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WordPress responsive themes

Customize A Blog With WordPress Responsive Theme

When you create a new blog, your blog has to be unique so that it does not get lost in the Blogosphere. It has to be remembered by your readers and it has to be visible not only on your computer but also on the various devices including mobile. To achieve that, the first step is to customize your blog with a free or premium WordPress responsive theme. Then you can tweak it to infuse it with your personality and your voice.

A theme is the backbone of your blog. When you are setting up a blog it is important that you select a theme that is compatible with the mission of your blog. For example, if your blog’s main objective is to sell merchandise, it is important that look over some WordPress ecommerce themes to choose from.

What To Look For In A WordPress Theme

  • The theme has to be responsive
  • It has to be compatible with your blog’s goals
  • It has to be customizable – it has to offer options such as color change, layout (ability to have an option to show or not to show sidebars), option to insert a header or a logo, change font styles and sizes, well developed widget area and so on.
  • It has to be light (as in Megabytes)
  • It has to fit your budget (free or premium)

In this article I will only concentrate on responsive WordPress themes and I’ll show you how to determine if your current theme is responsive. As well, I will point you to the sources of free and premium responsive themes. Also the advantages and disadvantages of free and premium themes will be discussed.

What Is A WordPress Responsive Theme?

The second question I want to answer, why do you need a responsive theme?

A WordPress responsive theme is developed on a flexible foundation with a fluid grid system. As a result, the theme adapts to the size of any device it is viewed on, including mobile. What that means is that your blog will automatically shrink itself to accommodate the device it is displayed on. I’ll show you an example below.

Responsive webdesign has been gathering momentum to keep up with the increasing demand for responsive themes and websites. As the use of small screen devices has becoming more and more popular a non responsive blog will become obsolete.

Whether you are a new blogger or you have blogged for some time, you need to make sure that your blog’s theme is responsive.

How To Check If Your Blog Is Using A Responsive WordPress Theme

It can be easily determined if your blog is responsive straight from your computer. Just drag the right hand side of your browser to the left. As the view of your blog is shrinking, if your site is responsive, you will still be able to read the full text and generally see the images. If your blog is non responsive, as it shrinks you will only be able to see partial text (the left side of it).

Image 1.  WordPress  Responsive Theme Viewed On PC

Canvas Responsive Theme

Canvas Responsive Theme – On PC

Image 2. Responsive WordPress Theme On Mobile

Canvas Responsive Theme On Mobile


Canvas On Mobile

 As you can see from the images above, as the responsive WordPress theme “shrinks” all of the article is “readable”. Also note that even the image of the advertisement (which I embedded in the framework of the theme) also shrinks it’s size to accommodate the small viewing window.

Let’s take a look at a non responsive WordPress theme. The images below represent an example of a non responsive WordPress theme

Image 3. Non Responsive WordPress Theme On PC

Non responsive theme post


Non Responsive WordPress Theme PC View

Image 4. Non Responsive WordPress Theme On Mobile

Non Responsive Them On Mobile Example


Non Responsive Theme On Mobile

 Notice that as the website “shrunk” the viewing screen only displays a partial view of the post.

The second important consideration is whether you will choose a free or premium WordPress responsive theme.

Free Responsive WordPress Themes

One place to look at for free themes is wordpress.org which offers thousands of free themes. Once there, click on Themes and that will bring you to a search page. In the search window input “responsive” and you will get a list of free WordPress responsive themes.

Find Free Responsive WordPress Themes


Find Free Responsive WordPress Themes

Once you have a list of the themes check them over, find out what options are offered and see how support handles issues with the theme. All this can be found out once you click on the responsive theme of your choice.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Free WordPress Responsive Themes

1. Advantages

  • Price – they are free

2. Disadvantages

  • May include inefficient coding may slow down your site considerably
  • May not be search engine optimized
  • May not be compatible with all browsers
  • Support may be lacking
  • May not be updated regularly to keep up with WordPress changes and new trends
  • Sometimes they are a ploy to get you to buy a premium theme and if you do upgrade you may lose all options you set out on your free theme (a good example of this issue is the “Responsive Theme” by cyberchimp – read the forum if you are interested, I was quite disappointed by the responses of the developer)

Premium Responsive WordPress Themes

I am a proponent of premium themes. I suggest that unless you are very sure of the developer of a free theme (you really have to do your due diligence) before you start using. If the purpose of your blogging is long term online business go with a premium theme from an established theme development company. The initial investment will really pay off  and it will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

There are many companies that offer premium themes, but just like when you are searching for free themes you have to do your own due diligence. Once you are satisfied with the reputation of the developer choose  a theme that is compatible with the mission of your blog.

