Content marketing is crucial for any business. Whether you deal in digital products or carpentry, quality content is a great way to get more traffic on your website.
But content is not the only thing that website visitors will look at. A well-designed, well-performing theme will make enhance customer experience with both speed and pleasant looks. Here’s how you choose a theme that will transform your company blog from good to great.
Choose a good supplier & the latest version
While performance and looks are important, you shouldn’t forget about the main thing in any website or blog, security. A free theme from an unknown supplier may look good, but there’s a chance it’s not protected from malware.
If the person who was designing the theme was more of a designer than a software engineer, the core may not be 100% secure. It may be susceptible to SQL injection or have an unprotected comment section. This will make your blog vulnerable.
Choose a theme from a reliable supplier and download the latest version to make sure it’s safe for you and your customers.
Choose an SEO friendly theme
The content you post on the blog is meant for your customers. However, simply pleasing them is not your final goal. The articles in the blog should rank well in the SERPs, so you should choose a theme that is designed with SEO in mind.
This doesn’t mean it has to be special, though. The only thing you need is a few basic features to consider a theme good for SEO. Here’s what you’re looking for.
- The theme doesn’t have hidden links to the developer.
- The theme works well with YoastSEO or any other SEO plugin.
- There isn’t a rel=canonical tag in pagination.
- The theme is compatible with Schema markup.
- The theme doesn’t rely on heavy JS libraries that would slow it down.
If all of these features are there, you can use it, knowing there won’t be any problems with SEO.If you’re launching a separate website to host your business blog, you’ll have to do some extra steps. You can use domain name generators to come up with a domain name that would be both good for SEO and brandable. You’ll have to work on linking back to your website as well.
Choose core features
The exact set of features you’re going for depends on where do you host your blog and how many themes are you using. If you’re choosing one theme for the whole website, it has to have both ecommerce features and features needed for the blog.
If you plan on using it as a child theme or launch a new website for the blog, you can be okay with a smaller list of features. Here’s what you may need for your blog.
- Blog excerpts
- Featured content with pages
- One page scrolling
- Sticky post
- Threaded comments
- Newsletter subscription
Filter the themes on WordPress by these features, and you’ll cover most of your needs.
The features you don’t need are quote posts, aside from posts, and image posts. These have zero value for SEO and your business.
Look for great typography
When you’ve covered security, SEO, and core features, it’s time to check typography. You can’t underestimate the power that good typography has over the readability of the text. Bring together inadequate line-height, odd fonts, and background that doesn’t contrast well with the typography, and website visitors won’t read your best articles.
Choose themes that look clean, have good contrast, and have features that allow you to put an emphasis on a part of the text. This is an example of decent typography.
Find a theme that looks good
Sure, it’s a no-brainer that you have to find a theme that looks good. If it looks professional, it will attract people to browse the website, not exit, thinking there must be something wrong.
The choice of a theme that is aesthetically pleasing is subjective and you should rely on your own taste to choose a great one. However, there are some objective things you have to account for.
For starters, your blog theme should look good with the main theme of your website. If you’re going to be working with two themes at a time, you will need to make sure they look good together.
Don’t pay attention to colors and images, you can always change them later. Look at the main design elements that you can’t change.
Then, you have to pay attention to the blog posts layout. If you’re planning on launching a blog that mostly handles clickbait articles for B2C customers, Buzzfeed-style, choose a layout like this.
A similar layout allows you to put emphasis on some blog posts, and draw attention with big images. It’s perfect for traveling, beauty, and fashion blogs.
If you run a blog that publishes professional articles or in-depth guides, you may choose a simple linear layout. Customers will scroll down regardless because they know your blog provides valuable insights. The image is a must, though.
Then, take a look at the blog post itself. Here’s how it shouldn’t look.
The hero image takes the whole page, and there is no snippet of the article. There isn’t even the headline. A reader may think they’ve misclicked and leave.
This layout of a blog post is a bit better because it shows the beginning of the article.
It’s not perfect either. There’s too much information on the right side of the screen, which makes the typography smaller. That information isn’t even necessary since few people who read an article on your blog want to know where your business is located.
The format you should go for is a hero image and a snippet of text.
It would be even better if this template had the place for a subheading.
The next thing you should look for is the related posts at the bottom of the page. It’s better if the posts displayed there are related by tags, not by the time of posting. This makes sure more people keep reading because the posts cover a topic they’re interested in.
Test the template live
If a template is broken in the live demo, you may have to put a lot of work into customizing it to work well on your website. The website we showed above has a great layout, but its fixed header is broken.
This doesn’t mean you should drop the theme altogether. If a theme fits all your needs but has one broken feature, it may be better to fix it than to look for another one. If it doesn’t work properly and isn’t perfect for you, you should continue your search.
Take the advice from this article and implement them in practice. Browse the list of WordPress templates and look through the themes.
Filter them by the features you need, look for great typography, and run live demos to find themes that work well and look good.
After that, all you have to do is focus on creating great content and promoting it. Social media share buttons are a great tool to start with.