When it comes to WordPress, there are literally thousands of themes available, both premium and free, so there are a lot of decisions to make when choosing one. No matter which blog theme you choose, you will want to customize the theme as much as possible to make it unique to you, your style, and your mission.
Where to begin? By identifying the most essential features that your site will need. Once you have that, you can start comparing themes and eliminating unsuitable ones from your list.
The “features” of a theme are the add-ons that set it apart from the others. These features make the theme unique, functional, and useful. Common features to look for include administration panels, SEO capability, mobile responsiveness, and opt-in forms.
For email list-builders, these are some important features to look for:
- Does this theme come with built in email management or newsletter features and functionality?
- Does this theme have the ability to create a single squeeze page to capture email addresses?
- Does this theme support your desired opt-in form positioning?
Consider: Do you want your opt-in form to appear on the right hand sidebar? Because then your theme needs to have a right hand sidebar area to edit.
It’s important to choose the right theme at the beginning of the blog design process instead of trying to make edits to an incompatible theme that doesn’t meet your needs.
Spend some time thinking about what you want on your site. What will be the best way to capture email addresses? You can then choose a theme that supports your needs with the right features and functionality.
Plugins are the best way to manage your list building tasks. A plugin is simply a small program that is designed to work with WordPress and can be integrated into your blog. There are thousands of plugins available to add functionality to your blog—you might remember the redirect plugin we’ve mentioned in the past.
For others, you might want to install a plugin that both creates an opt-in form and manages your email sign ups and confirmations. If you want your content to be easily shared on social media, then you’ll need to install a social media sharing plugin that will create sharing buttons near your content. For that, we use the shareaholic plugin.
Remember that you want your theme to be compatible with these plugins so you can easily install and activate them as you create your blog strategies and begin implementing them.
WARNING: To be sure your chosen theme is compatible with WordPress, select a theme either from the WordPress repository (a directory of free themes) or from a reputable seller; we highly recommend sites such as StudioPress, Themedy, ThemeForest, or Elegant Themes. (You can find more details on each of these sellers in our third eguide, Why Bloggers Need an Email List).
Note that free themes that you will find in a Google search may not be updated as frequently as a premium theme. They might not be compatible with current versions of WordPress or plugins which are also frequently updated. Themes that are not updated carry a significant security risk of malware and other nasty stuff you don’t want on your site.
So, make sure you choose a theme that’s optimized for your and your blog’s needs by being updated, trustworthy, and equipped with all the right features for your site.
While you’re at it… a great way to do so is with our eguides, all four of which come free when you subscribe to Blogger Building Blocks, our monthly ekit release. Our limited time only Early Bird special is still going on at $7/month (regular price $9/month). Secure yours today!
Now what kinds of themes do you prefer? Tell us all about your dream designs below.