Important Points to Remember While Choosing a Theme

When selecting or designing a theme for your blog there are some key design considerations. How wide should it be? How many columns should you use? What colors work best? What fonts are easiest to read? What color schemes are easiest to read? This article will look at some of these decisions.

How Wide Should Your Theme Be?

As someone who blogs on a wide screen laptop it is all to easy to forgot that not every screen resolution is the same as mine. So what looks great on a wide screen may look average on a smaller screen, or be unusable on an old dinosaur CRT. Most of the theory on web site screen resolution suggests that you shouldn’t go wider that 800 pixels. Most of this theory is old, and almost every Internet user has a screen that at least has a horizontal resolution of 1024. So is it safe to go with a a theme that is 1024 wide? Probably. The situations I can think of where it may be better to have a 800 width theme is 1) if your niche is likely to have a lot of readers who may be viewing your blog on their portable device i.e. phones, or PDA’s etc. 2) You blog with-in a niche where the characteristics of that niche lead you to believe that most people have really old computers i.e. Windows 95 & 98 user tips. The other option is to have a fluid width theme where the objects on your page move depending on the screen size the page is being viewed on. Although this may sound like a good solution it tends to open another whole can of worms relating to page element placement, so it most situations this probably isn’t a good option.

How Many Columns Should Your Blog Have?

Pingable is three columns and has a fixed width of 1024 and is centered. Three columns gives you more opportunity to have side bar content above the fold. The fold of a web site is a term used to label the upper region of your site as viewable when the page first loads without scrolling. You can have features such as recent articles, badges, ads, etc displaying more content in a cleaner fashion than the same theme in two columns. To view some amazing three columned themes view Arpit Jacob from Clazh’s article with a gallery showing some of the Best 3 Column Themes for WordPress. 

Blog Color Scheme

When it comes to selecting a color scheme for your blog there are two main considerations. Attractiveness and readability. Of course you want your site to look good, so picking a color scheme that looks attractive is important. Readability is also important because if people find the colors you have selected difficult to read they won’t bother reading. It is also important to mention that a small proportion on the world’s population are color blind, so certain color schemes may actually be completely unreadable to them. I think black text on a white background is the best option almost always, as it is both easy to read, and if used well looks great. CSS Juice has an article on Popular Color Scheme Generators. You could use some of the tools listed in this article to work out what may work best for your site.

Fonts

There are two main types of font. Serif and San Serif. Serif fonts have flecks on the end of letters to help your eyes flow between words like traditional hand writing. An example is Times New Roman, the default font in MS word. An example of a San Serif font is the font used on Pingable. For digital media like a blog, San Serif font’s look cleaner for larger bodies of text. Serif fonts tend to be a bit fancier so using a serif font for your heading may be a good choice.

Final Thoughts

If you have got this far through the article then I hope you you have learnt something that will help you with design decisions for your blog. Hopefully I have provided you knowledge as to why a certain theme may be a better option for you than others, or why that theme with yellow text on an orange background isn’t a good choice. Anyway, thanks for reading and good luck with your web design or blogging project.

www.pingable.org

27 thoughts on “Important Points to Remember While Choosing a Theme”

  1. Great tips its something I would have written on my blog. A more attractive heading would make it better. something along the lines of “Important Point to remember while Choosing a Theme”

  2. Great tips its something I would have written on my blog. A more attractive heading would make it better. something along the lines of “Important Point to remember while Choosing a Theme”

  3. Interesting comment about screen resolution stats from bnsullivan at: http://forum.authorityblogger.com/showthread.php?t=208

    Following Sara’s suggestion, over the weekend I looked at the past 30 days’ traffic for 5 blogs. I looked at screen resolution stats, and totaled things up for width only.

    For the five blogs, the percentage of visits with widths of 1024 or greater ranged from 90% to almost 96%.

    Percentage of visits with widths of 1280 or greater ranged from 32% to 49%.

    My conclusion. We can all forget about designing for anything less than a 1024 width. Period.

    Bobbie

  4. Interesting comment about screen resolution stats from bnsullivan at: http://forum.authorityblogger.com/showthread.php?t=208

    Following Sara’s suggestion, over the weekend I looked at the past 30 days’ traffic for 5 blogs. I looked at screen resolution stats, and totaled things up for width only.

    For the five blogs, the percentage of visits with widths of 1024 or greater ranged from 90% to almost 96%.

    Percentage of visits with widths of 1280 or greater ranged from 32% to 49%.

    My conclusion. We can all forget about designing for anything less than a 1024 width. Period.

    Bobbie

  5. Yeah, i agree with Simon. Designing your blog for any resolution under 1024 width would be a mistake. And fortunately, these days there are so many free blog templates out there so basically that’s one less thing you have to worry about. And if you ever get tired of it, you can easily just change your template since the process of doing so is very simple.

  6. What do you think of newspaper style themes? I am trying one for my site and while I like the looks of it it is not so easy to navigate for frequently changing articles I think. Thoughts?

    Lisa

  7. What do you think of newspaper style themes? I am trying one for my site and while I like the looks of it it is not so easy to navigate for frequently changing articles I think. Thoughts?

    Lisa

  8. Hi Lisa, Yes I find that with Newspaper, magazine style themes there is a lot of work after the point deciding where articles should go on your homepage etc, and filling out custom fields etc. It many cases it is a waste of time and a more traditional theme is a better option.

  9. Hi Lisa, Yes I find that with Newspaper, magazine style themes there is a lot of work after the point deciding where articles should go on your homepage etc, and filling out custom fields etc. It many cases it is a waste of time and a more traditional theme is a better option.

  10. Great article. I love the fact about colors being hard to read. I see so many people make site look nice and not worry if it has eye strain or hard to see text. I would also suggest that the main points be made above the fold of page and make sure page loads fast. Do not use alot of images that slow pages down people will just leave the site.

  11. I think a white background with black text and blue links always works best. If urls are any other color than blue some people do not know they are links.

    Simple sometimes is best for blog designs.

  12. Current research disagrees with your Chris.

    It has been shown that people are getting more ‘internet savvy these days’ and are able to see ‘something that might be a link’ even when it is far from blue. Underlines seem to be the key, but even those are not required anymore!

  13. Current research disagrees with your Chris.

    It has been shown that people are getting more ‘internet savvy these days’ and are able to see ‘something that might be a link’ even when it is far from blue. Underlines seem to be the key, but even those are not required anymore!

  14. Thank you so much for the tips, I am planning to move my web site to WP and your points are very much appreciated.

  15. Thank you so much for the tips, I am planning to move my web site to WP and your points are very much appreciated.

  16. I’ve read a few excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you place to create any such excellent informative website.

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