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So, you want to start a blog, huh? Listen, if you Googled anything along the lines of “Should you start a blog,” or “Is blogging a good idea,” you probably found a myriad of “blogging is a terrible idea.”
It’s not. Look, everyone blogs these days. And yes, the way people used to blog—the wonderfully simple way—is over and done. But having a blog where you can point your potential audience, where you can try different messages out—that’s not going anywhere. And if you have a company or little business, people love seeing an active blog (that’s more about helping them than pushing products).
I’ve heard this everywhere, but I’ll say it here, too. You don’t own your social media. You don’t want to put all your stock in one platform that may disappear tomorrow (remember Vine? MySpace?). But you own your blog.
But blogging may seem overwhelming. Because it’s something you own, you’re talking all the options. I mean wow. When I first started my blog in 2013, I read countless articles about how to do it. And I think it wasn’t as crazy then.
While I’m currently working on a large-scale blogging article, I did want to call attention to one of the first things you want to do when starting a blog: choosing a blog theme.
And look, if you just want your own space to share updates about your kids or your study abroad experience, than the free options are the way to go. But if you are looking to make this into a career (yes, that’s still possible), or want to use your blog to reach readers, than I highly suggest putting a little money into it. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of money, as you’ll soon see. A pre-made template will help your budget.
Why You Need a Good Theme for Your Blog
I’ll be the first to admit it, I judge a site by it’s appearance. If it doesn’t look like it’s been updated in even a year (which is why it drives me crazy that my copyright is stuck at the year 2016), I question if it’s still active. And if the site is cheesy and old-fashioned, I wonder if they even care. I know I’m not the only one who looks at a site and judges it. Don’t even get me started with fonts and whitespace.
But here’s the thing. Maybe you’re first starting out and you really want to start a food blog but you’re not a master chef. Or maybe you’re building a product but you don’t have it yet. You’re still building your expertise and your influence, is what I’m saying. Your blog’s appearance will help with the “like, know, and trust” factor. If people like what they see, they’re more likely to stick around and get to know you, even if they didn’t know you before.
My Personal Take on Themes
I’ve been blogging for years. Even before I started this one. But ever since I started this blog, I’ve been using one theme company: Pretty Darn Cute Designs. I know there are a lot of great themes out there, but whenever I’m looking to update the appearance of my blog, I go right to PDCD. I’m now on my third theme from owner Lindsey, that’s how much I love her work. I have to talk myself out of buying a new one every time she releases it.
One day, if I ever get to the point of hiring a web designer, I will do it. I would love something completely customizable, and there are some amazing sites out there these days. But I barely make any money from my little business right now, so every little penny counts.
What I love about Pretty Darn Cute Designs
Purchase Pretty Darn Cute Design
Again, there are a lot of great themes out there, and I encourage you to find what works best for you, because likely you don’t have money for a designer or developer either. But that’s what I love about PDCD. You don’t have to hire anyone.
These themes are feminine
I’m pretty girly, through and through, so this is my type of site. If you want a blog that showcases your portfolio, Lindsey has options. If you want to sell products, Lindsey has options. And if you want to streamline your branding across social media—again, options. And all of them are pretty.
Easy to modify
Each theme comes with various templates and options, and they are easy to change depending on your needs or preference.
Integrates Woo Commerce
If you want your own store, all of the themes will work with the Woo Commerce plug-in on WordPress. And that’s free. Some themes specifically work for an online store, but all of them have the integration.
We’re talking $50 to $75 to own the theme. The older ones are cheaper, and she releases new themes on a regular basis (I’d say a couple times a year. You can tell she doesn’t just throw something together but puts a lot of care into each design).
Possible Full Customization
With my very first theme, I completely changed it up. Color schemes, fonts, layout, you name it. If you’re willing to put in a little effort to coding, you can do just about anything to change the theme and make it your own.
Easy Set Up
Every theme comes with full setup tutorials on the Pretty Darn Cute Designs website. With visuals. And if you want them to do it for you—with a little more customization, I believe—you can purchase an add-on and they’ll set up the site for you in 24 hours for just $99.
The customer service
If you’ve read my Bluehost post, you’ll know that good customer service makes a huge difference for a non-techie like me. If you have any issues while setting up the theme—I should mention that it has to be related to the original theme and not any custom changes—you can send in a ticket and her team will help you fast. They can even go into your site and fix things for you, if you don’t get their explanations (like me).
How to purchase and install
You can buy Pretty Darn Cute Design themes right from her website, but first you want to make sure you have the Genesis Framework. This is an extra purchase, but it allows you to move from theme to theme without trouble. It’s a one-time purchase but with unlimited updates and never-ending support. So while it’s an extra purchase, I’ve always thought it worth the investment (which is only $59).
Read more about Genesis Framework here: Why Genesis is the Foundation of Any Smart WordPress Design
Once you’ve purchased and downloaded the Framework, you can then purchase the PDCD design of your choice. Lindsey has a lot of tutorials for customers on how to set up your theme like the demo, and of course you can always email if you have trouble. But for starters you’ll want to download the zip file and then upload that file to your WordPress site.
Pretty Darn Great
Like I said above, there are plenty of great themes out there, and I want you to find the perfect one for your site. But if you like easy integration, full support without needing a developer, and beautiful design. Pretty Darn Cute Design is the way to go.