Have you seen the TV show “House Hunters” (on HGTV)?

It’s about home buyers who choose a new house (edited down to three for the show). At the end they say why they picked the one they did. Fast forward a few months, and the show concludes with the homeowners in their newly decorated house. It’s one of the shows that doesn’t need your complete attention, but I like to watch the ending (for decorating ideas).

Today’s Lesson

Blogs are much like that.

I remember when I was picking out a blog theme/template. I couldn’t decided, so I picked a simple one. Shortly thereafter, I changed it. Then I changed it again, and again, and again…. It’s a good thing they were free. πŸ™‚

It was a tough decision. Did I want two columns or three? A picture in the header, or not? What color did I want? What size font did it have? I felt like a home buyer trying to find “my dream house”.

With our blogs being “our home in blogosphere”, we want them to be “just right”; a reflection of who we are. We decorate the header, footer, sidebars, add pictures, podcasts, Flickr photo streams and more. We then open our “front door” and invite people in.

The “decorating” process is actually never ending, and like in the real world, we sometimes move (to another theme).

I often look at a blog and wonder why the author chose their theme? Was it the color? The format? The ease of use? Is this truly a reflection of the author?

When I think back, I picked themes because they reflected my thoughts/feelings at THAT point in time.

For my Observation Mountain blog, I tried every theme that had mountains on it. For this one, I tried some with typewriters (anyone remember those?).

Now, both blogs have been simplified, reflecting how I strive to live my personal life.

Soon, I’ll be moving again (to a new theme), but it too, will be simple.

Today’s Assignment

Why did you choose the theme you’re currently using?

Have you ever changed your theme?

Will you be “moving” soon?

As a reminder, tomorrow will be the second edition of my Monthly Mini Meme (MMM). Think of a random fact about yourself you would like to share with the BWAB community in tomorrows comment section

Photo Credit: decor8’s photostream

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  1. veredNo Gravatar says:

    I wanted a theme that was clean and simple, yet pretty and decidedly feminine. I paid the theme designer a very small amount to adjust the theme so that it was just right. I like it, and don’t plan on moving. πŸ™‚

    vereds last blog post..Oops. I Accidentally Got Involved In a Blogging War

  2. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    I chose my theme (2 weeks ago), because I liked the simplistic feel of the illustration. It is mellow and has an element of mystery.

    I chose to start blogging in a hurry cause I’m an impatient Aries (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and may move in the future to a self-hosted site…. once I figure out what I’m doing here in the first place — ha, ha.

    Davinas last blog post..Hello My Friend

  3. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    My decorating process was that I surfed the blogosphere for months and bookmarked designs I really liked. What I found was that for my blog, as in life, my preference is “simple but elegant.”

    I’m not sure the elegant part is in my blog design, but I am happy with the clean, simple yet warm feeling in my blog home. I paid a designer to create it because I am very non-tech-ie (so far).

    I definitely won’t be moving for a long time, since I just moved in. The paint’s still wet.

    I’d love to spruce up the exterior of my home, but I cannot seem to upload photos onto my blog (WP 2.5). Can anyone help? I keep getting an error message “Specified file failed upload test.” when I put the file name in. Checked size, and it doesn’t seem to be too wide (< 500 pixels). WP Help Forum is way too technical for me to get an answer from.

    Don’t watch decorating on TV, Barbara, but many of my friends are hooked on all the HGTV shows.

    Linda Abbits last blog post..Inspiring Quotes for Caregivers

  4. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Vered,

    I like the purple circles on your blog, and how the same color is integrated throughout your site. It is feminine, but not too girly girly.

    Hi Davina,

    I like the “softness” of your theme. It matches perfectly with the name “Loving Pulse”

    Take your time and enjoy the journey.

    Hi Linda Abbit,

    You do have a clean design. I also like the photos you incorporated into the header. Is that a photo of your Mom?

    I like that…”the paint’s still wet”. πŸ™‚

    Re: the photos. What are you using to upload them? The “Add Media/Add an Image” button?

    I have to agree, some of those WP forums are very techy.

  5. Avani-MehtaNo Gravatar says:

    I was on a lookout for a theme which is simple but not dry/boring, shows up lot of links to my posts, helps me give prominence to some posts as desired and gives space to add a number of widgets. Later on, being able to understand code became a priority as well. And this theme fit the bill.

    @Linda: I haven’t tried wordpress’ add media / image button. Since you already have a hosting place, why don’t you upload images there and give path to file in your code.

