Improve Mom Blog Appearance with Themes - dummies

Improve Mom Blog Appearance with Themes

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

Successful mom bloggers all have one thing in common — their blog templates are absolutely beautiful and extremely well designed. Besides professional logos, Google Blogger and WordPress offer themes that bloggers can use to help their blogs appeal to readers.

Google Blogger themes

Google Blogger has built in customization tools that are incredibly easy to use, which make it simple for you to adjust the design and layout of your blog. Google recently released a very sophisticated template designer tool that virtually needs no instructions to use.

If you want to customize your theme beyond what the template designer is capable of, you can use a site like HTML Goodies to learn HTML.

WordPress themes

If you want to find a safe, free theme, it’s in your best interests to download one only from Another kind of WordPress theme falls into the trusted category: premium themes. These themes are put out by professional designers and developers.

The prices generally run between $50 and $100 (US dollars), and usually come with plenty of advanced layout options built into the themes themselves. Many of them have an options page or interface that makes it easy, even for beginners, to customize the themes.

They also tend to have other great features such as built-in tools for search engine optimization and multiple page and post layout options; they even include the source files from Adobe Photoshop.

Having these files makes it easier to edit the theme images without having to change any of the theme code, but does require that you own a copy of Photoshop to use them. If you were to hire someone to do all of this for you, it could cost you five to ten times as much as the theme price.

And most of all, premium themes are beautifully created by experienced designers, and you get that great design along with plenty of tools to make your blog both functional and professional-looking. Check out the list of premium theme developers.

Choosing a great template to use is important, but not as important as making it unique to your website. Your blog design is an important aspect of your blog’s brand. This is your chance to offer a visual representation of who you are as a blogger and what your blog is about.

It’s a little bit like choosing the outfit you wear to an important meeting or first date — you want your blog appearance to back up your words and intentions, just as you would when you want to make a great first impression with another person.

So you will want to start with a blog template that you really love, and then make it your own by adding your favorite colors and using images that do a good job of illustrating your personality and content visually.

For those of you who consider yourselves very design-challenged, you can easily hire someone to customize a template for both free and premium themes. For those of you who are a little more experienced with design, here are the kinds of things you can do for yourself without having to change your template code very much at all:

  • Change fonts and font colors: You have a rainbow of colors available to you when it comes to changing them in your theme. For fonts, generally you only have a handful to choose from that are Web-friendly such as Arial, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Georgia. For WordPress users, you can also use the All-In-One-Cufon plugin to use a wider range of fonts for more design options.

  • Replace existing image files with your own images: Just be sure to keep the images at the same dimensions as the previous images, so you don’t have to go into the template code to make them fit. You can find the existing dimensions by viewing them in Internet Explorer. Do this by right-clicking on the image, selecting Properties, and reading the dimensions in the dialog box that appears.

  • Change background colors and designs: Your blog posts and sidebars typically have a white background, which is best for readability. You have the option of changing the appearance of the area behind your main content. You can use a solid color, or a repeating tiled image that looks seamless when it is placed next to itself. Look for a cool seamless background image creator.

  • Take advantage of thousands of WordPress plugins: WordPress has such a large developer community that someone has created a plugin for nearly every function you would want on your blog. Plugins can help you create thumbnails, rearrange page elements, and add design features that your theme may not have.