So, in an effort to be a good Zero to Hero blogger, I spent a few minutes trying out different themes today. I didn’t find one I liked enough to change my blog themes, but I have been thinking about a redesign for one or both of the blogs I manage.
When I started these blogs, I used the Truly Minimal theme for a while, because I am a minimalist at heart. I switched to Dusk to Dawn after the first month or so, because I thought my sites needed to be more visually appealing. I liked the look of Sam’s blog and this theme gives me a good combination of features. Plus, I just like the idea of both my blogs having a consistent design, even if the colors and images are different.
Here are the things I was looking for in a theme when I designed the Writing Catalog and Sourcerer:
- A single column for content.
- A sidebar on the left-hand side of the page.
- Flexibility with background images and color.
- Clean, easy-to-read typograpy.
There are three features I would like my blogs to have that are not supported by this theme:
- Pages displayed a the top of the blog instead of on the sidebar.
- Support for more than one custom menu.
- Featured content.
And I have a couple of questions for any bloggers who would like to chat about the importance of the blog’s themes:
- I see a lot of themes with all the follow buttons, blogroll, etc. at the bottom of the blog. I went with a sidebar because I just prefer one, and because I wanted to be able to display Part Time Monster’s most recent posts at the top of my blogs. How do you feel about this? Am I just being old-school with my preference for a sidebar, and does placing links at the top of the page really make a difference?
- Since Sourcerer is so heavy on art and video, it is a perfect candidate for a magazine theme such as Visual. Would you prefer a magazine-look with two or three posts at the top to what I am doing at Sourcerer now?
I tried out several themes today, but I will only mention three.
- Bushwick is the one I tried that I would never think of using. It’s ok, but the headlines are too big and the fonts are wrong – they gave the blog a cartoonish feel, and I don’t want that; I prefer my pages to be slick.
- Spun just looked interesting, with its grid of circles to display posts, so I gave it a whirl, but my posts didn’t translate well into that theme.
- Visual, which I mentioned above, I really like, and Sourcerer looked pretty good with it, but I am just not sure about it at this point.
I would love to read others’ thoughts on themes: both how you chose your own, and what sort of themes you prefer when you go looking for blogs to read. My two pet peeves are that I don’t want the visual elements to be distracting, and I don’t want a slow-loading blog.