    Simply put, upload images to wp-content/uploads. You will be able to access image with sitename/wp-content/uploads/imagename

    Hope this helps. Feel free to ping me if you need help with this.

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Lifetime of Relationships

  6. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i like my theme because of the colors and it’s simple. I have been thinking about getting a 3 column to put more stuff on there, that I probably don’t need. I try to stay away from busy. The theme I have now is my second one. Nobody was reading (commenting on) my blog but my friends on the first theme, so does the first them really count if no one commented? i don’t know.

    looking forward to your new them.

    Naturals last blog post..Houston, We May Still Have A Problem?

  7. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    looking forward to your new theme, not them.

    Naturals last blog post..Houston, We May Still Have A Problem?

  8. My blog’s theme is the result of a long search & effort to find the right combination and “feel” for my ‘cafe’.

    It’s still not my “ideal” design but I couldn’t let the search drag on, and I wasn’t willing to learn code or hire someone to design something special – I wanted to move forward and write, and I’m glad I did.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..The Power of Questions

  9. Hi, Barbara. What’s a “typewriter?” Is that some new gadget from Apple? No, just kidding, I have a vague memory of using one before.

    I just wanted to get my blog started quickly, and I was overwhelmed by all the choices. So I just left it on the default (Kubrick) and made some tweaks. Later, I hired someone to make a banner.

  10. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: The theme I have now is a free wordpress theme which I like because it’s very simple and clean. What I would like to do soon is add a customized header. Something with flowers and beautiful colors.

    Marelisas last blog post..How to Become a Renaissance Man/Woman

  11. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    Hmm, I always equate changing themes as “redecorating” and “moving” to changing the software that runs the site. Like a new coat of paint, furniture, pictures on the wall… all on top of the old structure. Of course, I’m a big geek and I’m always up to my armpits in code so that’s probably why.

    It’s also why my site in the past had stuff, then disappeared, had more stuff, then disappeared…lol… and now. Yup you guessed it. More stuff. Though I think I’ve settled on my new “house” as it were.

    The theme I picked though was only to cover up the bad wallpaper and shag carpet that came with the house. Ok, it wasn’t THAT bad, but default themes are no fun. I am in the process of rewriting the theme I’m using to be a bit more smooth. The original authors, while doing a fine job, did not use the cleanest or most efficient CSS. The nice thing about the theme though is I have the ability to turn on and off a third column.

    I’ve switched themes around quite a bit, some with slight changes, others not so slight. Generally it’s not a good idea to switch around site layout willy nilly people can get aggravated having to relearn your navigation, and layout. If anyone actual had been visiting my site in the past I’m sure they wouldn’t have come back. πŸ™‚

    Once I finish my new theme I’ll be moving to it, and most likely stick with it. At least for a little while.

    For those of you who like a little variety in your designs, be it a random header, or random blog posts links… check out Lorelle on WordPress. Or a non-plugin solution is to copy your CSS and create new images/colors to use with the new CSS, then when ever you want a little change you can switch the CSS files. Create a new css and images for your favorite holiday, or Tuesdays. It’s a treat for your visitors, and you. For inspiration and for example, check out CSS Zen Garden, the only difference between each of the designs is the CSS file and images it points to.

    @Davina: Nothing wrong with that, in fact readable content is more important than the worlds most perfect theme. I spent months messing with themes in the past, tweaking them here and there, and not one word written. How many visitors do you think I got? πŸ˜‰

    @Linda Abbit: I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, but it looks like you’re afflicted with the bug fixed with this patch. Basically there’s two files that have an extra comma in them. They are listed in that link, the red highlighted line is what is currently in the file, the green line is what it SHOULD look like. The numbers on the left are the line number in the file. You’ll notice that the difference is a comma. :-/ You can contact me through my website if you need a hand.

    @Mark: Your design is great, I like it a lot. A nice combination of clean lines with colors that make it warm and soften the edges. The use of the images in the post is great too.

    hyrcans last blog post..More Than Just A Number

  12. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I designed a logo that I thought would work. Other than that, I didn’t really know what to do theme-wise. I played with a few but I have actually only had two themes in the two years I’ve been blogging.

    I knew early on that I didn’t like my first theme. But I like my current one. It isn’t much but it works and I like it. I don’t think I will move to a new theme anytime soon.

