroll right to the bottom there will be the name of the theme and/or the designer. Look at themes and decide what it is about them you like and make a wish list. Also if a certain site has or does something you don’t like make a note of that too. This is hardly when you look at themes so you can narrow down your choice. All themes will have a demo view so you can see that the theme looks like when it’s live’. Also keep in mind your own capabilities. Some themes offer more support than others.

You might now be wondering what ‘is on Genesis’ means. Genesis is a theme framework made by Studiopress. Its coding is top notch and can be trusted, not because I said so but because millions of buyers say so. Now if you’re a bit nifty with CSS and all things code you could make your own child theme ( that’s a theme that is a child of a parent theme, so when updates are made to the parent theme, the child theme keeps all the pretty bits in place). But if you’re not then that is where child themes like those mentioned above come in.

Sidenote on themes — you may think it’s rather lovely to have a petal softly falling down the side of the blog ……or Greensleeves playing in the background. Stop it now. No seriously stop it. The only time you should have moving graphics on your site, and that includes flashing or walking or moving gimmicky, is if you create them and showing off your skills. Same with music, are you selling MP3’s or demonstrating speakers? No . You are showing off your writing skills, your thoughts, your ideas, the service you offer or the ebook you’re selling.

Here are all the posts in this series so you pick and choose where to go next
What is a Successful blog
Deciding your niche
Domain and hosting
Sorting your categories and tags
Picking a platform
Plugins
Choosing a theme
Must haves for your blog
Content
What will readers want to read
Writing for your reader
Photos and graphics
Blog style