Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
How do you pick the right theme for your blog? The challenge is that it's not a linear decision and it requires satisficing to balance content, function, and design ("look and feel"). As part of my research on effective blogging, I've been analyzing themes. I’ve literally evaluated more than 2,000 themes and heavily modified more than 20. I see a lot of patterns now. I've decided to share my lessons learned, since they might save you considerable time.
Summary of Lessons LearnedHere's a summary of my key lessons learned:
Vital Factors in Your Blog ThemeIt's the sum of the parts that creates your overall blog theme impact. Part of the problem that cost me so much time is I didn't know what to look for at first. I had to go through hundreds of themes before I started to see patterns that made some themes more effective than others. The other thing that cost me so much time is that it's a combination of factors over any one thing. The overall look and feel is the sum of the parts. Here's what I found to be key factors in overall look and feel:
Key Blog FeaturesHere's a quick list of the features that my focus group seemed to care about the most:
How I Did My ResearchMy research was pretty basic, but time consuming and challenging, particularly because there's a lot of variables and not much prescriptive guidance that I found actionable. Here's what I did:
Key Galleries I ExploredI explored several galleries, but here's a few of the key ones:
Key Themes I TestedWhile I tested a lot of themes, her's a few key ones that stood out:
How I'll Use This This has definitely shaped my perspective on blog themes. It's night and day from when I first evaluated themes. Knowing what to look for helps me test and experiment faster. I now have a more systematic way of figuring out why some blog themes work and why some don't. I'll be helping some colleagues with their blog themes and I'll be using what I learned as I launch new blogs.
My Related Posts
PingBack from http://msdnrss.thecoderblogs.com/2008/03/17/how-to-choose-an-effective-blog-template-or-theme/
JD, this is awesome breakdown on how to research on blog templates.
I learned a lot so I tried to share a lot.
It was way more work than I expected. I would have to say this was my most difficult post in terms of time and effort. I was surprised.
I think this is the first article I ever read about how to choose an effective blog theme and you did a very good job with your in depth analysis of the different factors involved in it.I think most people just download the coolest looking themes.
I write a lot of articles on blog designs that I think you might be interested in.
Thanks Vinh -- I'll check out your site.
excellent break down of all things to consider when choosing a new template, bookmarked it for future reference and stumbling it!