The theme is the personality of your site. It includes the "look" and "feel" of the site, as well as the content, and prescribes your choices of color, font, logo, images, and story material. Previously, in What type of blog do you want, we talked about choosing a consistent content theme. Now, let's talk about some important considerations in choosing a theme for the look and feel of the site.
Overall Online Profile
Remember, that your blog is going to be part of your overall online profile and digital reputation. The logo you design for your website or blog will need to have a square version that looks good and is easily recognizable in the 100x100 size for avatars on social networks. Your motto and "about me" information should include a tag line of 140 characters or less for the profile section of those networks, consistent with what is on your website or blog.
Appropriate to your Demographic
Know your target audience. If your audience is going to be mostly young, technology-savvy users, you'll want to focus on mobile technology (making sure your site looks great and is easy to read on mobile phones of all types), and includes multi-media. If you're catering mostly to retirees in Middle America, you'll want to remember that many of your users are on dial-up, and many don't know there are options to Internet Explorer, and forego anything that slows your download speed, or requires Firefox or Chrome to function properly.
Keep in mind that at least in the beginning, most of your readers will be seeing your site for the first time, and will stay only a few seconds. You want your posts to be easy to read, and your additional content easy to find from any post on your blog. You want a good contrast between the text and hyperlinks and background. The older your target demographic, the more important the color contrasts will be, as some folks develop visual challenges with age. Links to your "about" and "contact" information should be easy to find on every post and page (usually in the sidebar or header), as should the link to add your feed to a reader.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.