The most common reason to set goals for ongoing blog improvement is the desire to make content more valuable and appealing to an increasing readership. Choosing well designed theme is important because your image is important and a well designed, easy to navigate, professional looking theme will create an immediate impact on first-time visitors. If you cannot have a made to order theme, then personalizing the blog design helps readers instantly associate with you and your blog’s brand visually.
If you believe the theme you use now is the right one for your readers then why change themes?
I have been a WordPress.com blogger since 2006 and have been trying on new themes almost every time a new one has been introduced. It seemed to me that I could never find one that was the right fit.
I believe that way back then only Regulus had a custom image header but today nearly half of the 80 -90 themes we can choose from also have custom headers. More to the point is that the newer themes that are being introduced have features that I have long desired.
If you don’t then why are you considering changing themes? What is your goal?
I love the idea of meeting the ‘expectations and hopes’ of everyone here by delivering to you the best in WordPress themes. Pretty, painless, perfect-fit ones that just plain work. — Ian Stewart
However, before clicking the Activate button and surprising readers with a new look I recommend setting up a mirror or testing blog to explore various theme features and functions in.
Which theme is best suited to display the content? Which one is the most aesthetically appealing, and easily navigated blog layout to showcase the content in?
Attractiveness and readability are important factors because if your readers people find the color scheme renders your site difficult to read they won’t bother reading.
In regards to aesthetics, we must make sure that we know what our target audience wants to look at. The design schemes, colors, font types, and even the stock photos must make our users feel at home while they are browsing. Aaron Griffiths
How do we understand what our audience wants, what it desires? What can we do to determine desire lines on our site?
In Desire Lines: Let Your Audience Shape Your Design Web Designer Steven Bradley explains that desire lines are the path people choose to take as opposed to the path designers want or expect them to take. He suggests using In-Site Search, Heat Maps, Click Paths, Analytics, Tagging (how your users tag your content on bookmarking sites) , and Ratings.
Take some time to consider who your audience is and what they want from you. Use the following questions to help you identify your audience and what you can do to address its wants and needs. – Audience
When I first began blogging I didn’t think much about what my readers impressions of my theme choices would be in advance of making them. I wasn’t very clear about who my audience was. Since then I have been able to determine the demographics for my blog and that knowledge has influenced the theme choices I have made. When I was considering changing themes I first answered these questions:
- What is the purpose for the blog?
- What do you want your audience to think, learn, or assume about you?
- What impression do you want your writing or your research to convey?
- What are you optimizing for? Reconsider and list what your key words, categories and tags are and rewrite your blog description.
- Who is your target audience?
- What is most important to them?
- What are they least likely to care about?
- What actions do you want readers to take?
Beyond understanding the motivations or goals of your audience, you must also understand the basic mechanics of how your users will interact with your site:
- How will the site render on a user’s client?
- How will the user view the site? Visually? With graphics enabled? With a Braille reader? With a screen reader?
- Will the user’s client be able to support all of your site’s functionality? — Getting to Know Your Audience
This article is Part 3 of a three-part series of articles for helping WordPress.com bloggers take a step by step approach to changing themes. Parts 1 and 2 are focused on creating a mirror blog and testing features and functions on possible theme choices. This article is focused on determining reader preferences prior to making a theme switch.
I have made the switch from Vigilance to Inuit Types and I hope my readers think I made a good choice. Now it’s time for your feedback and for sharing your own theme change stories.
Do you have a theme change story to tell? if so then please don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.
Related posts found in this blog:
Personalizing Your WordPress.com Blog
Personalizing Your WordPress.com Blog: Part 2 – Custom Image Headers
Changing Your Blog? Start With the Colors
Blog Design: Which colors do you use and why?
Swing into Summer: New Themes and Headers
Why having a well designed blog is important
Widgets: Less is More
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