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What is a WordPress Theme?

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Clothes maketh the man. This paraphrased aphorism was as true in the 16th century as it is today.  But why am I talking about clothes here on bloggingtips? Because the way your clothe your site is important too, and the clothes are called “Themes”.

Your WordPress theme is the design of your website or blog. The colour, layout, number of columns, alignment, header, footer, and so many more design elements are all embedded in the theme you choose. In short, the entire aesthetics of your site is specified by the theme. But it’s not just the appearance, the theme can also power the website with add-ons like widgets and plugins. In short, themes allow you to change the look and functionality of the website without any change to the content in it. Whether you want to be fun, elegant, or clean, it’s all in the theme. Whether you want to be social or a recluse, that’s in the theme too. They can be unique and stylish, or just good old vanilla or 2013.

Zeroing in on the perfect theme is long process and goes back to the basics of why you want the website, what you want the site to do for you. The questions you must ask yourself are, “Am I using WordPress as a site or blog?”, “How will my site expand my goals?”. Based on this, you must choose the theme that best caters to your needs, the theme that reflects your cause. By default, WordPress comes with a theme. You can either customize the existing theme or choose a new theme from the dashboard.

Dashboard to choose theme

A look at the dashboard

WordPress makes changing the theme a really simple task (just click!). There are over a thousand free themes to choose from.

Dashboard, theme, appearance option

Selecting the right theme from the Appearance option in the Dashboard

Free WordPress themes

Usually, free themes are pretty simple in terms of design. Modifications you can make on the layout are pretty limited. Furthermore, free themes do not always come with colour schemes or styles to add to the aesthetics of your site. Free themes can be downloaded and installed directly from the WordPress Dashboard. When using a free theme, it is important to pay heed to the author’s updates. Remember, free themes that are not regularly updated may lead to security vulnerabilities in your site.

Perfidious developers sometimes hitch the themes to everything from spam links to malware that harm the site once the theme is installed. The themes they provide might be attractive and may enhance your aesthetics but they may contain malicious code that harm the site. One precautionary measure that you can take before installing a free theme is to choose the theme from a trusted site. The following links contain themes which are trusted and are likely to contain no threats:

http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
http://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/flexible/

Premium WordPress themes

Another option is to go for the Premium WordPress themes. Since Premium themes are generally safer than free themes and less likely to contain malware or trojans that will leave your site open to hackers. Premium themes are also advanced in other ways and come with options to configure the settings or layout. In simple terms, they offer more options in terms of colour schemes, additional plug-ins, etc.

Premium themes is a paid service. While they are not custom made for you, they do offer customizations to make the theme feel like your own. Also, you have better technical support from the creators or designers. They lend you a hand if you encounter problems with the theme. The cost of themes vary depending on the theme vendor and the complexity. It can range from $20 to $80 for a theme on a single site. Many vendors also offer developer packages which let you use the theme on unlimited sites. While most Premium themes are trustworthy in terms of security, some of them are likely to contain spam links. So buy from trustworthy sources. Some places to purchase premium themes are:

http://www.woothemes.com/product-category/themes/
http://themeforest.net/category/site-templates

Not all themes are equal in terms of their functionality, and security. Each theme caters to different needs and uses.  While choosing a theme, don’t look at the colors, they can be changed. Instead, focus on the overall layout which is often fixed and cannot be customized to your need. Finally, the extra options that can be added to the theme are the plug-ins. Plug-ins provide additional features beyond what your theme offers like calendar, backup, embedding other blogs, twitter feeds, etc. While some plug-ins are free, others  have to be purchased.

If you are creative, make your own theme. And remember to backup your theme as well as your content, for the theme is an important vehicle to carry your message to the world. Polonius may have been an old windbag, but he was wise in the ways of the world. Dress your site well. Choose your theme with care.

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Blogging

4 Passive Blog Promotion Methods Nobody Thinks of

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Most bloggers brainstorm ways to promote blog posts after publishing blog posts.

This is active blog promotion.

Nobody thinks of passive blog promotion methods.

Doing a smash up job before promoting posts actively leads to passive promotion.

How?

If you get clear and create a smart post, organic promotion takes off.

Before I even touch a social sharing button on Blogging From Paradise, any one of my blog posts get 5, 10 or 20 retweets organically, based on the blog post quality and nothing else.

Do a good job pre-promotion to reap the benefits of passive, organic blog promotion.