    Chase Marchs last blog post..Just Plain Idiotic

  13. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    I love the overall blend of colors in my theme as well as a couple of the unique touches. Plus, it just feels streamlined and simple to me. However, since it’s a standard (and heavily downloaded) theme, I’ll be making a change at some point.

    I’m really excited to have something more unique in the future, but I want to be certain of what I need before I commit to a change. New or old, the bottom line for my blog is that it’s got to be clean, simple, and beyond easy for readers to parse.

    Saras last blog post..Weekly Links: Company’s Coming

  14. I chose my theme (a free wordpress.com theme) because of the color scheme and the floral motif at the top. I wish you could read the tagline more easily. I didn’t even know there was a difference between free sites and self-hosted sites at the time.

    Two things I like about my theme: the copy is on a white background making it easy to read; and I never see it around anywhere.

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..I Forgot and I’m Sorry

  15. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    @Ann: I really love that theme, I’m partial to rounded corners. “Organic” designs are much easier on the eye, as long as it’s doesn’t make it hard to read the content that is. And the “Rounded” theme does a good job at that.

    For your tag line, you could create a new image to replace the blue circle and upload it, and then go to Design > Edit CSS and add at the bottom:

    #masthead h2 { background: url(URL-TO-IMAGE) no-repeat; }

    You could add a light blue…or green box with rounded corners to be a back ground to the tag line. It’ll need to be about 310px wide by 36px high. Or you could just increase the font size of the above CSS, 12px -is- pretty small.

    Ok, enough out of me…Heh, I should get back to work πŸ˜‰

    hyrcans last blog post..More Than Just A Number

  16. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I have chopped and changed themes heaps. Unlike you, I’m hopeless at design so in the end I got Men With Pens to come up with something more memorable for me.

    Even if you have a good theme, I think it should still be revamped at least once a year though.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Question and Answer Time

  17. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I like a simple theme, one that’s not too cluttered. When I was setting it up, I spent some time (more than planned) trying themes, and struggling with a “look” that I liked. I like how what I have looks and feels, yet I still feel that it needs to be tweaked. But aren’t our homes like that too? Blogs – I consider them a work in progress (both in content and design). Actually, I consider the internet a work in progress. And being a part of that is exciting!

  18. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Oh how exciting! I can’t wait to see your new “home” although I REALLY like this home. I like it’s clean, simplistic feel. The anticipation is too much.

    I chose my theme after looking at hundreds of themes. It had to reflect the intent of my blog/site and me. I was going for the relaxed bookstore/coffee shop feel so everyone could come in and relax and feel welcome. I love my theme. There’s a few things I would change about it, but I love it overall. I’ll probably change themes one day, but not now.

    Vared, I really like your theme! It just makes me smile for some reason.

  19. I think your theme, Barbara, is refreshing. In that it is simple, yes, but it is also inviting and pleasant.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Making People Feel Appreciated can Make You Rich

  20. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    Mine was always intended to be a temporary solution. But I’m an extremely picky perfectionist, and I go for uncluttered, simple designs. So I have tried really hard even with my temporary home to have it reflect my personality and my style.

    I am planning on moving soon – my husband is a web developer actually, and is about to launch a new CMS. πŸ™‚ So we’ll be moving my entire blog over from the free blogger system to his system, and renovate the look of it too.

    I have my new look all planned out in my head already. Just waiting for my hubby to make my dreams a reality! πŸ™‚

  21. sterlingNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I think one of the fun aspects about having a website or blog is that you can “remodel” whenever you want and it’s easy to switch back and forth between different themes.

    I like your current theme, and I’m curious to see what your new theme will look like.

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Avani,

    Ah ha…you’ve made some changes. πŸ™‚ It looks great, and is easy to read.

    Hi Natural,

    I know the feeling, I didn’t get comments on some of mine either, but I attributed that to my blog being so new.

    Either that or readers thought they were on the wrong site?

    Hi Mark,

    I really like your theme. It matches the name of your blog so well. When I visit you, I feel like I’m in a cafe. πŸ™‚

    Hi Hunter,

    No, we don’t see typewriters very often anymore. I still have one and use it for some preprinted forms that need to be typed.

    The choices are overwhelming, aren’t they?

    I like your new header, with the silver/chrome. It looks sharp.

    Hi Marelisa,

    Like you, I would like to customize my header. One day I may take the time to learn how to do that.

    Hi Hyrcan,

    You’ve become our resident “geek” (that’s a compliment πŸ™‚ ). You are filed with so much information and provide great links to helpful sites. I like that.

