It can be tempting to try and build the most complicated site you can – stuffing it full of plug-ins and widgets just because they’re there.
Sometimes though, simple can be better.
Get your message across in a clear and concise fashion unadulterated by flashy gimmicks.
Here’s a little tale that’s worth remembering:
When NASA first started sending astronauts into space, they quickly discovered that the ballpoint pens they took with them wouldn’t work in zero gravity.
To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent over a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that would write in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, and on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300C.
The Russians used a pencil.
The lesson here is: Before you decide to spend loads of time finding the most complex way to achieve something, check whether there’s a simple alternative under your nose.
Before deciding on the layout of your blog, take a good look at the top websites in your particular niche – Their developers will no doubt have experimented to find out what works.
You don’t need to copy them verbatim but there will be ideas you can borrow.
Choosing the right theme is an important first step.
There are literally thousands of themes out there, some are positively ghastly, others are excellent. My advice would be to find a clear, concise theme that’s easy to navigate.
For this blog I’m using an OptimizePress 2.0 theme – I liked the fact that it had clean lines and allowed easy construction of different types of pages, such as landing or opt-in pages.
You don’t need to pay for a theme though – there are loads of clean themes available for free.
Just do a search for ‘Free WordPress Themes’.
Choose a theme that’s relevant to your particular niche. There are loads of industry specific themes for things like car sales, directory listings, auction style sites and so on, however, a good simple theme can be used for almost anything.
If you’re planning to make money from your blog, which I’m sure you are or you wouldn’t be here, treat it as a business . Your site needs to look professional and be appealing to your target audience.
Its a good idea to check the theme for hidden links, especially if it was a freebie. These could point to any manner of unsavoury sites that won’t help your search rankings.
Just take a browse at the html code for each section of your site.
It’s easy enough to do.
Open the appearance editor in your WordPress admin area – links are easy enough to identify by their <a href> prefix.
To be quite honest, if you don’t know what a link looks like you’d be wise to leave this bit well alone.
There are plenty of legitimate links needed to make the theme work – remove one line too many and your blog could well be offline for good!
If you’re not sure, seek some help.
In a later post I’ll be looking at the best plug-ins to use on your site.