Word of caution! Just because a theme is a premium theme it does not mean that it is WordPress responsive theme, even in today’s world. Not all developers have caught up with 21st century.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Premium WordPress Themes

1. Advantages

  • Frequently updated to accommodate WordPress changes and new trends
  • Great support
  • Search engine optimized
  • Premium features

2. Disadvantages

  • Price – may range anywhere from $30.00 to over $100.00
  • Some excellent premium themes are quite technically challenging

In this article I will suggest 3 developers based on my experience and on the experience of other successful bloggers.

1. Woothemes (Woo themes) – Blogging Spree uses Canvas responsive WordPress theme by this company because the theme is easy to use and is very versatile. They also offer other responsive themes geared towards other business types. I primarily use Canvas theme because the theme was not technically challenging to set up and because the support is first class. As well, I have tried different premium themes that were not technically challenging (not mentioned here) but over time I found that Canvas offers the best features and options for my blog.

2. Thesis by DIYthemes – much loved theme by thousands of bloggers. I would love to use Thesis but unfortunately to set it up requires fairly substantial technical knowledge and that is way above the level of my techie comfort. If you don’t mind some technical challenges or if you can hire someone to set it up for you, this theme is really one of the best.

3. Studio Press – Offers great themes on the Genesis Framework. This is another often used and loved theme/framework company. I have not experimented with this one, because when I was ready to purchase  they did not have a theme compatible with my blog’s objectives.

There are other great companies that offer premium responsive WordPress themes. I have not explored them all. However, when I was searching for a theme I contacted a number of these businesses and some never even answered my support question.

When you are considering a company, write them and ask them a few questions. See how fast you will receive an answer and also watch for the tone of the answer. Remember, when you purchase a theme you are likely going to use it for a long time. Inevitably you will encounter some glitches you may not know how to solve yourself. For that reason, the support must be top notch!

To conclude, I hope this article gave you some food for thought with respect to using a WordPress responsive theme on your blog. You really have to use one if you don’t want your blog to become obsolete in this gadget loving world. As well if you do not use a responsive WordPress theme you are missing out on thousands of potential visitors. I put together a small “gallery” of responsive WordPress themes used by other bloggers (click here to read…)

Please leave a comment and click on Like if you found this post helpful. Thanks.

 

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14 Responses to Customize A Blog With WordPress Responsive Theme

  1. Tracy February 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks DIta for this other beautiful post about responsive themes. THe world now is on the move and people favor phones and tablet to pcs, so having a responsive theme would help you get even the ones on phones
    Tracy recently posted…By: TracyMy Profile

  2. mayank January 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Thank for this great post but need to ask that does how minify javascript ads as i am aslo running my site which provide free themes but site loaded so slow becoz of javascript ads.
    mayank recently posted…Core Scanner v1.55 add-on for Security Ninja DownloadMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine January 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Mayank, I am not a techie person and minifying javascripts is beyond my knowledge. A good place would be Warrior forum and post your question in the webmaster or the other technical sections.
      Dita Irvine recently posted…How To Protect Your Blog From Botnet HackersMy Profile

  3. Joy Healey March 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Hi Dita

    Well – there’s something new I’ve learned. Had heard the term, but no idea what it meant.

    Another job on this list LOL

    But better sooner than not being aware.

    Thanks for the info, Joy

  4. Kari March 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I have not given much thought to a responsive theme. I have no idea why. But you can bet I will now! 😉

    I use Precisio Pro from Theme4press for a few of my blogs, but I have been having a heck of a time with some glitches in that theme. In fact, I no longer use that theme on new blogs.

    I think that as soon as I can do it, I will have to buy all the themes on Studio Press. I see a lot of themes that I would love to play with. For $300, that’s a pretty good deal. Especially for someone who has a lot of different niche blogs.
    Kari recently posted…Stick To A Daily Schedule And Be Happy?My Profile

  5. Barry McKillip March 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Hey Dita,

    This was a really great post. I would think everyone should read this and learn what to be looking for when picking a theme for their blog.You definitely want to make sure your theme is responsive for your needs.

  6. Paul Henderson March 12, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    Hi Dita,

    that’s a very interesting post, and I too didn’t know enough about it to realise these themes even existed. Not without their problems though from what David is saying.

