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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.

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

How Most People Think Blogging Is and How it REALLY Is

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I love my gig. Right now, I blog from beautiful NYC. Quick 9 day trip to Manhattan. Can you imagine how fun and freeing this life is? Circling the globe, seeing places like Fiji, Bali and Thailand, experiencing these spots for years at a time? Amazing journey indeed. I feel appreciative of this fun, freeing life. I also know how most people think my life goes; write a few words, tap a publish button, make money, soar off to Fiji for 4 months. Most human beings cling to a terribly flawed aspect of their personality; ego. Ego sees free people and assumes, to preserve itself, how freedom must be an easy, comfortable journey for other people to take, because ego KNOWS freedom has not been an easy, comfortable objective, for ego.

Most human beings vibe from a dominant energy of fear so most human beings see illusions, appearances, NOT reality, a magic trick, something not REALLY happening. Most humans see me living in Thailand for months and see the illusion of me spending 2 hours to publish a post, seeing me making money, then, flying to Thailand. What fear-filled folks cannot see is the truth of this: me blogging for 5,000 hours – or more – through ups and downs, highs and lows, love and fear, peace and terror, and an even wider range of emotions….to live a life of blogging in Thailand for months at a time. The truth, the reality, of how blogging really is: blog for thousands of hours, make little or no money, then, after blogging for thousands of hours from a generous, calm, trusting, abundant vibe, feeling deep fears here and there along the way, the money flows in freely and you get to circle the globe whenever you want to circle the globe.

Take a look at this picture of me in Lyttelton, New Zealand:

Most people see an illusion: “Ryan is SO lucky! He gets to spend 2 months in New Zealand! I wish I had his life!”

The few human beings on earth who see the truth see this: “That guy lives an amazing life, being in New Zealand for 2 months, because he blogged for 10,000 hours, often times, when things did not appear to be coming together, outlook, appearing bleak.”

Truth seers are rare birds, folks. Why do you think I spend 3 or more hours daily meditating, doing yoga and exercising? I stabilize my vibe, uncover and purge illusory-producing fears and see the truth, more often than not. You need to see the truth to taste freeing, sweet blogging success. Can you taste my life? Imagine how it’d feel to live in NYC for a week? Imagine how it’d feel to live in Bali for 6 months? Fun, eh? Freeing, right? Of course you’d feel free, circling the globe, changing time zones like people change their minds. But to live this fun, freeing life, you have to live the truth of blogging for hundreds to thousands of generous, trusting hours, before you live the life, and, before you experience this level of fun and freedom. Most humans mean well but totally get caught up in the illusion, not seeing the truth because they fill their minds with fears, creating the insanity of luck and the delusion of envy, and the crazy, mentally ill, concept that you can live an amazingly fun, freeing life with a few hours, a few weeks or a few months of lazy blogging effort.

Do you want to step up to the blogging big time? Step away from most people. See the truth. This blogging gig takes serious effort and serious time. Most people live in delusion, in an illusion of fear. You know better. You know how blogging REALLY is. Sure blogging feels scary in moments but the ride feels largely fun and freeing when you follow your fun, generously help people and trust in yourself, and, trust in the blogging process. I know you’re up it!

eBook

I have this funny skill where I write entire eBooks based on silly analogies. Do you crave increased blogging success? I can help you with these colorful fruit bat analogies. Buy my eBook here:

10 Reasons Why Fijian Fruit Bats Would Be Absurdly Successful Bloggers

Smash the Twitter and Facebook buttons to share this post, guys. Let’s spread the word to help more bloggers know the truth about blogging.

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Blogging

Face Newbie Blogger Fears Early to Accelerate Your Success

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Do you genuinely want to hit the ground running with your blog? Face newbie blogger fears early. Do not mess around. Do not play around. Never be anchored down by doubt. Face fears, feel fears and you will feel so good, and free, and ready to succeed through your new blog because fear cannot hold you back if you face it, feel it, release it and proceed.

Life as a solopreneur feels fun, freeing and highly challenging because you do not possess the resources of more established entrepreneurs or people working for a company. The #1 tool in your new blogger arsenal is a willingness to face, feel and release deep fears related to being a newbie. Do this; be golden. Fun, freedom and expansive success awaits you because your generosity, creativity and willingness to connect just accelerates your blogging success…yes…even as a new blogger. How cool, right? No new blogger needs to struggle, fail and quit before giving themselves a chance, because fear is the only thing standing between you and what you need to do, to succeed. For example, I routinely tell new bloggers to buy courses or eBooks for due diligence material. More importantly, I tell them NOT to rely solely on questions and answers through Quora for their due diligence campaign because free platforms pale in comparison to trusted, premium resources from the top bloggers, in terms of research materials.

