Archive for March, 2009

How to Select a WordPress Theme

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The first thing that will come to one’s mind, when decided to write a blog on a topic they are interested in, is selection of the theme or template for their blog. There are number of blogging platforms like WordPress,Blogger,Typepad ,etc. If you do a search on google for the blogging platforms, you will get a list of those. Among all, WordPress is most popular and has thousands of blogs built using this platform. It is Open Source project and is free to use. 

In this article, I will tell you how to select a WordPress(WP) theme. A WP theme is nothing but a piece of software used to build your blog. It contains various templates or files which work together in the background to give you the desired look and feel for your blog. Following the below tips help you to select your blog theme easily and efficiently. 

1. Category: This means what is your blog all about. It defines the kind of audience you want to target your blog to. For example, if you want to write a blog about dogs, then your blog comes under the ’Pets’ category. Or if you like to target to the people interested in cooking then you category would be ‘Food’. Finding your category helps you to find the right theme and thus saving your time and energy in the process of setting it up and later correcting it. There are themes in every major category ranging from Travel to Music to Business.  You can find these at the WP Theme directory and also at number of websites like Free wordpress themes, Daily Blog tips,themestudio.

2. Colors and layouts:Some people like to have their favorite colors to their blogs. So, try getting your themes in those colors as much as possible but this may not be possible always although there are hundreds of WP themes which match every desire.  Also there is another advantage in using a theme of your favorite color as you do not need to change a lot in the theme to get your color. But I recommend not to focus much on this aspect because it is not that difficult to change it later once you are comfortable with the code behind it. Rather concentrate on the layout of the theme. Decide on what type of layout you want. Browse through the list of themes you have at WordPress.org and other websites sited above. This will give you an idea of how it looks and then you can easily make a decision. There are number of layouts available, but popular are:

 Single Column

Two Column (With Sidebar)

Two Column (Without Sidebar)

Three Column

Four column

Fixed width

Fluid width 

Also there are some layouts specifically designed for Photos centered and Videos centered blogs. I feel you have to select a theme which you can live with it for long term as you are the one who visits your blog the most. Experiment some themes with some test posts and pages. Comment them, categorize them and see how your selected theme looks. This is the best way to ensure you have the right theme. Do not see the blog theme from your own point of view but from your reader’s point of view. 

 3. Purpose of your blog:This is important as this will help you to select your theme for the long term. If you are going to write a blog only for you to vent out your emotions and thoughts, you do not need to give much importance to many other aspects of your blog like advertisements, widgets, etc. But if you blog to help others like this one you are presently reading, or to make money out of it, then you need to also consider few other things in addition to the above ones.  Some things you need to consider are, if that theme supports advertisements without much tweaking and turning the code, does the theme supports the widgets or plugins, like RSS, Protection from Spam comments, Search engine optimization, etc. By default when you have signed up for a WordPress blog, you will be provided with default themes. You can use them or select your own from visiting the WordPress’s own free WP themes or other Paid WP theme websites like Revolutinary Themes, StyleWP, BlogOhBlog. These websites provide professional looking themes with excellent support. If you are serious about blogging or making money from blogging, you should use one of these Paid WP themes. 

 Following this tip helps you to achieve the goal you have set before starting to blog, more easily and efficiently.  

 4. Support: Ensure you will get the support you needed while using the theme from the theme author or website owner. I have seen many times, that the site owner from where the theme is downloaded could not able to help the user who have downloaded and used it for their blog because they are not developed by himself but somebody else and he is only promoting them. If this is the case when you need the support most, then it would lead to frustration and waste of time for you. 

 Happy Blogging.

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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

Seo Premium WordPress Theme

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Let’s face the facts; there are a gazillion websites on the internet. You don’t have the luxury of publishing a mediocre site when, at most, you have only a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention. Your site design is the web with which you catch your fly. Whether they stick and stay is up to your content. One of the main reasons Thesis WordPress Theme has become so popular, is that it provides a clean, elegant design with enough flexibility to allow you to tailor it to any need.

Design – Thesis WordPress Theme Version 1.3

Thesis Version 1.3 continues where previous versions left off, by providing stellar typography, user accessibility, interface design and search engine optimization. The overall look is professional, with sufficient gravitas to lend authority to your content. Elements of the overall design are endlessly customizable through the easily navigated user interface. Layouts and fonts are controlled without the need to fiddle with the site’s core code. Everything is laid out in an intuitive manner which doesn’t require an advanced degree in computer science to navigate. This attribute alone makes it a perfect choice for anyone deploying a site for the first time. The interface abounds with nice ergonomic touches such as the inclusion of an asterisk next to web-safe fonts on the selection menus. And let’s not overlook the “B.A. Save Button”! But even this trademark item is customizable, although Chris Pearson, Thesis’s creator, doesn’t advise it.