    Thanks for the info. I now know something I didn’t before lunch

    All the best Dita,

    Paul 🙂
    Paul Henderson recently posted…List Building Basics – Part 2My Profile

  7. Daver E Wilkes March 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi Dita
    What a great topic.But you’ve got me puzzled.

    I thought my site was responsive because I had checked it on my android phone… but when I dragged my browser across the screen, when the width was approximately halfway across then my site started to be cut off.

    Then I looked for a WordPress plugin in that claimed to transform static websites into responsive ones.

    I opted for WPTouch. and installed it

    As you may guess , the appearance of my site changed when viewed on my android, but when I did the “narrowing the screen” test, the screen image still got cut off.

    Dita, would I need to find a theme that is responsive instead of trying different plugins?

    Thank you for your post. It has certainly alerted me to something that needs attending to.
    Daver E Wilkes recently posted…Home Remedies For Back Pain – What Not To DoMy Profile

    • Dita March 12, 2013 at 12:37 am #

      Hi Dave,

      That is very interesting. Believe it or not I do not have an iphone or any mobile gadget because I live in a small community with black holes and also because the building where I live is very old and all of the inside is clad with tin (used to be popular in late 18 hundreds). I was having an issue with cell phones as in no signal so I gave it up until I’ll move back to civilization.

      So back to your question. We had a discussion once with Jason Fladien’s group looking at a plugin he developed and at that time he was checking responsiveness of videos by shifting the browser. I believe that this is a way to check it if the site is responsive.

      I am enclosing here a non responsive website from woo themes. Check it in your browser and then check it on your android. Let me know how it works.

      http://demo.woothemes.com/?name=teamster

      Best regards,

      Dita
      Dita recently posted…Customize A Blog With WordPress Responsive ThemeMy Profile

      • Dave E Wilkes March 12, 2013 at 3:25 am #

        Hi Dita

        Thanks for that.

        The unresponsive Woo theme behaves the same as mine when puling the browser window across.
        But mine fits and looks better on my mobile

        How strange.

        I guess you have gotten used to not having a mobile phone in the community you are in now?

        We live in the countryside of southern Spain and when we first moved here the mobile signal was very hit and miss, but with general improvements and modernisation we now get a very good signal.

        I think (no, that isn’t correct) I WOULD find it very difficult to live without my phone.

        I can remember the words of a song that was popular a few years back. It was about homeless people, and the song went…

        “I couldn’t live without my phone you you can live without a home”

        It isn’t quite that bad for me but I can relate to the sentiment of the song.
        Dave E Wilkes recently posted…Home Remedies For Back Pain – What Not To DoMy Profile

        • Dita March 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

          You are funny Dave,

          I am telling you I was pretty distressed when I realized that the phone was not working. The problem is that it is not working in my building. I should check again maybe things have changed.

          But I am used to it now.

          It is funny to see people constantly using their mobiles. I was at a auction not very long ago. There were a lot of conservative Mennonites in that community. They do not drive cars, do not have a phone, electricity or even plumbing in their homes.

          As the auction was going on I noticed one conservative 50ish Mennonite woman (who arrived in horse and buggy) chatting on a cell phone. I guess it does not count as ungodly. I wish I had a cell phone to take a picture of it as it was priceless.

          Cheers,

          Dita
          Dita recently posted…Niche Blogging – Magic Bullet Of BloggingMy Profile

          • Dave E Wilkes March 13, 2013 at 5:05 am #

            We don’t have mennonites living here is Spain but I do know about them.

            The rosy eyed view of their lives is that it is so tranquil and peaceful but I would think that real life is very hard – living without modern conveniences.

            Although, as you saw, things are changing as they realise that life has to move on.

            That photograph would have been priceless.

            Yes, things may have changed now and maybe you can get a crystal clear a connection even in the inner depths of your building (or maybe not)
            Dave E Wilkes recently posted…How To Feel Better About Yourself Even When You Don’t Want ToMy Profile

  8. Phil March 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Nice post Dita,

    I had not realized that such themes existed although I generally use a plugin for mobile support. As you have highlighted using a responsive theme is much more convenient.

    I’m a big fan of Woo themes and Thesis as you have pointed out is also very much recommended.

    Regards

    Phil
    Phil recently posted…Tracking Google Keyword Ranking with Market SamuraiMy Profile

    • Dita March 12, 2013 at 12:41 am #

      Hi Phil,

      I would love to use Thesis but I just find it too technical. I am sure I could learn but right now I am happy with Woo Themes.

      Which theme are you using now?

      Have great day,

      Dita
      Dita recently posted…Customize A Blog With WordPress Responsive ThemeMy Profile