If you’re serious about your business (blog, website, digital marketing, what have you), I’m going to save you a lot of time.
So you started a blog — or you’re thinking of starting one — and you came across the plethora of themes to purchase or use for free.
Now, because you’re new, it may not be smart to purchase a theme right away; who knows if you’ll be doing this for long?
But then I thought about it and realized one thing: go big or go home.
When I started this blog, I was nervous and unsure of what I wanted to do; but I was excited. I was anxious to learn more, to get involved in this craft, and I wanted want the website to be in tip-top-shape.
The appearance of your website matters tremendously; there are too many websites out there that just look old and unorganized.
You don’t want that. You want to attract your readers, have them immediately thinking how beautiful your layout is — kind of like walking into the Apple store. People will compliment you if your website looks nice and clean; and people will quickly X out of your page if it’s unorganized and has flashing banners everywhere.
You’re probably going to change your theme anyway
If you do get sucked into the online business, chances are you’re going to change your theme.
You’re going to get sick of your old look, and the people you follow in your niche will all have beautiful designed websites — and you don’t want to be known as the person with a messy site.
The thing that separates Free vs Purchased
Free themes always look the same. They have the basic header location, the two sidebars, the content in the middle, and so on.
Purchased themes are unique. When you go shopping for one, you’ll realize they all provide something different. Maybe a featured image slider like I have on my home page, or a really helpful widget on the top of your page to put a newsletter like Chris Brogan’s website.
At the end of the day, I only spent $100 on my theme — and it was more than worth it.
My website now looks unique, and I am able to design it to my standards. I can cut out necessary sections, some pages don’t have to have the sidebar, and so on. It diversifies my options to design my website that way I want to.
You should do this, too, because it will motivate you to put effort into your blog or business; and the people that come to your site will respect you more if you have an excellent website — they will be drawn in.
They say when you change your theme your SEO is — so to say — reset; the effect is more negative than positive.
I had to change my theme 3 times. Did it impact my search? Maybe. But the changes were detrimental, so it was a risk worth taking.
There are many options, but after shopping around, my personal favorite in service, price, and value: Studio Press.
Depending on your business, you will know what you’re looking for. As you’re shopping, you will imagine where things would go, and what you would put in certain widget areas.
But I’m not trying to sell you a Studio Press site — I just highly recommend that because I did shop around, compare, and ask friends for their opinion.
This is good for you in the long run
You will save yourself the hassle of changing themes, ruining your SEO, and having to regret not purchasing one in the first place.
I mean, really think about it: how much did your business cost to start up?
$100? To start a website? Come on. . . .
I spent a little more because I asked my friend, Laura, to do a custom header for me. (If interested in her work, check out her site).
The safe bet
Hey, maybe you want to play it safe.
Maybe you just want to experiment with your blog/business and see where it goes.
That’s fine. Honestly.
I’m just speaking on behalf of those who are getting into blogging and starting an online business, and have a lot of confidence in what they’re doing.
If you’re just testing the waters, go for a free theme, why not.
But when you do end up loving what you do, and you realize that the free theme is limiting your creativity, don’t forget to remember I told ya so