Heisui’s Thoughts: On the search for the perfect blog theme

Heisui's ThoughtsOther

So..I intended for my “Heisui’s Thoughts” series of posts to be more serious but somehow here I am, writing about…..my blog theme.  It’s really deep and exciting, I know.  *sarcasm* 😛

LF

^What it feels like when I try to choose a new theme..*facepalm*

Well, in case you haven’t noticed, I finally changed my blog theme/layout.  I don’t know if it’s just me being overly dramatic or something, but I am really happy about it.  Why is this such a revolutionary moment?  Well I’ve been blogging for a couple years, and during that time I’ve had a grand total of TWO themes.  *gasp*  Oh yes, TWO.  And I’m finally moving onto my third! 

The thing is…I’m really picky when it comes to choosing my blog layout.  There are plenty of new layouts that I like, but then I will notice just ONE feature that is lacking/missing, one thing that I don’t like, and I rule out that theme.    Maybe I’m being too picky, maybe I’m expecting too much from the free themes that are available…but hey, the theme is really the face of your blog and it matters a lot.   Simply changing your theme can do a lot for your blog…I guess you could call it a ‘face-lift’ of some sorts. 😛

ht3

^My old layout & background

To me the best layouts are those that combine aesthetics with functionality.  Here are some things I look for in a blog layout…

  1. A readable font
    Chances are, if I can’t read the font, I’m not gonna read the blog post.  It doesn’t matter how cute or nice the font looks, if I can’t read it without straining my eyes, I won’t bother.  T__T To me this is the #1 thing I need in a blog.  Sometimes it is kinda odd–I’ve seen themes where the font is fine for the blog post but horrible for the comments section.  I have no idea why. 
  2. Headers
    Of course this all depends on which headers you use, and not all blogs need them, but I loveeee headers.  They definitely make blogs more eye-catching and colorful.  My advice would be to have a medium header size (I’ve had a small header size before, and I now realize that medium/large headers are much easier to work with!), use medium-high quality images, and find creative ways to present those images.  Sometimes simplicity is also the key to making an eye-catching header–you don’t need fancy pro-header making skills to make a good header! 
  3. Widgets section
    I think this is mainly a wordpress feature so if you’re not using wordpress you might be unfamiliar with widgets.  Anyways widgets are a great way to add extra features to your blog.  For me it is best to have widgets in a side-bar, but sometimes they are also located at the bottom of the blog page.  My favorite widget would be the HTML text widget because it allows you to enter anything from text and images to a chatbox! 
  4. Minimalism
    I don’t think any of my blog layouts have been minimalist, but sometimes minimalism is best.  Minimal layouts are much cleaner, simpler, and let you focus on the words themselves without being distracted by other stuff.  One thing to note though, is that some minimal layouts leave out certain things (i.e. widget bar) but there are also themes that still include all the main features.
  5. Featured images
    This isn’t always a must-have but to me it is always funner with featured images!  😉  Enough said.

So I had no idea where I was going with this post and somehow ended up talking about blog layout aesthetics.  T___T  Do you have any other favorite features in blog themes?  Also what do you think of my newest blog theme?  Is the font readable?

P.S.  I have no idea why I put Roy Qiu as my featured image for this post.  It doesn’t relate to this post at all. 

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • I like the new theme. The links/text that are over your background image are a bit hard to read. Themes always get me excited, but that may just be my web design background kicking in. I really want to modify my theme to make it more mobile friendly and make some of the features work in IE. If only I time…

    • Thanks Dino! I think it is really cool you are a web developer *W* *edit* oh and I know some of the links are hard to read, I must fix my background >_<

  • Welcome back! I think you were able to have some rest but not necessarily from watching dramas! 🙂 So after a week, it’s back to more reviews and fun! Woman is getting better and better. I can’t wait for your take on the new episodes.

    Ahhh back to your new layout. I just love it. It looks refreshing and cozy. While I’m using joomla, I can appreciate what it takes to configure a wordpress blog since I tried it before. So many choices and a lot of widgets to add, but your blog has what is essential and more.

    I also love headers! I think it attracts more readers and give them a glimpse of what’s inside and what the site/blog has to offer. I change mine also to update and showcase the newer articles. The images you used really highlights the drama you’re covering so it’s quite awesome.

    • Thanks jed! Your site always has nice big featured images *W* Yeah I still have to catch up on writing about Woman, I just finished watching episode 5 yesterday! Can’t wait to talk about it with you~

  • Great new theme! I love the title font and the text can be easily read. 🙂 Choosing a new theme is always such a mammoth task, I’ve given up on finding the perfect one – I settle on something that’s about 80% what I want and customise the heck out of it lol.

    Widgets are a must though!! And I miss a good tag cloud… not a fan of featured images, because they always look so great in the theme demo and then every time I use them it doesn’t crop the way I want it to (having this same issue with thumbnails too!!) >< Feel like such a control freak sometimes…

    I love a good dropdown menu though, and accessibility across different devices is something I'm considering more about. (I think I realise this now that I use my phone a lot to browse websites). And a colour switcher!!!

    • I like your theme too. 😀 I guess you have more theme options since you have your own domain? O: I agree, usually the way the demo theme looks is not the way it turns out on my blog. T__T Especially with rotating featured images. I still gotta figure out how to do my drop-down menu.

      • Having more options could be a curse since it’s so hard to decide 😛

        I still remember back in the days when you had to install fancy plugins / scripts to get a dropdown menu but now it’s so much easier! Most themes support it and it’s just drag and drop from the Dashboard. 🙂

  • Hi Heisui.. Congrats with the new theme.. However, I can’t find the Roy Chiu you were mentioning on the post 🙂
    Hehehe…
    Since I am a big fan of purple, I like your previous theme more than the current one..
    But, this is a nice “face lift” as you said before…

  • Choosing a suitable theme is one of the hardest thing to do for me 😮 Lots of work to be done, especially with the widgets and headers. I love trying out new (free) themes offered by wordpress but so far, I’m content with the current theme 😀 I like the new theme you’re using and to be honest, if I have more time to spare, I’d choose this theme too! Maybe you can try changing the background image to lighter colours so that the links to your pages will be more visible 🙂

    • I just updated the background, hopefully the links are easier to read now.

      I think you tend to have very clean and minimal layouts. I really like them!

  • You’re back! I kept checking during the week, but then must have forgotten for a day or two because suddenly everything became skyblue and bright when I dropped by again!

    Choosing themes is hard… which is why I’ve stuck with one since I started blogging, because to try to choose again… I’m too indecisive. I think minimalism is good and I also think that white script on a blackground is harder to read. Love your widgets – as you probably know I stole your “What’s New” idea for my blog. I think images are a must have – people are visual creatures!

    Anyhow, looking good & glad to have you back!

    • Yup yup I’m back!!~

      Haha I guess the brightness of this theme is very different from my previous dark theme!

      I don’t know how to put this but somehow your blog theme suits you. o_o Somehow when I read your posts, I feel like the theme compliments them or something. >_>

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