Inspired by Themes

Sometimes, changing our site’s look can re-energize our blogging — and our readers.

You must’ve heard it time and again: choosing a theme is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a blogger. After all, your site’s design greatly affects how your visitors experience the content you’ve worked so hard to create.

Are you thinking of switching themes but aren’t sure where to start? Visit our Theme Showcase, where you can search for themes by specific features and layouts (among other criteria), as well as their recency and popularity.

But settling on a theme doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever. Very often, it takes a bit of trial and error before your posts and your theme coalesce into harmony. Don’t take our word for it — here are four bloggers reporting on the difference they’ve experienced after switching themes.

Life at the Rancho

Recently, I totally rebooted my entire site [with the Penscratch theme]. I’ve followed Blogging 201, and I love it.  The reason I did this was to make my blog more inviting to others. I’d like them to feel comfortable there, as if they were in my home where they could relax, have a cup of tea, and discuss everything.

Ragtime Cyclist

I recently switched from Twenty Ten to the Suburbia theme and, I have to say, there’s something about the neat and visually-appealing organization of the posts that really works for me.

I think/hope that it draws in readers too.

I love the way that switching to this theme has inspired me to think ‘visual’ as well as ‘words,’ and I’m putting far more thought into featured images.

Overall, switching to this theme has rekindled my pride in my blog. To most of my readers, the look of my blog (along with its content) is all they see of my personality. It’s important to get it right.

Row’s Pottery Shed

I changed my blog’s theme to Fontfolio recently, which has had a big impact on my traffic. I’m really enjoying meeting other creative people and cross-pollinating ideas and inspiration. My day job is office-based, so I really need the blogging world to keep me sane and to satisfy my creative drive.

Old England to New England

I was recently inspired by discovering the theme Hemingway Rewritten; it’s so clean and well presented that I’ve started increasing the sizes of the pictures I post and making my blog more visual.

When’s the last time you switched your theme? What effect, if any, has the change had on your blogging? Leave us a comment here, and/or share your story on the My Inspiration page!




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  1. Just recently signed up, and for now the Penscratch theme is applied. Thinking of switching to Goran, though.

    I wish there was a theme that made the comments section slide in/out like in the Daily Post. There isn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. For what it’s worth, all the themes used by the bloggers featured here are free themes — and there are many other free ones in the showcase that are just as sleek, feature-rich, and easy to customize.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s true, there are plenty of interesting and creative free themes, and its well worth putting some time into searching through them and previewing how they make your blog look. Time well spent I reckon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Finding a theme that matches my blog has been a rough journey – I was desperate in the few weeks I used Twenty Fourteen. It’s a great theme but just didn’t work for me. I settled on sketch now but I am still looking for the perfect theme. I’d love to have a featured content slider, a sidebar and support for featured images in 4:3 format… It’s that last requirement that most themes fail.


    1. There are more than a few themes that offer full-width featured images (if I understand correctly what you’re after), but I suspect you’re right that it might be hard to find one that does that while also giving you the option to have a sidebar. I wonder if, like in other areas, it might be wise to determine which are the two most important features of the three, and focus your search on that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are many many beautiful themes for sure! The problem is usually not the width but the height of the pictures when they are displayed: if I add a watermark to an image with aspect ratio 4:3, it easily gets half cut off when the picture is cropped to display with a different aspect ratio. I could surely avoid that in future images but to go back and edit all my older images to deal well with the cropping is not an option … The cropping in Sketch works well for my images and I think that is the most important of the three, so I will stay with it until I find a theme like Sketch but with featured post slider on the blog page.


  3. 3 titles, 35 posts and 5 themes later……

    I’m finally starting to love my blog!
    It was a frustrating first few months when I started blogging early February. Slow traffic, indecisiveness and everything working against a new blogger was beginning to gnaw on my keyboard.
    But I stayed persistent–followed other inspiring blogs, and taking a peek at their themes of choice too.

    I followed the writing and blogging classes respectively, and for months the words, “love your theme” trailed me like a fly.

    3 titles, 35 posts and 5 themes later…
    I’m finally loving my site. Everything works just fine now. I realized that sometimes it takes a number of writings to figure out where your site is going, and tailor making your theme to fit that 🙂

    The best part? My traffic has improved. It’s not so different from the real world…
    Happiness is infectious after all

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just bought Blogly after two years of trying various themes and I like it VERY much … but it doesn’t load well on my Kindle. I’m kind of disappointed about that, but otherwise, it looks great. It’s a nice, clean, snappy look … but apparently not happy on the 7″ tablet format … or maybe it doesn’t like the Kindle platform.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In response to Ben Huberman’s response which I can’t find (I’m sure it’s here somewhere) — I’m a writer. I’m a photographer. I am both. I have a BIG blog — more than 3,000 posts and probably more pictures than that — so navigation is critical. I need a sidebar. I also need a good photo presentation. Blogly does both well — on a computer. Doesn’t load well on my Kindle (if it loads at all). I’m betting it won’t load at all on a phone. It doesn’t size-down well. In any case, I blew my wad buying it, so it will have to do the job for a while. It looks really snappy on any of my computers … I’m hoping most of followers use computers rather than smaller devices. No template will be perfect. It took me two years to find one I like THIS much. I’m sure I’ve used two dozen different templates before finally investing in Blogly.


  5. Thanks for using my comment about my blog theme (Old England to New England) in your post! I love how many themes there are and how much changing the theme can improve a blog 🙂


  6. I am yet to find a theme which best suited to my kind of writings than Twenty Fourteen. I tried many like Misty Lake (considering it for photography blog I am planning to start next year ) and the newly born Museum theme (another great one for photography) but so far there is nothing better than my current theme.


