New Year – New Theme: Is it time to revitalize your blog?

By | January 5, 2008

Well, it’s been a while since I had a new theme. I’ve been through quite a few different themes over the years, but I’m always looking to try something new. I’ve tried three themes in just the past few months alone, including WhiteSpace, Kubrick, Christmas Days, etc..
Over the past few months, I’ve become aware of a number of ways that bloggers can procure a new theme for their blog. So if you’re tired of your theme, then find a new theme…!

Free Themes: Free or ‘free’ – does it matter?

There are hundreds of themes that are available through WordPress theme sites. Some of them are really classy, some of them are awful. There are three theme sites that I have been using for finding new themes:

WordPress Themes Free: provides a lot of themes that are sponsored. Themes are categorized by the theme of the site, e.g. business, personal, photography, computing, etc.; they’re also categorized by features and coloration. In addition, there’s a search feature that allows you to choose some basic qualities, such as number of columns and category. There’s a wide variety of themes, but some categories have many more entries than others. There is a slight problem with the theme viewer: it displays the first page of each theme just fine, but then when you click on pages and posts, you can only see the standard Kubrick theme. Still, the sheer variety of themes and categorization of themes helps make up for this by making it easy to find suitable themes for the type of blog you want to have.

Then there is the WordPress Theme Viewer which is touted as the ‘official site for WordPress Themes’. With similar search and features as the first site, you can access nearly 1700 themes neatly organized by plugins, columns, width types, and color palettes. The principal difference is that themes here will be checked for spam links and malware. Of course, which ever theme you download, you should check for hidden links by taking a look at the HTML output.

It’s difficult to suggest a third place for themes as the WordPress site lists so many excellent repositories: I suggest that you check out their list of WordPress Theme Sites.

‘Premium’ Themes at an affordable price!

There are a bunch of designers now providing premium themes these days for WordPress. The typical set up is that you pay a fee that allows you to download a theme that isn’t generally available. Premium themes usually allow a little bit extra of uniqueness and classy design because they are more exclusive. In addition, the money that you use to buy your themes supports further work on the design and ‘bread, beer, and water’ for the designers! It would be impossible for me to list all the premium designs or designers available, but I will list some that I have found who are offering premium themes for sale.

Brian Gardener: author of the WhiteSpace theme I’m using now, also designed some wonderful ‘magazine’ type themes for WordPress. You can view them in the his portfolio here.

Sadish Balasubramanian: author of the theme called MistyLook, originally made famous by John Chow’s blog, also designs and distributes other premium themes that are visually beautiful. I particularly liked NigaRila, PalNila and more.

Other designers: If you are looking for a particular designer, a good way to find one is to simply check the links in the free themes of any themes that you think particularly stand out. Clicking through to the designer’s website may uncover premium themes for sale.

Prices do vary from just a few tens of dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on the reputation, license and popularity of the themes. So, do check around and make sure that the theme is still being updated and maintained properly. Some themes do ‘break’ when new versions of WordPress come out, and new versions are coming out more regularly than ever. Version 2.5 is expected in just a few months.

Unique Designs: How to stand out from the crowd! 

I wasn’t aware of unique designs until John Chow’s blog migrated from MistyLook (one of Sadish’s designs) to his own theme designed by Unique Blog Designs. Judging from the variety of services that they offer, designing and choosing a unique theme for your blog (perhaps including a new logo) can become quite a complex affair.

I’m not aware of pricing either, but numbers that have bandied about run from hundreds to thousands of dollars! Of course, if your blog is your business and brings in a significant revenue on its own, then branding your blog will be a very attractive way to make your business offering stand out.

Other reasons that you may choose a unique design: to supplement your hobby, such as photography or computing; to boost your standing in your community or online; or even to create your own ‘vanity’ blog where the cost of such a design isn’t a problem for you.

Whatever type of theme you choose for your blog, you’ll surely be able to find something that suits your personality and your blogging style! On a personal note, I’ve only tried the first method, but I’m definitely considering the second method! And I decidedly envy those who try the third!

In the meantime, please bear with me as I develop the theme on this blog for the next few months! I’ll be re-adding the signature, reorganizing the columns, sorting out the links, and so on!