Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

5 Factors Of Effective WordPress Themes

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

If you’re blogging on the WordPress platform, I’ll bet my entire life savings that the first thing you ever did was try to install a new WordPress theme. I’ll bet my future earnings that even today you’re still occasionally changing themes and wasting a lot of time doing minor modifications that when summed up merely distracts you from blogging itself.

Yet, it’s easy to understand why themes beg for so much attention. With the correct theme, you can accommodate all the nifty little widgets and codes, and may also mean better search engine rankings and tons of fresh traffic every day.

So what factors do you need to consider to make this whole theme-hunting business easier? Here are five important ones:

1) Theme Width and Columns

Typically, WordPress themes come in 2-column or 3-column formats, with widths ranging from 500 pixels to 960 pixels wide. If you’re blogging for non-profit purposes, a 2-column theme can look more compact and reader-friendly. Since you have less images of products or links to other sites to display, you can focus exclusively on the content without leading readers away from your site.

On the other hand, if you’re blogging for profit, you may want to consider a 3-column WordPress theme that will be able to accommodate your Google Adsense, Chitika and Text Link Ads codes comfortably without squeezing everything in the content area. 3-column themes allow room for expansion, but in the event that you’ve filled up all available space with ads, then it’s time you removed the non-performers and use only the advertising services that work for that particular blog.

2) Use of Images and Icons

A theme with images and icons can look good, but it rarely increases your web traffic or subscriber base. In fact, most “A-list” bloggers have plain vanilla themes with a simple logo on top. Reducing the amount of images also means faster loading time and less stress on your servers. This vital aspect of server load become apparent only if you have tens of thousands of visitors a day, but it’s worth designing for the future.

A image-laden theme also distracts readers from the content itself. This is the reason why blogs like Engadget and Tech Crunch use images intensively in the content areas to add value to a post, but the theme itself is simple and rather minimalist.

Ideally, a theme should allow you to use your own header image for stronger branding purposes, yet replace images and icons with links and text, or just not use them at all unless absolutely necessary.

3) Compatibility with Plugins

Another time-sucking activity is installing plugins that improve the functionality of your site. There’s a plugin out there for almost everything you want to do with your blog, but while most of them are free and easily obtainable, it’s not always easy to install the plugins and insert the codes into your WordPress theme.

If your theme is too complicated, it may be a headache to even insert that one line of code you need to make a plugin work. This is often the case with advanced AJAX-based WordPress themes that have too many files and heavy coding. I’ve always preferred a simpler themes that stick to the default WordPress theme as much as possible, so I can cut back on the learning curve and just get on with my life.

Remember that the purpose of your blog is to deliver timely, relevant content to your readers, Any theme that preserves or improves the reader experience is good, any theme that subtracts from the experience is bad.

4) Search Engine Optimization

A lot can be said about search engine optimization, but at the end of the day if you have content worth reading eventually you’ll get the rankings you deserve. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need SEO; it merely means that as far as optimization is concerned all you really need to do is to make sure:

(a) Your tags are formatted properly, with the name of the post first followed by the name of the blog – some themes can do this automatically without modification to the code or use of a plugin

(b) All your blog content titles use the H1 tag, with the main keywords used instead of non-descriptive text for better SEO relevance

(b) Your theme has clean source codes, and if possible all formatting is linked to an external CSS file which you can edit independently

5) Plug-And-Play Ease of Use

Can the theme be installed easily on an existing blog without having to move things around? Can the same theme be used and customized easily on your other blogs? These are some additional things you may want to consider when theme-shopping, especially if every minute of downtime on your blog may mean lost revenue.

While it’s hard to make comparisons due to the sheer amount of free and paid themes out there, it’s still a good idea to have a test blog site. Test any theme you plan on using, and make sure your test blog is also fitted with all the plugins and miscellaneous widgets used on your real blog. The last thing you want is for your readers start seeing weird error messages on your blog.

At the end of the day, a theme is just a theme. Instead of spending your time installing them, it may be wiser to outsource the task and focus more on your readers. Alternatively, you may also want to consider buying “plug-and-play” themes for a reasonable price. Dennis De’ Bernardy of ProWordpress.com has probably one of the best themes around, but if you’re short on cash there are certainly cheaper alternatives.

Caffeinated Content – Members-Only Content for WordPress

3 Ways to Personalize Your WordPress Theme

Friday, March 13th, 2009

One of the great things about WordPress is the number of themes that are available to change the look of your blog. There are both free and paid versions available. Changing themes is quite easy but…

Finding just the right theme to fit your blog can be frustrating. And that is putting it mildly.

You find one that you like just about everything but that one little thing.

It may be…

* the way it displays hyperlinks

* the size of the sidebar

* the header image

* or any of numerous other problems

Now short of hiring someone to create a custom theme exactly the way you would like it there are a few easy changes you can make to take the almost perfect theme and make it much more YOURS.

Here is how you can change three of the most common things to personalize your them and make it your own.

Before we start though ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a back up of your files. And I do mean always if you did not guess from the previous statement.

Change your header

In your theme folder you will find an img or images folder depending on which one the theme author used. Inside that folder will be an image called header.jpg or header.gif. You can easily grab a copy of that image and check to see exactly what size it is.

Either create a new image the same size your self or hire a graphic designer to create one for you if you lack the skills. Name this new file the same as the original one and replace the original one. You now have a personalized header.

Hyperlink colors

Just the other day a friend of mine had found the perfect theme for his blog but the hyperlinks were not the standard blue and underlined but they were just black and bold.

He loved the theme except for that and had spent hours finding just the right look. This problem was easily solved by making a minor change in the css (cascading style sheet) file of his theme.

