Choosing a blog theme for display

QUOTES: Fundamentally, the WordPress Theme system is a way to “skin” your weblog. Yet, it is more than just a “skin.” Skinning your site implies that only the design is changed. WordPress Themes can provide much more control over the look and presentation of the material on your website. 

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. [1]

The 2010 theme for WordPress is stylish, customizable, simple, and readable — make it yours with a custom menu, header image, and background. Twenty Ten supports six widgetized areas (two in the sidebar, four in the footer) and featured images (thumbnails for gallery posts and custom header images for posts and pages). It includes stylesheets for print and the admin Visual Editor, special styles for posts in the “Asides” and “Gallery” categories, and has an optional one-column page template that removes the sidebar. [2]

NOTES: As you browse through a print magazine, the pages are laid out with a uniform design that is pleasing to the reader and useful to the publisher. The layout of a magazine includes images and photos, and text in a variety of fonts and sizes, which create a visual theme which is meant to be instantly recognizable. In WordPress, these elements are called a Theme.

Themes allow you to change the visual appearance of your blog dramatically without needing to change any part of the computer software which displays the theme on the screen. It can be tempting to continually change the appearance of your blog, but it’s wise to think it through so that your theme supports your purpose. And so you can focus on writing rather than be drawn into the endless visual options which are available.

Many themes are free, but there is a thriving business in developing “professional” themes for sale which are supposedly more effective and beautiful. I do not have the visual skills to appreciate the difference.

I chose the WordPress 2010 Theme for my blog, also known as Twenty Ten. It is one of many free themes available directly from WordPress. It consists of a banner photo across the top known as the Header Image, with a Site Title (RealityDisciplines.com) at the top left and Tagline (Think it through to earn the prize: Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, Wise.) at the top right. Words can be placed on the Header Image (We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking which created them). The text area is to the left, and a variety of customizable links and other information can be placed in the order I wish in a column to the right; these are known as widgets.

A Site Icon is used as a browser and app icon for your site; an image of the leper kneeling before Jesus, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean” is the chosen Site Icon.

A variety of themes can be viewed here:  https://wordpress.org/themes/browse/featured/

WordPress themes seem to be more and more visually focused, relying on a beautiful photo to draw the reader into the blog. Photos represent an expense and can have copyright issues, and it can take a lot of time to find a beautiful photo that has anything at all to do with the subject matter of the blog. I chose 2010 theme because I wanted to reader to see several items of interest whenever the blog was displayed:  (1) the blog header images, (2) the title of the post, (3) the first line to entice the reader, (4) the first paragraph of text and (5) a photo that does not obscure any of these. The purpose of all of these, according to Pamela Wilson, is to create a desire within the reader to read the post.

Theme designers are visual artists, and I’ve noticed that the newer WordPress themes (such as 2017) feature a large photo that the reader must click in order to see the article. Requiring multiple steps can increase reader frustration, so I’m staying with the simplicity of the 2010 Theme. To a visual designer – of course – it is the beautiful image that draws them to a post. Nevertheless, I always include information in the credits that would allow a reader to find the photo I use on the Internet, in case they are visually motivated.

QUESTIONS

What do you want your reader to see on the screen when they access your blog? What will entice them to read further? What sort of theme would facilitate this purpose? What themes appeal to you, and why?

SOURCES

[1] Using Themes, from the WordPress Codex, at https://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Themes

[2] Twenty Ten By WordPress.org, at https://wordpress.org/themes/twentyten/

The image, also used as a site icon, is from ChurchArt.com, a subscription service.

“Technical Issues” is a category of posts prepared for “The Writing Pastor” workshop attempting to provide answers to questions that might come up related to the technical issues of blogging. I am not an expert … but willing to share my opinion and experience. Someone who knows what they are doing will probably find my generalizations hilarious. My hope is that someone who knows less than I do might find them helpful.

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