Choosing a theme for your blog can be a lot of fun — if you know exactly what to look for. In this post I’ll outline the most important things you need when choosing the best WordPress theme for your blog.
What is a WordPress theme?
A WordPress theme is the same as a template; the two are interchangeable. A WordPress theme is really a customizable website or blog template. It will save you from having to learn code and allows you to quickly get your blog up and going.
Here are five things to look for when selecting your WordPress theme:
You don’t need lots of extras, but many theme developers will add unnecessary plugins and features to make you think you’re getting more for your money. Chances are you’re never going to use those extra features, and they’ll only slow your WordPress theme down.
The main goal for your theme is speed. Most theme marketplaces have reviews, so pay attention to reviews mentioning speed and features.
2. Easy-to-Use DashboarD
The dashboard is the backend content management system. This is the cockpit of your site and controls everything your visitor will see, including your home page, blog, etc..
Almost all WordPress themes come with backend dashboards — but they aren’t created equal. Some sites make it much more difficult to edit pages than others. You’ll want to look for a simple drag and drop or “What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG)” editor to easily make changes to your site.
One thing I like about Studiopress themes is they all have the same easy-to-use backend dashboard and it’s always being improved by the Copyblogger team.
3. Mobile Friendliness
Almost all new WordPress themes are mobile friendly, or have been upgraded to mobile friendly, now that Google penalizes non-mobile friendly sites. The main thing you’ll want to look for in your WordPress theme is a responsive design. That means no matter what size you make the screen or what type of device your audience is using, the content on the screen will rearrange itself to find the best fit.
For example, if you try resizing the Moving Mountains site in your browser you’ll see how the content rearranges to fit whatever size you make the window. It does the same thing for any mobile phone and optimizes the viewing experience.
4. Free vs. Paid Themes
If you’re on a shoestring budget, there are lots of free WordPress themes that can be great to start with. If you do have $50-$75 to spend on a premium theme, I would recommend it. Here are a few things you get with a premium theme that you won’t find in a free theme.
- More updates – The makers of premium themes are incentivized to continually update their themes, accommodating new WordPress updates and bugs that may come up. Free themes are typically not updated as often.
- Support and documentation – Most WordPress themes come with documentation explaining how to set things up and how to troubleshoot problems. Free themes always come with some level of documentation but they won’t include the same level of help and support from the developer as a paid theme.
Finding a good theme requires you to dig a little deeper. Don’t take the developer’s word for it when researching a theme, especially when you buy from a marketplace like ThemeForest. They have plenty of great themes but you’ll need to do your homework before you make a decision. Sites like Studiopress and Woothemes build their own high-quality trusted themes and will have plenty of feedback from users.
If you’re on a site like ThemeForest, be sure to read the comments for the theme by clicking on the comments tab at the top. Also, click on the support tab to the right and check out the response time of the developer and the questions being asked. The last thing I like to do is type the name of the theme + “review” into Google and see what other people are saying. If the general consensus is good, you’ve probably got a winner on your hands.
I grew up with 13 siblings, and checklists and chore charts were a big part of our lives. It was either that or complete chaos; there was no in-between for my parents.
We woke up every Saturday at 8AM, ate a big breakfast, and got to work on our chores. Each of us had a chore to do inside the house (my sister and I were usually tasked with scrubbing the floors), and in the afternoon we all helped with yard work.
Eventually, we even ‘improved’ on my mom’s processes and started creating our own. For example, the older kids all helped clean up after dinner, so we devised a system for who completed which task. Someone had to clear the plates, another had to wash the the pots and pans (the worst job), one of us loaded the dishwasher, and the last person wiped the table and swept the floor.
Looking back on it now, I don’t know how we could have done it without those checklists my mom created. I even implemented them with my wife when we got married to be sure we made the most of our Saturdays.
The framework below will help you create step-by-step checklists for each daily, weekly and monthly household task. You can use them to teach kids the proper way to do each chore, or use them for yourself like I did!
The Magic of Chore Checklists
Organizing with checklists not only saves time, it also comes with several other benefits you may have not realized. Here are a few reasons why chore checklists are so beneficial.
- Fewer decisions to make – We all have a limited amount of decision making power to use each day. Why waste it on deciding which chore to do next?
- Eliminates “I can’t” from your child’s vocabulary – If your child is having trouble with a chore, a checklist makes it much easier to isolate the problem and help them. For example, if Johnny is putting away laundry and delivers it to the wrong rooms, you know exactly which step to clarify instead of just listening to him say he “can’t do it.”
- No Guessing Games – There’s much less confusion about what “clean the bathroom” means when you have something in writing. Don’t assume your kids can read your mind. What you consider and what they consider part of cleaning the bathroom could be two very different things. A detailed checklist eliminates the guesswork.
Tips for Creating Chore Checklists
It’s not enough to simply list out the chores you want your children to complete. Kids (and most adults) will do a better job of completing chores if they have a detailed process to follow. Here are a few tips for creating chore checklists.
- Write out each step and make descriptions short as possible.
- If a chore requires a decision, create a yes or no or flowchart.