    I checked out the CSS Zen Garden. So many beautiful works of “CSS”. And Lorelle, well hers is a site I frequent often. She shares so much information about WordPress.

    Hi Chase,

    I like the originality of your theme. I like how you have the pen positioned so it looks like you just wrote your name. That was a great idea.

    Hi Sara,

    I also like the colors in your theme. They’re easy on the eye and your blog is simple to navigate.

    Hi Ann,

    The first thing that struck me when I landed on your site was the brown. Since it’s one of my favorite colors to decorate with, I instantly liked it. The bright green in the sidebar is a nice compliment.

    Like Hyrcan, I also like the rounded corners.

    Hi Catherine,

    Your new theme with the chrome is beautiful. I especially like the RSS button. πŸ™‚

    I’m not very proficient at design, but I do like to play with different themes.

    Hi Lance,

    Your theme is very suitable for your blog. I also like your tag line.

    You’re right. Blogs, as well as the internet is a work in progress.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I LOVE the photo you have in your header. It is so beautiful. Every time I visit you, I sit and stare at it.

    The light yellow background is also very soothing.

    Re: my new theme. I’m still playing with it, and have a lot to do, and only work on it when I have free (?) time, so it may take awhile before I go public with it.

    Hi Bamboo Forest,

    Thank you!

    I see you’ve made some color changes to your theme. It looks good. You’re site looks playful. πŸ™‚

    Hi Sarah with an “h’,

    I laugh at your header. All of those bananas stacked up in front of the building.

    How fortunate you are to have a husband who can do the backend stuff and design for you.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your new home.

    Hi Sterling,

    You’ve not only changed your theme, but your avatar as well. Both are looking mighty “handsome”. πŸ™‚

    I agree, it is a lot of fun to “remodel” our sites.

  23. Ellen WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I choose my theme because I could add my own photo to the header. I wanted to personalize it as much as possible and don’t know any coding, so this is as good as I could get.

    My template came with widgets, and at the time I didn’t know anything about widgets, but boy, I am sure happy to have these little handy dandy things now!

    I like it for now, but I understand what you are saying. I think in the future I will shop around for a 3 column layout. Right now I have been playing around with plugins (probably too much!) but I’m always learning and I like that.

    I can’t wait to see what you do with your blog!

    Ellen Wilsons last blog post..Brevity is Best for Blogs

  24. Hello Barbara. I chose my theme for same reasons others chose theirs . . . simplicity, but I also wanted it to match the rest of my website and not look like the “CEO’s blog” over at Bluehost. His is boring, unimaginitive, and reflects in no way his company.

    My bare bones template was a bit dry and boring though.

    I knew one thing, I wanted an attractive website. One that you feel almost like you’re on the Disneyland ride “Star Tours” or something (i.e. a little futuristic).

    I have recently looked into other themes because I’d really like a 3 column, but in the end I think the overall look and consistency my blog has with the rest of my site is more important. So I won’t be moving soon.

    We’re all looking forward to seeing your new home.

  25. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ellen,

    With you being a photographer, in addition to being a writer, having a header you can change (easily) is ideal. You can showcase your beautiful pictures not only in the posts, but in the header as well. How cool!

    Having widgets sure is a big help if we don’t want to mess with HTML. Plugins are great additions, too.

  26. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I wanted a theme that was simple and neat. I don’t like looking at clutter. Yes, I will be moving soon but it’s not a complete departure from my current theme. I’m changing because I just want my theme to be more user friendly for me.

    I’ve learned so much from your blog that I want to implement that things that I’ve learned. Unfortunately, with my current theme, this will not be possible. So on to a new and improved albeit still modest blog home.

    chriss last blog post..What Is America?

  27. phyllisNo Gravatar says:

    i really wanted a 3 column theme and there wasn’t a “standard” blogger 3-column option. i also wasn’t sure i wanted to pay for one. i looked all over for “free blogger template 3-column” until i found the one i’m using, and then tweaked a few things about it, including my header and i try to change up the background color pretty regularly. even with 3 columns, i think it’s not too cluttery, i try really hard to not leave it static but to change it regularly. i consider looking for a designer but i haven’t yet found anything that i would like to switch to that is worth paying for yet. maybe someday….

    phylliss last blog post..Why Send Your Kids to Jewish Summer Camp?

