Let’s be honest. Both are desirable characteristics. This is a picture of me trying to be a sexy nerd for Halloween the month I met my husband.
It clearly worked to lure him in 😉 and I’m positive that having a sexy and smart theme will work for your blog too.
This week I am doing a whole series on WordPress themes. Kicking it off today by making sure your theme is not only fabulous looking but also properly coded.
I’m even giving you the chance to win a sexy/smart theme. You’ll have to read down to the bottom of the post to find out more about the giveaway.
Here’s the agenda for the WordPress theme series:
- Is Your WordPress Theme Sexy and Smart? The importance of a quality WordPress theme – today
- Understanding and Utilizing Widget Areas – Tuesday
- My favorite Genesis child themes for bloggers – Wednesday
- Getting the most out of your Genesis theme – Thursday
Let’s get started by talking about having a sexy theme, because it’s just more exciting.
A good looking theme can capture your audience.
I am going to tell you a story to illustrate how a good looking theme can help your blog.
A while back, we had a play date with my son’s friend and her Mom. She showed up in sweats, t-shirt, and messy bun.
I was also in sweat pants, a loose fitting shirt, and had my hair clipped back. However, I had on these earrings:
Her comment, “You look good! Why did you dress up?” (or something to that affect)
I didn’t. I just put in a pair of fake studs.
A beautiful WordPress theme can do the same thing for you.
Now, before you get carried away, I’m not saying you can hide sweat pant quality content behind a pretty theme. You should still focus on writing killer content that your readers will love. However, you can capture you’re readers attention with a nice design. All by presenting your content with a good looking, functional theme.
Zach DeYoung recently summarized a Stanford study on design and credibility,
The Stanford Credibility Project recently asked more than 2,500 people to assess the credibility of several websites. The study found a clear link between visual design and perceived credibility. It showed that nearly half of all consumers (46.1%) make judgments about a site’s credibility based on its design, including things like layout, typography and color palette. All important factors of a well-designed website. – Zach DeYoung, Does Visual Design Really Matter
A great WordPress theme will help your audience feel comfortable and encourage them to dive into the content on your site.
A great WordPress theme is more than just looks.
We’ve just discussed how design plays an important part in your audience’s impression of your site, but there is more. Your WordPress theme needs to be smart. WPbeginner.com has said,
Not only does a good theme makes a good first impression to your user, but it helps your SEO. Yes the structure of your design plays a major role in search engine optimization.
Unfortunately, not all themes are created equally. Many of them could be hurting your blog – even if they’re sexy.
Some themes might use outdated coding or invalid HTML. Other themes might not pay attention to Google’s SEO guidelines and misuse things like heading tags.
Outdated or poorly coded themes can cause glitches with the plugins you use and are more likely to be attacked by hackers. In the last month, I worked with 2 bloggers who had their blog’s hacked through their free WordPress theme. The hackers took over the code for the design and replaced it with their own – shutting the blogs down. Luckily, both were able to restore their sites but it was a hassle and they experienced a lot of down time.
A theme might look good, but it might be full of feature heavy coding – slowing your site down.
Here is a great article you can read for more information on properly coded WordPress themes: The Importance of Using a Properly Coded WordPress Theme.
As if choosing a theme wasn’t hard enough! Now I’m telling you there’s more to worry about than the look of it. Sorry about that, but I do just want you to know that it’s not all about the looks. My mom told me the same thing when I was dating!
Take a little extra time to research the theme and its developer/designer when picking a theme for your blog. Read the reviews. Google them. Look at sites that use the theme. Smashing Magazine recommends running the demo through a web page speed test to find out more about the theme. (Check out Smashing Magazine’s post for more tips on finding a quality WordPress theme).
Or you can let me tell you about the sexiest and smartest themes out there:
You probably noticed in the outline for this week’s theme series that the majority of the upcoming posts mention Genesis. Why? Because Genesis themes fit the bill for being sexy and smart (a.k.a great web design with phenomenal coding). The Genesis Framework gives you an HTML5, mobile responsive, fast loading, and secure theme. Add a stunning child theme from a trusted developer and you’ll have a beautiful blog design that will lure your audience in.
Win your own Sexy and Smart theme
I’m super excited to be able to partner with StudioPress to give one of you a licensed copy of the Genesis Framework + a Child theme of your choice. Or, if you already own the framework you can pick out 2 new child themes!
This giveaways is pretty easy to enter: simply log in using your name and email (so I know who to give the prize to – email is not used for anything else. I hate spam too.) and then tell me which theme you’d pick if you win! You can also get a bonus entry for every friend you refer.
The more you share your lucky URL, the more entries you can have!
I recommend Genesis because I love their themes. At no additional cost to you, I get a commission if you end up purchasing a theme through my Genesis links.2