Welcome to Part 4 of our series, and if you’ve just joined us then I recommend going back to the previous parts before continuing. I have been following a step-by-step process so encourage all of you to start at the beginning. Today, we`ll be discussing WordPress customization because this is important since it’ll directly influence user engagement. I want to ensure when you guys are done that you`ll have a site which is engaging visitors, and building retention.
Here`s what we`ll be discussing today:
- Choosing the right theme
- Choosing right colors and layout (very important)
Your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Let’s get started.
When you are done installing WordPress, and have setup the basics like tweaking permalinks, plugins, etc then it`s time to ensure you have installed the right theme which will become the ultimate design of your blog. Why is this important? It has been suggested the right theme will ensure you keep visitors on your website increasing retention going forward. I have been able to setup various websites for my clients and been in the business long enough to understand what works compared to which doesn’t. I have knowledge on statistics which I’ll like to share with you so you can implement what I’ve learned into your blog too.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right theme:
First, your theme can be selected by going to Appearance then Themes. Click “Add New” then go through the FREE themes available. Next, you have the option to purchase a premium theme, however you have to make sure you look for the following which I’ll discuss below. I personally use MyThemeShop websites when searching for a custom made template. You can filter until you find one which meets your budget, and other requirements.
When choosing the right theme, you should make sure they come equipped with the following: This applies to any theme you are choosing – Free or Premium
- Responsive – This will ensure your website is displayed correctly on all platforms. Your goal is to make sure your blog is optimized for all platforms. Google introduced a mobile update which gives preference to those websites which are mobile-ready.
- Retina Ready – The theme will look great on displays higher than 300px. Many of the new displays have a resolution of 300px so it’s important you are ready for the shift going forward.
- Easy to customize: This means to choose a theme which has a drag & drop interface so you can place things easily within the theme. This feature is also great for those with little coding experience.
- Optional: Having a theme which allows you to change colors & fonts quickly. This just makes it easier because NOT everyone is good at changing the .CSS file.
- I prefer a theme which is SEO ready so you can easily add your metadata into the correct slots.
The most important are: Responsive, SEO Ready, and Easy to Customize.
Once you have found the right theme, simply upload and click install. If you are choosing from the FREE themes then it’s as easy as clicking install & activate.
The Right Colors
Choosing the right colors for your theme is very important because you want it to be easy on the eye while being attractive. It’s stated that people usually know within a few seconds if they’ll remain on the site which normally depends on the color selection. Here’s the fundamentals of color selection:
Logo – The color of your site should depend on your brand & logo. This way it’ll match, and colors will look solid.
No Bright Colors – It’s important to stay away from bright colors because they are harsh on the eyes. This can be distracting while reading content lowering engagement & increasing bounce rate.
Use Primary Colors – What does this mean? You’ll notice while researching your competition that they all use certain colors. I always do my research before selecting my final colors. I would recommend you do the same so you have a better idea of direction, and can implement the same colors into your blog.
It’s important to understand that colors can be tweaked all the time. This means if you are NOT happy with the primary colors you can change them afterward. However, having a theme with a color drag & drop features will allow you to do this easily.
The layout of your blog is very important because you need the menu and sidebars in the right place. There was much discussion over the right places however we have enormous data on what works over the years. Here’s what I recommend for your blog, and you’ll find this is normally the layout for all major blogs.
Menu – Always place menu at the top because this will be the first thing visitors will see. It’s always a good idea to have it above the fold. Next, the menu will increase the chances of them skimming through your website, and finding other content.
Sidebar – I recommend keeping sidebar on the right because people tend to read from the left. Even though this is up for discussing I’ve just noticed from experience the right sidebar is the popular way to go.
Now that we are done talking about theme selection and customization, I’ll like to discuss choosing the right topics, and creating your first actual post. Once you know how to write content and publish, you’ll be able to streamline the entire process going forward.