What can you do to accelerate your new blogger success fast? Nudge into the fear of spending money on training resources, feel the fear, release the fear and buy the course and/or eBook. Doing this, you begin taking the course and/or reading the eBook, putting your new knowledge into action, succeeding more quickly. Meanwhile, most new bloggers who refuse to face their fears keep asking questions on Quora, relying on strangers, possibly skilled but usually unskilled bloggers to supply them with non-vetted answers for critical blogging research. How in the heck can you rely on this most crucial of information if you have no idea who offers the answers? Can you see why this method is totally unreliable, for getting your blogging research? A few skilled bloggers offer some keen insight but step out of the fear-vibe into the abundant, successful vibe by investing money in a top blogging education.

If you can either pay for a Harvard education or ask some stranger on the street for their free advice, what seems to be the more intelligent decision? Invest money in expert advice? Or save money to get advice from some stranger on the street who may or may not know what they are talking about? Can you see why so many new bloggers struggle, fearing to invest money in the best blogging advice, choosing to get free, unreliable blogging advice from the general blogging public?

Pay up to play up. Invest money in your blogging education to move higher in blogging circles. Be a fear-diver; keep nudging into fears to better understand how to succeed, feeling and releasing these confining, restricting forms of bondage. Face newbie blogger fears early and often to remove the shackles that hold you down. Doesn’t it feel better to dive into fears routinely so you can accelerate your blogging success, even as a newbie?

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Blogging

How to Promote Yourself without Bragging and Repelling Readers

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You do know promoting yourself freely constitutes one pillar of blogging success, right guys? Bloggers need to be clear, confident and relaxed enough with self to appeal to us. Who wants to follow someone with low self-esteem? We seek out bright lights, not bloggers slumming around in the blogging sewer, eh? But self-promoting is a fine art for the discerning blogger to master; go too far, bragging your butt off, and your arrogance repels readers. People despise someone who speaks about self all day long because these over-compensating buffoons, deep-down, fear they are not enough. Bad trait in a leader. I figured it’d be easiest to self promote by simply…..self promoting like the dickens.

Example; buy our new course. Yep, Sue-Ann and I plan to make you happy as a blogging pig in slop with our new course. Do you see how I got right to the point? No beating around the bush. I promoted me, and, Sue-Ann, clearly explaining why you need to buy our blogging course….by saying….buy it, and you will be a happy blogger. Promoting yourself through virtually all content you create is the easiest, simplest way to find the happy medium between being a shy guy or shy gal and being an arrogant, boastful, bragging clown. The real secret is to keep promoting self through all the self-conscious, anxious, money-related, appearance-related fears most of us cling to, before we become clear, confident self-promoters.

Put Attention on Your Readers

Do you feel disgusted with wasting time online? Do you want to drink up sweet blogging freedom, using your time online effectively, powerfully and efficiently? Buy my eBook:

How to NOT Waste Time Online

Let us rewind for a moment, shall we? Time to review how I promoted myself by putting attention on you, you rocking readers of Blogging Tips Dot Com. I promoted self because I promoted my eBook. I make money every time you buy the eBook. Cool. Feels good to me. But did you notice I asked if YOU felt disgusted, and if YOU wanted to drink up sweet blogging freedom, before I promoted ME? This is one secret to promoting your products and services without looking like a dingbat. I helped you by putting the attention on you, making my self-promotion about you and me. We both win. You access a freeing, fun, valued resources and I access an energy we call “money”. Fair exchange, methinks. I never come off as bragging, being boastful or outright being a cocky jerk because I make it about US. See how thinking about everybody, and bringing folks together, benefits everyone? Cultivate your sense of compassion guys; developing this skill helps you go far in blogging, and, in life.

Be Subtle in Sharing Your Accomplishments

Feel free to share your accomplishments if you feel doing so boosts your credibility. But never be a flat out braggart by speaking about yourself in boastful, self-centered, self-serving tones. Why? Doing so turns off folks because braggarts secretly do NOT believe in themselves, and need that facade of boastfulness to even dream of trying to succeed online. Every braggart is broken. Point blank. Even if you achieved immense worldly success and appear to be happy, the appearance is an illusion, as you do not believe in yourself, and people who do not believe in themselves cannot succeed in leading others. Be subtle in sharing your wins. Be delicate in sharing your feats. Humble yourself. Allow other folks to do the bragging so you promote yourself from a relaxed, chill, attractive energy.

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Tap those Twitter and Facebook buttons to spread the word on this important topic of self-promoting. Let’s empower bloggers to taste sweet success by teaching them how to promote themselves the right way, shall we?

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