Everyday, hundreds of new WordPress blogs get set up on the Internet, and the clear trend today is that more and more of them are by very serious owners who have taken the time to research WordPress and its plug-ins, and have thought carefully about which plug-ins they need to install to make their site sizzle.
But often they don’t succeed in making their blogs sizzle, and it’s because they underestimate the importance of a very powerful plug-in. But before I tell you what it is, I’d like to ask you to keep reading even if the answer shocks you, because it’s truly the one thing you need to set yourself apart from the rest and to make your blog uniquely memorable. The WordPress plug-in I’m referring to is your theme. That’s right. Themes are indeed plug-ins, although most people don’t realize that.
The mistake many — otherwise serious — blog owners make is that they take the easy route and buy a prefab template. It costs them maybe $40, and so they think it’s a good deal. But when you surf around and find out that the popular theme you bought is actually too popular that it’s being used on every other website in your niche, you will understand why prefab themes are anything but a good deal. If you can’t burn your site into your visitors’ memory, they will not remember your site when they’re ready to return to that topic. They will simply search Google again and find someone else’s site. A unique theme — or at least a seemingly unique one, as I will explain later — is the single most effective way to prevent losing repeat visitors.
So what is the solution? Fortunately, there is more than one.
The first is to hire a themer to develop a custom template for you. Some WordPress-powered sites can cost $1,000 to theme, but a $200 custom theme would suffice for many blogs and most blog owners would be very happy with a theme in this price range.
The other option is to continue using prefab themes, but to compensate in a different way: learn basic theming. Surprisingly, this is easier than most people think. Basic theming will enable you to easily make enough small customizations to your prefab theme to reduce the “this blog looks like the last blog I visited” factor that every other blog owner that bought the same template is suffering from.
It surprises most people how little under-the-hood type work a blog owner needs to do to accomplish some very dramatic changes to the look and feel of a prefab theme. And the sad part is that on the freelance networks, many blog owners get taken advantage of. They are often charged $30 for customization work that takes even a very beginner developer only 5 minutes to complete. The sadder part is that many of these customizations are not difficult to complete by even non-technical blog owners, if they only familiarized themselves with basic theming.