Changes from Thesis WordPress Theme Version 1.2

Many improvements were added to version 1.3 however, there are three additions that deserve special mention. The new Thesis Layout Constructor allows you to mix and match the column order any way you like, maximizing the possibilities between one, two or three column layouts. Content can be located in the middle or either side of the sidebars, all with the click of the mouse. This is possible due to a new HTML module structure creating six new possible layouts. In addition to this added flexibility, Thesis WordPress Theme now adds a Framework Selector which allows you to select between a page framework and a full-width framework. In full-width mode, your headers and footers carry to the edge of the browser’s viewable space. Again, the concept is flexibility without having to touch the underlying core code. The third major improvement over version 1.2 is a more robust hook system. Previously, if you wanted to customize your theme, you hacked away at the HTML for each individual template file. This process was time consuming at best, and a recipe for disaster at worst. Once you worked out all the bugs, you were off and running, but what if you decide at some point to change your theme? Guess what? You get to do it all over again. The hook system, which was introduced in version 1.2, solves that problem by creating one of the most critical ways to customize your theme without touching the underlying code. Even more importantly, hooks do their work while assuring forward-compatibility. Thesis WordPress Theme now has thirty-one hooks which allow you to add and subtract content such as ads, pictures, design attributes etc.

Thesis WordPress Theme And Search Engine Optimization

The whole point of a website and/or blog is to drive traffic to it so that you can share your unique content. To do so, you must optimize your code for search engines, without landing in the dreaded Supplemental Index. To begin with, WordPress is designed to be very amenable to SEO, but even with that on your side, the way your theme(s) are built have an enormous impact on how search engines view your site. Thesis WordPress Theme includes code that is optimized for search engine retrieval without any customization. With Thesis WordPress Theme you can easily optimize the content of a page and manage keywords for better pass-through. Of course Thesis plays well with plug-ins like SEO Title Tag for more control, but out-of-the-box, Thesis handles SEO well.

Thesis WordPress Theme – Pricing And Support

Thesis provides purchase options to fit the needs of every level of user. The basic package, or Personal License, sells for $87 and includes a single seat license for one production site and one development server. The catch with this package is that the footer information must remain intact, although this is truly a small nit to pick. For a little less than double the price of the basic license, or $164, you get the Developer’s License which gives you unlimited use of the theme on any number of sites and the ability to remove the footer link. If you’re unsure, and just want to dip your toe in the water, you can opt for the Personal License and then upgrade to the full-up Developer’s license later for an additional $77. What do you get for your money? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot: Theme upgrades are free for life. You get total access to Thesis Forums, free tidbits to customize your theme such as styles, images and the like, all available for download, and unbelievable support. This touches on an itchy subject. We all know that claims of superior user support are, more often than not, marketing hype designed to make you feel better about putting forth the green. Except that in this case, it happens to be true. The creator of Thesis, Chris Pearson is often the one providing support, often within a day of posting your question. But you don’t need to take my word for it, just check out the testimonials page.

Thesis WordPress Theme : The Conclusion

Yes, there are thousands of free themes out there available for download, and yes, you can create your own with WordPress template functionality, but why? If you’re a novice webmaster or just starting to blog, then you probably don’t have the requisite skills to do all the hard-core coding. On the other hand, even if you have god-like coding fu, why bother? You have far more important things to spend time on such as researching and writing content and managing your ad revenues. Especially if you are in the latter classification, Thesis WordPress Theme will pay for itself rather quickly. There simply is no other WordPress theme available that delivers so much for so little. That is why Thesis is one of the best choices of WordPress theme available today. And for the same reasons, I use Thesis WordPress Theme for my blog. 🙂

Thesis WordPress Theme Version 1.3.2 is already out. And the newest version of Thesis includes more fantastic features that makes blogging more efficient. Some of the added features are: more SEO options and improvements, fixes on SEO plugin compatibility, improved multi-media box functionality, new page template functionality and hooks, design and layout changes, and MANY MORE!