Plus you need to leverage to become a highly successful, professional blogger who enjoys an offline life, too.

1: Cover Only One Blog Topic

Covering only one blog topic makes you an expert.

People promote experts freely.

Readers join big dawg blogger lists and follow big dawg blogger feeds. Said readers freely promote top bloggers based on their expert status alone.

Being an expert requires you to blog on one topic. Build your authority in one niche. Be a known commodity. Enjoy organic, passive promotion through your expert status.

2: Write Inspired Blog Posts

People freely promote inspired blog posts.

My blog posts tend to get shared freely and easily because I uplift, inspire and influence my readers to succeed via all posts.

Creating something inspired, energizing and valuable every time you publish a post.

Allow the post to gain passive, organic promotional momentum.

Many of my posts generate organic promotion through:

  • other blog features and mentions
  • other blogger’s promoting said posts to their email lists
  • other blogger’s social media streams

Take your time.

Write and publish something memorable every time out.

Boost passive promotion momentum.

3: Make it Easy to Share Blog Posts

Make it easy to share blog posts.

Increase passive promotion.

This was from my trip to Turkey.

Observe my social share buttons. Readers finish reading and easily hit a retweet or Facebook Share button.

Post social share buttons in easy to see, easy to access spots. Make sure buttons feature themselves equally prominent on mobile devices.

Make it easy to share blog posts quickly to boost organic promotion.

4: Invest in a Clean Theme

Clean, clear, professional-looking blog themes encourage easier passive, organic blog post promotion because no distractions pull readers from promoting posts on such themes.

Observe my theme. Do you feel confused after reading a blog post? On laptop, Chromebook or mobile, my theme appears clear, clean, sleek and professional.

Clean themes focus readers on reading content, sharing content and buying premium offerings.

Invest money in a clear, professional-looking theme.

See increased blogging success along with increased passive blog post promotion.

Think Like a Success

Abe Lincoln said if he had 6 hours to cut down a tree he would spend 4 hours sharpening the axe.

Your blog post is like the axe. Spending more time and energy writing and publishing a fabulous post increases organic, passive promotion quickly. Toss in increased business profits to see why it pays to do an excellent job sticking to your niche, writing a valuable posts, making social share buttons easy to find and investing money in a clean theme.

The more you follow these 4 tips, the more your blog post promotes itself.

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Blogging

How Long Should a Weekly Blog Post Be?

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All blog posts should span a length sufficient enough to fulfill the title promise.

Give no thought to publishing frequency as you ponder blog post length.

Why?

If you publish the weekly post with the fear-energy of “This better be long enough or it will not be valuable because I am not publishing again until next week”, the fear-energy manifests as a crappy, bloated, heavy post.

Most bloggers write posts from an energy of fear, scarcity and lack. Many bloggers believe they are not good enough.

Said negative energies goad bloggers to:

  • write bloated posts
  • write boring posts
  • write posts with filler

because these bloggers believe blog post quality quality depends on a specific word count more than anything else.

Not true.

Blog post value depends on:

  • fulfilling the title promise
  • covering the title promise in clear, thorough, concise fashion
  • adding enough knowledge to answer the core post question and nothing more

Never ponder blog post frequency before picking a blog post word length.

Why?

Thinking frequency creates scarcity-based, “not enough”, mental cross currents that add a poverty conscious, lack conscious, scarcity energy to your writing.

Guaranteed; if you feel like your post length will not be enough because you post weekly, you try too hard to overcome the “not enough” energy and make the post way too long, filling it with wordy sentences, bloated paragraphs and an overall boring experience.

The Ultimate Blogging Curse

Have you ever written a dazzling, 2000 word, in-depth, clear, crisp, concise post, and nobody shows up to read it?

You cling to the ultimate blogging curse; your predominant fear energy of “not good enough or not long enough” overrides your writing brilliance.

You cannot outsmart your predominant energy. If you fear, fear mirrors back to you through your blogging results.

This is from my 2 month trip to Oman.

Imagine publishing one brilliant, genius, clear, concise blog post weekly. If you fear 800 words is not enough, the fear mirrors back to you as no readers, no profits, and blogging failure.

Visualize yourself publishing one 800 word post weekly from a whole, complete, calm, confident, happy energy. 800 words is enough to you. 800 words inspires your readers, you believe, in your mind.

