If I were to name one thing that could make or break your blog in an instant, it's your blog's theme.
A blog theme is the overall appearance of a blog - where your posts show up, how your side bar looks, where your logo sits, the fonts, the way your page menu works and all the finer little details. Also called a 'template' or 'design', a theme is what enables you to have a drop-down menu, an image slideshow and an interesting footer. It's a whole lot of blog coding, already done for you.
Why is a theme important?
Think of a theme like the packaging of a makeup palette. You could have the best eye shadow formula in the world, but unless you place it in good packaging, it's not going to look appealing and therefore, it won't sell. If you're really good at photography or writing, but you haven't bought a nice theme to package it in, you're selling yourself short.
Here's another way to look at it - you may not be that great at blog photography (just yet), however, if you put what you can do in shiny, great-looking packaging (a new theme)... your work will look better in an instant! It's a great way to grow your following, faster.
It's important to make sure your blog shows up correctly on a mobile device, as Google will penalize you in search rankings if it's not. This is called a Mobile Responsive theme, which means when your blog is viewed on a mobile device, it still shows your theme but in a mobile screen appropriate size. Most themes these days are responsive, however if you can see your entire layout, as it appears on your computer screen, when you look at your blog on your phone, then it isn't.
If you're not feeling confident with your blog, a new theme can almost trick yourself and your readers into believing your blog is better and more professional. It can motivate you to create more content, it makes a great first impression for new readers and it also makes the experience of moving around your blog so much better.
How does it work?
A theme is added to your blog in your blog's control panel, where you have all the coding and other settings (in Blogger it's in the 'Template' section). When you purchase a blog theme from another site, the instant downloadable file will include easy-to-follow instructions on how to set it up for your blog. Some sites even offer installation as part of the price, they may sell it separately or have a video showing you how to do it. If you have the patience, it's not hard to set up yourself.
You can change your blog's theme at any time (and as many times as you want) along your blogging journey. I didn't buy a theme for my blogs until just last year, and in changing over from a default Blogger theme (that I had made so many coding changes to), to a brand new theme made by someone else, surprisingly nothing went wrong!
Most themes are fully customizable, so once you have it installed you should be able to change colours, fonts and add/remove different sections to suit your branding and your blog's needs.
Where can I get one?
Firstly, I have to introduce you to my own blog templates. I've created a selection of feminine, minimalist and stylish designs specifically for Blogger blogs. I offer free installation and a free header design to go with it, so if you're interested, jump on over to my Etsy shop and have a look!
Purchasing a theme for your blog can cost a little bit, but it's so worth it. I truly believe it's one of the best blogging investments you can make and I definitely wish I had bought one (or taught myself how to make them) sooner!