What do you think of Thesis? 🙂

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Create Professional WordPress Themes With New Book

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

 

WordPress is an open-source blog engine released under the GNU general public license. It allows users to easily create dynamic blogs with great content and many outstanding features. It is an ideal tool for developing blogs and though it is chiefly used for blogging, it can also be used as a complete CMS with very little effort. Its versatility and ease of use has attracted a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users.

This book walks through clear, step-by-step instructions to build a custom theme for the WordPress open-source blog engine. The author provides design tips and suggestions and covers setting up the WordPress sandbox, and reviews the best practices from setting up the theme’s template structure, through coding markup, testing, and debugging, to taking it live. The last three chapters cover additional tips, tricks, and various cookbook recipes for adding popular site enhancements to WordPress theme designs using 3rd-party plugins as well as creating API hooks to add custom plugins.

Whether users are working with a pre-existing theme or creating a new one from the ground up, WordPress Theme Design will give them the know-how to effectively understand how themes work within the WordPress blog system enabling them to have full control over their site’s design and branding. Users only need to be comfortable with the basics of web development and this book will take care of the rest.

What you will learn from this book

Set up a basic workflow and development environment for WordPress theme design

Create detailed designs and code them up

Enhance your sites by choosing the right color schemes and graphics

Debug and validate your theme using W3C’s XHTML and CSS validation tools

Customize and tweak your theme’s layout

Set up dynamic drop-down menus, AJAX/dynamic and interactive forms

Download and install useful plug-ins and widgetize your theme

Improve post and page content using jQuery and ThickBox

Add interactivity to your themes using Flash

Includes a reference guide to WordPress 2.0’s template hierarchy, markup, styles and template tags, as well as include and loop functions

Chapter 1 introduces you to the WordPress blog system and lets you know what you need to be aware of regarding the WordPress theme project you’re ready to embark on. The chapter also covers the development tools that are recommended and web skills that you’ll need to begin developing a WordPress theme.

Chapter 2 looks at the essential elements you need to consider when planning your WordPress theme design. It discusses the best tools and processes for making your theme design a reality. The author explains her own ‘Rapid Design Comping’ technique and gives some tips and tricks for developing color schemes and graphic styles for your WordPress theme. By the end of the chapter, you’ll have a working XHTML and CSS based ‘comp’ or mockup of your theme design, ready to be coded up and assembled into a fully functional WordPress theme.

Chapter 3 uses the final XHTML and CSS mockup from Chapter 2 and shows you how to add WordPress PHP template tag code to it and break it down into the template pages a theme requires. Along the way, this chapter covers the essentials of what makes a WordPress theme work. At the end of the chapter, you’ll have a basic, working WordPress theme.

Chapter 4 discusses the basic techniques of debugging and validation that you should employ throughout your theme’s development. It covers the W3C’s XHTML and CSS validation services and how to use the FireFox browser and some of its extensions as a development tool, not just another browser. This chapter also covers troubleshooting some of the most common reasons ‘good code goes bad’, especially in IE, and best practices for fixing those problems, giving you a great-looking theme across all browsers and platforms.

Chapter 5 discuss how to properly set up your WordPress theme’s CSS style sheet so that it loads into WordPress installations correctly. It also discuss compressing your theme files into the ZIP file format and running some test installations of your theme package in WordPress’s administration panel so you can share your WordPress theme with the world.

Chapter 6 covers key information under easy-to-look-up headers that will help you with your WordPress theme development, from the two CSS class styles that WordPress itself outputs, to WordPress’s PHP template tag code, to a breakdown of “The Loop” along with WordPress functions and features you can take advantage of in your theme development. Information in this chapter is listed along with key links to bookmark to make your theme development as easy as possible.

Chapter 7 dives into taking your working, debugged, validated, and properly packaged WordPress theme from the earlier chapters, and enhancing it with dynamic menus using the SuckerFish CSS-based method and Adobe Flash media.

Chapter 8 continues showing you how to enhance your WordPress theme by looking at the most popular methods for leveraging AJAX techniques in WordPress using plugins and widgets. It also gives you a complete background on AJAX and when it’s best to use those techniques or skip them. The chapter also reviews some cool JavaScript toolkits, libraries, and scripts you can use to simply make your WordPress theme appear ‘Ajaxy’.

Chapter 9 reviews the main tips from the previous chapters and covers some key tips for easily implementing today’s coolest CSS tricks into your theme as well as a few final SEO tips that you’ll probably run into once you really start putting content into your WordPress site.

For more details on the book please visit http://www.packtpub.com/wordpress-theme-design/book.

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