WordPress themes are run using style sheets and you can change the attributes quite easily. In this case it was the hyperlinks so you needed to look on the style sheet for the “a link” attributes.

It will look something like this

a {

color: #000000;

text-decoration: none;

}

Just change the color to the appropriate hexadecimal code in this case #0000ff and then the attribute from none to underline and you have a “standard” hyperlink.

Changing sidebar size

This takes two changes and they have to be the same amount of change. If your sidebar is a bit narrow say 120 pixels and you want to use 125×125 buttons you will have to change the sidebar width and reduce the body width by the same amount.

Here are the two entries

#sidebar {

position: relative;

float: right;

width: 237px;

#content {

float: left;

width: 676px;

You need to subtract from one what you add to the other but this will allow you to customize the size of a sidebar if that is the feature that you don’t like.

WordPress themes can be easily customized to your needs so if you find most of the features you want try your hand at customizing them. Just make sure to have a backup before you start.

Caffeinated Content

Niche WordPress Themes: How to Find the Right One For You

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

If you’re using WordPress out of the box, you might want to use a more unique theme that will create interest and connection with your visitors. After all, even the most valuable content gets boring if it’s set against a forgettable backdrop.

Anyone who’s interested in finding a niche WordPress theme is looking to appeal to a select group of people. As such, which WordPress theme you choose to use will affect how successful your business is.

So what are some general things to look for in a theme?

First and foremost, it’s the Google AdSense color and its placement.

Your niche blog is a business venture, therefore, you want it come off looking as professional as possible. Look for themes that match your AdSense so that AdSense looks like an organic part of your website. Seamless integration is what you should be going for.

But that’s not all you have to watch out for.

What about the specifics?

Niche WordPress themes, though already somewhat customized, can be customized further for easier integration with your business.

So prepare to customize!

…and get a little technical (or hire someone talented to do that for you).

Find niche themes that allow you to modify:

The main keyword phrase

This option is great because it allows you to put the keyword phrase in the meta title tags and headers of each page. It’ll also help you tell search engines that you want to be on top of results. Some business owners prefer to leave this blank, but they lose out on a way to promote their business.

Header images and text

Images and text are something that you obviously want control over. Make sure that you can easily modify both so that they can work for your business and not against it.

Fonts

How your text is presented is just as important as the content that it contains. Some fonts leave un-businesslike impressions in prospects’ minds, but it’s all relative. You wouldn’t set up a hospital blog and then use the comic sans font all over it, would you? Similarly, using a cursive script font for a blog dedicated to a kindergarten class seems out-of-place, right? Decide what font best represents your business and then implement it.

CSS

Let’s face it- not every pre-designed niche theme is 100% perfect. But if you’re allowed to modify CSS, you can help make it as close to perfect as it can possibly get. You’ll need a little bit of training beforehand, but CSS is far from impossible to learn. When you’re dealing with CSS, there really aren’t any limits. You have control of even the most minor details. Modifying CSS is great for perfectionists and those who have an exact vision of how they want their blogs to look like.

Finding a WordPress theme that offers all of these options can set you on the right path towards a blog that looks, talks and walks like you. Getting your brand out there will be a snap once you find a niche WordPress theme you like and can turn it into something unique that sets it apart from your competition.

Website content

WordPress Themes and How Color Effects Buying Habits

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

When you are looking at WordPress themes and trying to figure out which color would best suit your website, consider the psychological effects of color. In Western psychology, color produce a psychological effect on viewers. Viewers may associate qualities with a color and color may be symbolic as well.

When choosing colors, you can choose one color as the main color or you can chose a main color with other accent colors. One main color with two accent colors is a good combination if you want a livelier palette for your website than just a single color.

The warm colors of the color wheel can affect viewers because of the strength of these colors. These warm colors can overwhelm your website’s content unless they are used with moderation. Unlike the mellow blues and greens, the warm colors beg for attention. Yellow will grab the eye and may be distracting if it is overused. In color psychology, yellow can be motivating and sometimes over-stimulating. In studies, tempers were lost easier and babies cried more in yellow rooms.

Orange can spark the appetite in viewers. If you wish to whet the appetite of your visitors, use orange in your WordPress theme. It will look fresh and natural while it rings the lunch bell in reader’s minds. Red is another exciting warm color. Red can cause the heart rate and breathing to quicken and can over-stimulate too if it overwhelms a website. You should use the warm colors as accent colors because of the strength of their visual effect.

The cool colors of the color wheel has a more soothing effect. Green is symbolic color for many people. Symbolically, green has a few meanings. Green can symbolize money, prosperity, growth, youth, nature and freshness. As a color choice for a website, green is a lively color that does not cause eye strain. The color green has a relaxing effect on its viewers. Dark green is often seen as a masculine or woodsy color.

The color blue is associated with masculinity and it is often associated with authority. Websites that present information and want to be seen as an authority on the subject can do well to use blue as a main color. Blue is a favorite color with many people because of its tranquil appearance.

Neutral colors such as gray, brown, black and white have meanings for viewers too. Gray projects authority and stability. Brown presents an earthy and honest quality that could be considered homespun or earthy. Black means power, authority and knowledge for many viewers. Black sometimes have negative connotations for some viewers. On the other hand, white represents purity and neutrality.

WordPress themes can be used because of the effects that the color will have on the website viewers. If you choose a WordPress theme with the right color, your website will have the effect on viewers that you want instead of affecting viewers in such a way that they are over-stimulated or uninspired. Color is a powerful element when it comes to the design of your WordPress website.

Kansieo.com

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