The 800 word, weekly post generates a ton of traffic based on your:

  • clarity
  • confidence
  • belief system
  • detachment

First, strengthen your mental muscle. Be positive. Visualize your blogging success. Count blogging wins.

Proceed to write a weekly blog post from this success conscious, positive vibe, to find your ideal word count.

One General Ground Rule

Most bloggers and readers accept 600 words as the minimum count for a blog post.

Break the minimum rule if your intuition tells you to break it. But if not, start at 600 words as the ideal benchmark and go from there.

The Best Advice

Choose a blog post title inspiring your readers to succeed.

Create an outline.

Think 600 words minimum, but, just write.

Just write.

Allow words to flow.

Give no thought to blog post frequency as you write; projecting into the future takes you out of the moment, out of your flow, and you leave your power behind.

Focus your attention and energy on having fun helping your readers succeed. Allow the words to flow.

I never read a success-promoting post that felt good to read and said to myself, “But I wished the post were 2,000 words long because now I have to wait for next week to read another post.”

We live in abundance.

If someone wants more content that someone can:

Success is your birthright.

You were born rich.

Feel whole and complete if you publish a 600 word post weekly.

Feel whole and complete if you publish a 2000 word post weekly.

Feeling whole and complete attracts to you readers who enjoy your 600, 1000, and 2000 word posts.

The only thing that matters is writing clear, concise, crisp posts that deliver on the title promise, from a calm, confident, abundant, detached, success-conscious energy.

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Blogging

1 Surprising Aspect of Successful Blogging that Woke Me Up

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You guys know by now; I am all about blogging mindset tips.

One such tip woke me up.

I saw the outright surprising influence following said tip had on:

Years ago I struggled to see blogging success. Today I succeed with greater and greater ease.

I know you succeed now. But if you desire increasing success, take this successful blogging tip to heart.

This next level tip makes you experience dizzying blogging success.

Give No Attention and Energy to Negativity and Give 100% Attention and Energy to Positive Ideas, People and Interactions

During a morning walk with my wife today, I noted how some folks email me asking how I am enjoying traveling the world. Traveling is in my blood. Traveling is my soul speaking out loud. I let people know how I deeply enjoy my travels. Anybody with eyes for seeing knows this, and never asks the question. This would be like asking Picasso if he enjoyed painting.

I tend to get a really odd response – that is not so odd really – from a handful of folks; said people respond with an emotional reaction, describing how they dislike travel and how they love their hometown. Who cares? Why would you email someone to tell them how much you love your way of life and how much you dislike another person’s life?

This is a negative, lower energy reaction suggesting an unclear person who wants to live your life but fears making bold moves to live it. Either way, I completely ignore the lower energies and lower energy interactions and voila! I became more and more successful with greater ease. Why? Where your attention and energy goes, grows.

Some people tell me to stop thanking them individually. I ignore their negativity, because if you cannot express gratitude or make a connection based on someone thanking you, you vibe lower on the energetic scale.

I never give attention and energy to someone who is trashing other bloggers because this is a negative weakness manifest, and I don’t do negativity, or weakness.

Friends Change and Some Friendships Evolve into Different Relationships

I deeply love my friends but as I get clearer and see greater success, I give zero attention and energy to negativity from any one of my friends. Success consciousness thing.

 

I also released many former friends who I vibed with when I was failing, and more negative, and who I no longer vibed with when I became more positive and successful. Friends change. Some friends visit for a while and you need release them.

Other friends remain friends but your bond changes and evolves into something different. Friends attempting to pull me into negative bashing or judging or trashing quickly see I give no energy to such negativity anymore. Sure we are still friends, but the bond evolves from a different dynamic now.

Why Ignoring Negative Situations Makes You Successful

Where your attention and energy goes, grows.

Give your attention only to positive people, positive interactions and success, and your positive ideas, positive friend network and success expands. Easy peasy.

Energetic momentum builds. Move higher in blogging circles. Paying customers arrive. Paying clients pop up in your experience.

Your blanket, conscious choice to give your attention and energy only to positive people, situations and circumstances accelerated your success.

The key is to completely commit to never giving your attention and energy to negative interactions.

The unclear, admiring people who asked you already if you love travel, only to react with the idea that they love their life, or the thanking rejectors, or bashers, never get one split second of your energy, going forward.

Prosper by giving your energy only to positive vibes.

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