How to find the perfect theme for your blog

Finding a theme is as important as choosing a name for your site. Once you pick a design or presentation for your site, it becomes your identity and you generally don’t change it. Every blogger wants to have a perfect theme for his blog. Here is how I located my perfect theme.

  • Find a good theme site. Sites that have a large pool of categorized themes will save you a lot of time. The official theme site does a good job in this respect.
  • Know your personal preferences. Limit the pool of themes by deciding the color scheme, number of columns, and sidebar positions for your blog. Some features like widget and plugin support should also be considered. I like themes with clear and decent design, and avoid the themes that obscure the contents. Use filters on the theme site to narrow download your selections.
  • Test the themes on your blog. You can preview and test run the themes, but the first impression is often deceptive. You need to test them one by one on your blog. Here is the steps I took to quicken the process:
    • Let your browser automatically download the theme files when you click on a download link.
    • Use Winrar to extract all the theme files in a batch.
    • Use a FTP client to upload the theme folder to your site. C-Panel is just too weak for mass uploading.

    Some themes look great, but they may not have the features you want. For example, some themes do not support widgets and this is a big minus.

  • Meet the designer. After picking out your favorite themes, visit the site of the designers and see how the theme is maintained. Some designers may no longer maintain the theme, and some don’t bother to answer the questions.

After testing about 50 themes one by one on my blog, I finally picked dkret

and I must say it is just perfect for me. It has the right font size, good widgets and plugin support, and the general design is just elegant! There are other themes that had my attention in my quest for perfect themes: Complicated (by a French, a bit out-dated), CypherFS Bliss, Clasikue, Estila, Soft White, Conestogastreet and fHeaavn.

How to create your own website

Setting up a website turned out easier than I had imaged, and you can also create your cyberspace foothold in a day or two.This is how I set up this website and had it operational in two days.

1. Register a domain name. Get a domain name from the registrars you like. Mine is godaddy. Don’t use the “free domain” of the web hosting companies, because you have more control over your domain with dedicated registrars.

2. Find a web hosting company to hose your site. Don’t just choose the one that advertises bigger space or more bandwidth.

  • Use Google Blog search to find the personal account of the hosting companies. Avoid the promotional pages.
  • Ask the opinions of the bloggers and let them recommend a company to you. I pinned down mine in this post. WordPress site also has a list of the top five hosting companies, but I got conflicting reviews from the users of Dreamhost, which is listed as top.
  • For bloggers in mainland China, use Google Blog search in Chinese to see if certain hosting companies are blocked or have a slow connection speed from the Mainland.

3. Contact the customer service of the hosting company. You need to know the quality of its service before you buy it. I chose Hostmonster because their live chat service operates even at small hours. My experience with their phone service is also good.

4. Direct your domain name to your website. In your registrar’s control panel, fill in the name servers of your hosting company. After this step, you can visit your site by typing your domain name in the browser.

5. Build your website. It is actually straightforward and easy. Many hosting company have c-panel which can help you setup a blog or other web service in a few clicks.

Some side notes:

  • Hostmonster and Bluehost are actually one company.
  • I opted for WordPress to blog instead of b2evolution. People say WordPress is simply the best blogging tool.