  28. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, my first theme was a river with trees in winter and then I started hunting around for another one after two months. One for a change in the theme and I wanted 3 columns. Once I saw it, I knew it was THE one! I like what I have for now and don’t believe I will be changing anytime soon!

    Lindas last blog post..Hijacking Trash Can Make You Rich!

  29. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John,

    I do like how all of the pages on your site match. It would look odd if your blog was 3 column and the rest was 2 column.

    Consistency does count.

    Hi Chris,

    Yes, if our theme isn’t easy for us to navigate, that only makes our blogging experience more difficult.

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing your renovations.

    Hi Phyllis,

    It’s great to see you here. πŸ™‚

    A three column theme does give us more room to “play” , and changing things definitely keeps it from looking static.

    I like your header with all the Crocs lined up.

    Hi Linda,

    I remember the river w/trees one. That was a beautiful picture, but I agree, your new one suits your topic of “green” a lot better.

  30. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Sorry to have to take up space re my “re-decorating” problem, but it’s the easiest way to get back to everybody here who has been so helpful. I did try the Add media/add image buttons, to answer your query, and that’s when the error message appears. Also thank you for fixing the CommentLuv plug-in to accommodate my long domain name. πŸ™‚

    @ Avani-Mehta — Thanks, but what you’re saying is Greek to me! I appreciate your effort to help however!

    @ Hyrcan — Thanks for the patch! I already have a list of Q’s for my designer, so I think I will copy & paste your info and link into my next email to her and let her attack this. Code terrifies me! I probably need to get over that, huh? I don’t even know how to find the code from the Dashboard.

    I can’t wait to look at all of your blog homes later tonight when I get some down time.

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Linda Abbit,

    Not a problem. With the helpfulness that’s shown by those in the BWAB community, I don’t mind having my comment section be the “meeting place”.

    Sometime in the future I’d like to add a forum. So those that think that would be helpful and something they would use, please feel free to speak up. πŸ™‚

  32. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I’d vote Yes!! to a Forum & bet many others will too. Great idea!

    @ John Hoff – I looked at the plugin, but it is way over my non-techhie head. Thanks for trying to help out! I’ll add it to the email to my designer/tech guru however.

    Linda Abbits last blog post..Inspiring Quotes for Caregivers

  33. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t changed my theme since really going public but I’m figuring out new things all the time!

    Like I just figured out how to add to my blogroll.- You’re my one and only star for the time being.

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Flowering Trees are Oh So Pretty

  34. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    You are soooo sweet. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    Ironically, I just left your blog. I like your two new posts.

    I love the photo in your header, plus the Flickr pictures you share of your beautiful family. I think your blog looks great.

    It takes time to figure everything out, so just enjoy the learning process.

  35. Like you, I very much prefer simple designs…lots of white space. I don’t like gaudy headers and will only put a bold one up, if I don’t intend to publish that many images along with my posts.

    I find changing themes very tiresome and would prefer not to. Good luck to your next one. Looking forward to seeing it!


    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..How To Multiply The Energy Behind Focused Attention

  36. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Changing themes can be time consuming, but when I started blogging, it was fun to experiment. Plus it gave me a chance to learn more behind the scenes. I do realize some would find it quite daunting and/or a waste of time.

  37. It is very difficult making these decisions, that is why I hired Scott Pooler @ iBusinessLogic.com to redesign mine (www.raleighfencecontractors.com) it is still in the process of design (choosing colors, where to place ads, etc…) but I am excited to see the completed product and start blogging on it!
    I hope to enjoy the finished product (really I hope the readers do) so much, I won’t ever want to move (change).

    Keith Bloemendaals last blog post..Aluminum Fences Installed In Raleigh, NC. by Carolina Custom Fences, LLC.

  38. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Keith,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    When you put that much time and money into a site, I’m sure you want it right the first time, as moving could get expensive.

  39. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    “Its Simple and neat” thats the only reason why i like my current theme. me too have spent weeks on searching great theme for my 1st blog (I have tried almost all free themes of http://www.dailyblogtips.com and dont know how many other. but at last i found this one by Jamie Carter. i liked it as soon as i saw it(Love at 1st site πŸ™‚ ) and am not planing to change it (will be upgrading it though)

    Sunil Pathaks last blog post..How Do You Convert Your One Time Visitor Into A Loyal Reader?

  40. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sunil,

    Isn’t it great when we see a theme and say “that’s it”.

    I like yours too. It’s neat and simple, and easy to navigate. In other words, it’s perfect. πŸ™‚