Choosing and activating your theme

Next we will move on to customization – How to make your private journaling blog personal and appealing to you so that you will want to visit it regularly to write in it? There will be 3 posts in the series on customizing your blog.

More than 10 years ago, when I started my first blog, I gave up soon enough because I was not well versed at using a computer and was discouraged because I couldn’t get past this stage. I would say that I can easily customize any new WordPress.com blog to my liking through experimentation now.

These are the 3 posts in the series on customizing your blog –

  1. Choosing and activating your theme (This post!)
  2. Editing and changing your header image
  3. Menus and recommended widgets

I had created another private blog, Now your second blog, using the same account to use as illustration purposes in this blog.

Before you start to explore and choose a theme for your blog, it’s good to have some knowledge about the anatomy of a blog.

From this image provided by buildinternet.com below, you can see that a blog consists of the parts – header, main content, sidebar (or sidebars) and a footer. If the blog has one sidebar like this one in the image, you can call it a 2 columned blog (including the main content column). With 2 sidebars, it is a 3 columned blog.

I will recommend a 3 columned blog to accommodate more widgets at the eye level. However, a 2 columned blog will do just fine.

22-anatomy-of-a-blog

Now to get started on exploring and choosing a theme for your blog , when you log in to your account through the login page, click “My Site(s)” on your top left corner to go to the menu in your homepage –

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After this, scroll down and click on “Themes”. Do not click on “Customize”.

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You’ll come to this page with all the themes. Click on the small arrow then click on “Free” for all the themes that are available for free. Now you can explore all the free themes to see which one you like for your blog.

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As not all the themes come with the same features, you may want to take some time to explore which theme you like best.

To narrow down the themes, you can search for key words in the search box. When I typed in “2 columns”, I am left with 8 themes which reappear.

If you like the theme, Colinear (I have activated Colinear as the theme for this blog – Secret place blogging), you can click on it and more information about it will appear.

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Information about the theme is provided under “Overview”. You can scroll down and read some of them.

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If you want to see how your blog contents will appear like in the theme, click on “Open live demo”.

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To experiment and see how your contents will look like on the theme with its features, click on “Try & customize” to go to the customizer page (Customizer).

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Try clicking on the tabs “Colors & backgrounds” and “Fonts”.

Under “Colors & backgrounds”, you can experiment how your blog contents will appear under a different palette color.

Likewise under “Fonts”, you can also experiment how your blog contents will appear under a different font for your headings and base contents.

You may do this again and again in the future after you have put in more contents in your blog by going back to the Customizer. Now just click on “Save & activate” to activate your desired theme for your blog.

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Now you can see that you have activated “Colinear” as your theme. To go back to the Customizer, click on “Customize”.

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Now if you make any change under any of the tab in the Customizer, for example in this case the fonts, remember to click on “Save & publish” at the top left hand corner. We will come to this Customizer very often as we touch on other topics about customizing your blog in the future.

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Remember the image of the anatomy of a blog shown above at the start of this post? Now click on the tab “Theme options”.

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You will see that under “Theme options”, you can alter the anatomy of the blog to make it a 2 columned one with 1 sidebar or a three columned one with 2 sidebars. Remember to click on “Save & publish” on the top left hand corner if you have decided to make any change to the anatomy of your blog. For now, stick to the default – 1 sidebar right. I will refer to it when I talk about the recommended widgets for journaling in my later post.

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Do not worry if you haven’t get the desired look that you want for your blog as you can always customize it in the future when you have more contents. Just explore and activate any theme you like for now.

If you are stuck or have any question, you can type in the search bar to search from the topics at WordPress.com Support Home page; Search the forums or add a new topic and wait for answers at WordPress.com forums.

You can go on to the next post  in the series on customizing your blog – Editing and changing your header image – or return to the page – Get started now.

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