- Be sure to list chores in the order you want them done.
- Don’t forget to add the frequency and the days each task needs to be done.
- Set aside ample time to teach your child each step of the process. Then, do the chore together until they get it. Some chores may take only once, more complex chores might require a few times.
Here’s an example for a quick checklist on shaking out the rugs weekly.
Shakeout the rugs
*Do this weekly on Saturdays after lunch.
*Do this for these rugs: front door, back door, door from the garage.
- Pick up the rug on the two shortest sides so you don’t spill dirt on the floor.
- Carry the rugs to the back door.
- Walk outside and shake the rug off the end of the porch.
- Once finished, put the rug back in line with the door.
Chore Checklist Starter List
Checklists can be created for any chore and any age. Here’s a list of common chores to help get you started.
- Folding and putting away laundry
- Cleaning the kitchen
- Cleaning up after yourself at the table
- Animal poo patrol
- Animal maintenance and feeding
- Meal planning and grocery shopping
- Meal prep (Kids can help with this too! Have them fill bags with ingredients.)
- Cleaning the floors
- Watering the plants
- Cleaning bedrooms
- Cleaning bathrooms
- Shaking out the rugs
- Yard work
Remember, the time you spend creating your chore checklists upfront will save you hours in the weeks to come. Don’t put it off! Document each chore as you do it and create your checklists today!
Article By: Joel W
Are you passionate ABOUT SOMETHING? DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE? Do you have a story that needs to be told? Do you want to generate passive income for your family?
Starting a blog might be your answer.
Blogs are no longer just for the “professional writer”. They are for the thinker, the designer, the mother, the craftsman, and the teacher.
In 2013, I decided to start blogging and building my personal platform. It’s now become part of my full-time career and it has allowed me to make a living from the things I am most passionate about.
Sadly, I see many people not chase their dream because their either don’t know where to start or the “setup process” is too complex.
But its not. Below I have outlined an easy step-by-step guide to getting a domain, setting up hosting, and installing WordPress in 10 minutes or less.
There are many ways to setup a blog but you will get the most control by using self-hosted WordPress blog. This is what most serious bloggers use. This is what I use here at DalePartridge.com
IMPORTANT: The first step for setting up a blog is buying a domain and setting up hosting. If you are not sure about the difference between hosted and self-hosted WordPress, I found this helpful infographic that explains it well. My verdict… stay away from WordPress.com. It’s limiting and does not allow your blog to scale well.
To Get Started You’ll Need 3 Items:
1. A Credit Card ( Average startup costs can be around $50 – sometimes less and sometimes a little more depending on upgrades)
2. A Domain Name
3. Setup Hosting
5. A Theme To Install
Step #1: Buying A Domain Name
The domain name of my blog is MovingMountains.co. That’s where people have come to find me on the web. Choosing a good domain can be tough. Your domain can either be your name or a branded domain like MovingMountains.co. Luckily, the hosting company I will recommend in step #2 provides you a free domain when you sign up.
Step #2 Setting Up A Hosting Account.
This is where your blog will “live.” This is a server in the cloud (i.e., a remote computer), where you will rent space to install the WordPress software and manage your blog. It’s far easier than it sounds. Stick with me.
There are a hundreds of hosting services available. However, based on my experience and research, I recommend Bluehost. I believe it is the best option for most people for the following several reasons:
- Bluehost is large and well known.
- They offer excellent customer service (located in the US).
- Their packages are highly affordable and include domain names. Way less work.
- Their service provides extremely fast page load times.
- Bluehost is very easy to use.
BLUEHOST STEP #1
Visit This Link (the same as the one above) and Click “Get Started Now” button.
BLUEHOST STEP #2
BLUEHOST STEP #3
Choose your free domain name or bring over your current domain. Both are very easy processes.
BLUEHOST STEP #4
Place your order and pay for your plan.
BLUEHOST STEP #5
Once you’ve logged in, you will be taken to your Bluehost dashboard where you can install WordPress (the software that runs your blog) in a few simple clicks.
BLUEHOST STEP #6
Click the the green install button.
BLUEHOST STEP #7
Choose the domain you just registered or the one you brought over.
BLUEHOST STEP #8
Check the “Show advanced options” box and fill in the title, username, and password. Your title will be the name of your blog (mine would be Dale Partridge). The username and password will be what you use to login to the backend of your blog (your WordPress dashboard).
IMPORTANT: Save this information somewhere where you won’t lose it. You will need it for step #10
BLUEHOST STEP #9
Bluehost will install WordPress on your server and let you know when it’s complete.
BLUEHOST STEP #10
Click on “Admin URL” (located below the green box) and enter your WordPress login credentials from step #8. This will take you to your WordPress dashboard. Your WordPress dashboard is where you will do almost everything on your blog. From writing articles to changing design.
This is your WordPress Dashboard. You can either begin blogging or upload a new theme for your blog. I would recommend purchasing a new WordPress theme at Themeforest.net. At ThemeForest, in the navigation go to “WordPress” in the upper left section of the page. Then choose your theme type and begin exploring thousands of themes. After purchasing your theme from Themeforest, you will return to your WordPress dashboard and click “Appearance” > Themes > Upload a New Theme. Here you will upload the .zip file of the theme your just purchased.