  7. After about a year of figuring out what ‘sort’ of blog I had with (with limited but growing audience who loves vintage British domestic fiction) I decided just last weekend to give ol’ Margery a facelift. She deserves it, as she is going to be 110 in January… :o) I have been very drawn to the magazine themes, and decided to try a free one first before I upgrade to something really sleek and awesome like Zuki. (not to mention there is a learning curve for me with these magazine themes) I finally chose Expound–even though it was a bit too clinically business looking at first glance, I ‘softened’ it as best I know how at this point. Anyway, happy for now with the new look, and still tweaking it. I must have tried about twenty different test themes over the weekend! But the free selections WordPress has are pretty awesome. Thank you, WP designers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I use Nishita, having transferred from twenty-eleven. Initially, it was all about the words for me, and it still is, but I soon wanted pictures to enhance the experience, and that 768px wide column allowed me to show more detail, more impressively. Now I always illustrate posts, choosing free images to complement my words.


  9. A couple of weeks ago, I switched to Zuki. I was inspired when I saw how Daily Press’ Cheri used it for her personal blog. It doesn’t cost much. It is my first non-free theme … and my fifth since I started in 2012.

    It’s not that one theme is better than another. Many are just subtle tweeks around the edges of a basic structure. Its about whether the theme suits your style and hoped-for readership.

    For example, as an older reader, I’ve decided I prefer larger fonts. As much as I’d love to be accepted by the young and hip (hence the change to Zuki), the reality is older readers may be attracted to this older writer. A theme with larger fonts means they don’t have to fiddle with their device settings.

    Zuki is my next step to improving the quality and use of images on my often wordy blog. There’s still a few posts to fix with an evocative feature image, but I’m loving the process of transitioning.

    Kudos to WordPress for the way the themes are developing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is awesome that you’re using Zuki! I personally love it, and I think it’s my favorite theme I’ve used on so far, over the past seven years. It’s very clean and elegant, but offers so many front page options.


  10. I’ve spent so much time going through themes and trying to find the best one for my blog. Back in September I eventually settled on Hemingway Rewritten after trying out dozens of themes, but then, just last week, I saw the post about the two new themes – Plane and Capoverso – and I really liked Plane so have made the switch. I’ve lost some features I had added (custom menu) so I need to put a bit of time and effort into recreating those, but overall I’m happy with the new look.


  11. I’m a picky person..I like themes with custom feature photo slider in the header.

    I switched from Twenty-Twelve (2nd theme after Misty which was waaay back) which is a good theme, to Sight theme. I’ve been hunting down recent themes with also larger thumbnail feature photo with posts, slightly larger font size, etc.

    There is a time investment to rejiggle my posts’ layout at times. So I need to think. Would love to hear how much time people did invest in this..I know other theme choices there’s little need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just spent the greater part of a weekend on changing my theme. (for my margerysharp blog) I used a test blog to try out a variety of themes, as I was afraid to mess up the real blog, or have the blog on downtime too long. Once I worked out the snafus on the test blog and realized, in incremental steps, what sort of functionality was important to me, finally, on Monday, I switched the chosen theme over. This way the actual switch took very little time in terms of the site not being ‘live’.


      1. I’ve had a private test blog for awhile. Maybe I just don’t fill it up with enough content to do a lot of testing..

        Thanks for sharing!


  12. yes agreed, but in my case its done for my own self, how I would feel blogging at certain theme and what makes me more comfortable , as the theme represent me just as much as what I write

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This has been haunting me all day. I honestly don’t know if it would make a big difference to change my theme. There are things I like about my current theme, Fictive, and others that I question. For instance, I can’t see how a reader would see my “about” page, and I find that’s one of my favorite things to see on other folks’ blogs. I’m so new to this! Argh! Feed back would be greatly appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I personally think content is much more important than a theme. Sure, we get attracted to the look and feel of a blog or website, but rarely stay long enough to read and/or contribute if the content is poor.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I only started my blog about 6 weeks ago and it has morphed into a fairly photography-based blog so I am definitely thinking of changing to a more image-rich theme. How much downtime do you experience while making the change? Or is there a way to keep the changes private until you’re satisfied with the final look?
    Thanks, I’m loving it here 😄


  16. I recently switched my Write Through It blog from Typo to Hemingway Rewritten. I liked Typo, not least because this blog is about writing and editing, but the lack of sidebars got more and more frustrating, and the Comments link was so unobtrusive that many of my visitors couldn’t find it. I narrowed my theme search down to six or seven good options, any of which would have worked fine, all of which were free. (The premium themes are tempting, but I don’t need fancy — and I’m cheap.) For my older blog, about year-round Martha’s Vineyard, I’ve been very happy with Twenty Ten since I launched it, but who knows? Maybe I’ll try something different one of these days.


  17. I used to change my themes pretty often, but back in August I finally settled on Zoren, which I love! I think it also helped that I took your advice on using PicMonkey to customize my header. I love the personal and unique touch that it adds to my blog. 🙂


  18. I’m not even sure what theme I use! I joined WordPress in a fog and just clicked on something free. It seems to work for me. But I wonder when I see these posts, Should I change my theme? Which would I pick?

    Any suggestions? I like simple.


  19. From the time I have joined wordpress I have not stayed on one theme.Mind you I am just one and a half month old and I have tried dozens of themes already.They are all amazing..!! penscratch,hemingway rewritten,hero superhero,hexa-these are some of the themes I tried. My latest theme is VISUAL and Now I believe I have got the theme I wanted.