Lastly, you will then follow your theme’s setup features provided by the person who developed your theme. This is where you will upload your logo, change colors, add pages, and more.
Congratulations! You have officially setup your blog. This is only the beginning of an exciting journey for you. BIG THINGS!
HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING:
If you are like me you’ve seen a lot of headlines online about making money blogging. Who doesn’t want to make additional income doing something they enjoy that is time and location independent, right?
But is it for real? Yes. Very real.
What can you do with this extra money you are making on the side?
-Pay off student loans
-Pay off debt
-Save for a home
-Pay for a private school for the kids
-Buy a new car
The opportunities are endless.
Before we go any further I promised proof that I know what I am talking about so below is a screenshot from one of my Adsense accounts in regards to a site I recently launched. Below is the launch and 90 day earning summary for one site I launched last year that focused on food:
What would it feel like if you had an extra few hundred per month?
I’ll tell you. It feels awesome.
We live in a great time in history. The internet can work for anyone.
If you get a blog setup and are willing to put in the time and effort, it can become some serious income. Many bloggers we work with make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. (Here is another example from SuperMommyClub.com).
Here we go:
4 KEY STEPS IN LAUNCHING YOUR OWN BLOG :
1. SETUP A BLOG WITH HOSTING
Setting up a blog nowadays is super easy and doesn’t cost much at all.
To setup a Blog you need:
Domain Name – Pick something easy and memorable. This doesn’t have to be a premium one word dot com but it does have to give people an idea of what you are about when they look at it.
CHECK WHAT IS AVAILABLE HERE:
Plus, right now BlueHost will GIVE you a free domain with hosting. Win. Win.
Hosting- There are a lot of hosts out there but I’m a big fan of BlueHost. They are super affordable (like $3.95/month) and have great support. A host is where you website and content will “live”. It’s where the actual files are located that people will access – articles to read, images,etc.
With Bluehost you are going to be able to install WordPress ( a blogging platform) at no additional cost. The reason I recommend WordPress is because it is so easy to learn and there is a lot of documentation online and on YouTube if you get stuck or need training. Plus you can find amazing themes already prebuilt for around $50 on ThemeForest.net instead of spending $2,500 to have someone build it from scratch.
(To help here is a technical link I put together to help you step by step the entire way: How to setup WordPress on Bluehost :) )
2. SIGNUP FOR ADSENSE
Adsense can be a gold mine for bloggers because as soon as you get signed up and approved, is starts running advertisers. All you need is a gmail account, personal info and a bank account.
You can sign up here: www.google.com/adsense
The key for Adsense is placement. Remember a lot of people are browsing on their mobile phone and ads on the top or sidebar don’t get shown. Make sure you put ads in the middle of your web page like this:
3. SIGNUP FOR GOOGLE ANALYTICS
This is a free Google tool (you can signup here )and extremely powerful. It is how you will measure exactly how many people are going to your website. By using this tool you will know how many people are going to your blog, where they are coming from and what they are reading plus a ton more data. Use this to your advantage – if you know people are most interested in your blogs on home improvement, write more home improvement blogs, etc. The more you provide that your readers want the more they will read. Below is a screenshot from one of our sites that has over 1 million visitors per month.
4. FIND A SOCIAL PLATFORM THAT HAS AN AUDIENCE YOU CAN WRITE TO.
Just a heads up, these tactics are for advanced users. Those who have setup their blog, have content and are ready to go.
A lot of websites and individuals write content (blogs, articles,etc.) and publish them but have no idea how to put them in front of people who will actually read them. They just go out online and get lost in web space. I’ve found a lot of success in finding a niche that you understand and can be an authority in – moms with toddlers, car enthusiasts, adults with ADD,etc. and use that as your starting platform.
The next step is to then find people that would most likely be interested in what you are writing. Social media is a perfect tool for finding potential readers. Here are some of my tips for the ones I use:
-Join Facebook groups who have individuals that would be interested in what you are writing about and share your articles there.
-Reach out to Facebook page owners with topics and followers that would be interested in what you are writing about and try to get them to share your content across their pages.
-Start a Facebook page and start running “like” ads to build up your followers. (Great info from AdEspresso here). We believe in this – we currently have cose to 100 Facebook pages we run with over 17.5M fans! (Link to pages).
-Look for group boards you can join that have followers that you can pin your content too.
-Create a Pinterest profile and pin high quality content that will attract the type of people that would love to read your blog. We have over 200k followers for our site LifeAsMama.com that caters to moms and I currently have over 996k followers on my personal profile of people that are into the stuff I am.
BONUS: I WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR NEXT STEPS. IF YOU TAKE INITIATIVE, SET YOUR BLOG UP THROUGH BLUEHOST AND EMAIL ME, I’LL PROMOTE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST TO MY SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS. (I HAVE CLOSE TO 1 MILLION) :)
What are you waiting for? It’s your time.